The National Archives
The National Archives is the UK government's official archive, guaranteeing public access to over 1000 years of history with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to digital files and archived websites. We are also at the heart of government information policy, to ensure the survival of today´s information for the future.
Tuesday 09:00 - 19:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 19:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Closed Sunday and Monday
Archives of the British government covering over a thousand years of world history and all seven continents from Arctic explorers and Middle Eastern embassies to papal bulls and the photographic collections of Colonial administrations.
Weapons and War, Trade and Commerce, Social History, Photography, Maritime, Law and Order, Archives
Key artists and exhibits
- Domesday Book
- Magna Carta
- Declaration of Independence
- Valor Ecclesiasticus
- Victorian photographs
Queer and the state
- 28 February 2017 6:30-8pm
This talk will delve into previously closed secret police and government files to explore how queer spaces were targeted and spied on in the 1920s and 1930s, enabling you to discover the resilience of the community in response.
Be introduced to some of London’s queer venues from the period; from the orientalist interior of the Caravan Club (‘said to be the most unconventional spot in town’), to the African American influenced Shim Sham Club on Wardour Street. The talk will conclude with an exploration of original documents from our collection, combining government and community perspectives to explore the history of queer spaces.
Paul Nash and other war artists
- 28 February 2017 2-3pm
Tate Archive curator, Darragh O’Donoghue, and First World War Diverse Histories Researcher, Louise Bell, will deliver a talk on Paul Nash and other war artists.
This talk will explore Paul Nash as an artist on the front line, coinciding with the current retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain. It will highlight Tate Archive collections as well as our own First World War collections, providing context to what it was like to be a serving war artist.
Black British politics and the anti-apartheid struggle
- 9 March 2017 2-3:30pm
In 1948, from the introduction of apartheid in South Africa, this state sponsored racial discrimination galvanized the international community in protest. British people and black communities in particular attempted to lead the global opposition against apartheid.
Historian Dr Elizabeth Williams (Goldsmiths University of London) will discuss the research that went into her book, The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa: Black British Solidarity and the Apartheid Struggle (2015), and will explore aspects of the documents she utilised as she revisited this very recent history.
Family event - Heads, shoulders, knees and toes: Bodies in the archive
- 11 March 2017 10:30am-12pm
Celebrate British Science Week with The National Archives. This talk will give families the opportunity to learn more about the weird and wonderful human body in history through our collection of original documents before taking part in a creative activity with illustrator and medical artist Merlin Evans.
- Family friendly
- Especially for children
A Conversation with Bettany Hughes, author of ‘Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities’
- 15 March 2017 2-3pm
Istanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide, where the idea is as potent as the fact. From the Qur’an to Shakespeare, the city previously known as Byzantium and Constantinople resonates as an idea and a place, overspilling its boundaries - real and imagined.
Award-winning author, historian and broadcaster Dr Bettany Hughes will talk about her epic new biography, taking us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world’s greatest cities. There will be a book signing after the event.
Webinar – Hidden Treasures
- 20 March 2017 4-5pm
Everything the government does costs money, but researchers are often reluctant to look at Treasury records. There is no need for this reluctance – these records could be invaluable to research and accessing correspondence is easier than you think!
This webinar will explain how to access Treasury correspondence for the years 1777-1920. Through practical exercises, relating to topics such as the First World War and workhouses, you will become confident in finding letters to the Treasury. You will then be able to use your new-found skills to further your own research.
Webinars are online only events
Free Online Event
A women’s war: WAACS, WRNS and women’s work
- 30 March 2017 1-4pm
Join us for an afternoon of talks focusing on women in the First World War.
Elisabeth Shipton will look at the voluntary organisations that preceded the WAAC, and focus on how perceptions of women changed in the two and a half years between the start of the war and the formation of the WAAC in 1917. Dr Samantha Philo-Gill will focus on the establishment of the Corps and explore the experiences of those who served in France – from enrolment to demobilisation. Our First World War Diverse Histories Researcher, Louise Bell, will talk about the Women’s Royal Naval Service – from the formation of this ground breaking organisation to stories of the actual women who enrolled, utilising sources from The National Archives.
These talks will be accompanied by a document display of relevant original material held here at The National Archives.
Archives at Night: Sixties
- 19 May 2017 6:30-10pm
Culture. Revolution. Scandal...
Take a trip back to the 1960s as part of Museums at Night!
A decade that defined a generation, the sixties in Britain brought us everything from Beatlemania to miniskirts. Yet it was also a time of acute political unrest that saw the destruction of traditional structures and constraints.
Using original material from our records, come on a journey to discover some of the most fascinating aspects of the era - from the Profumo affair, to mods and rockers, and the sexual revolution.
A full evening of entertainment will include…
-Document display of original records from sixties Britain
-Talks by experts
-Entertainment including music and performance
-Vintage badge making
-Themed photo booth
-Prizes and giveaways
-Cocktail bar with mixologist
-Food to purchase
Ticket price includes one cocktail on arrival.
Sixties-inspired clothing optional but encouraged.
More activities will be added to the programme, which is subject to change. Keep an eye on our events page for more information.
These evening events are very popular so book now to guarantee your place. Please note, this event is suitable for adults only (18+).
20% Discount for Friends of The National Archives (one ticket per Friend)
The National Archives
020 8876 3444