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
Changing the Landscape
- 12 April — 17 September 2016 *on now
Supported using public funds by the National Lottery through the Arts Council England, Changing the Landscape follows Rifleman Barney Griew's first hand account of his journey from Hackney, London to Northern France, training to become a mapmaker and scout in the five months preceding his death on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
During this journey, Barney sent home over 180 illustrated letters, photographs and photographic postcards, often writing more than three times a day for five months - leaving us a unique, multifaceted, three-dimensional view of the run up to the battle.
Unusually, this unpublished archive is interpreted by Barney’s great-niece Kogan, who was originally read the letters as a child by her grandmother, Barney’s sister Fanny. The exhibition includes items and extracts of text from Barney’s unpublished archive, artworks generated by Kogan, archival material from The National Archives and a specially commissioned four part digital video installation by filmmaker Jeremy Bubb.
Changing the Landscape project includes a multimedia visual arts exhibition, education and talks programme.
Commemorating the Battle of Jutland
- 31 May 2016 2-5pm *on now
31 May marks the centenary of the Battle of Jutland. Discover service records, ship logs, naval maps and more key documents from our collection that unravel the story of the most significant naval battle of the First World War.
Big Draw in The National Archives
- 31 May 2016 10:30am-12pm *on now
Come to The National Archives and get creative!
Join us in our Keeper’s Gallery to view some of the most astonishing historical documents from the last 1,000 years. And, of course, you will also get the opportunity to stretch your artistic muscles with a sketch, doodle or drawing inspired by the records you have just seen.
Jutland: Family activities
- 3 June 2016 10:30am-12:30pm
This afternoon will feature a number of nautical craft activities that help tell the story of the Battle of Jutland. Children will also learn about Jack Cornwell whose valour during the battle was recognised when he was awarded the Victoria Cross, making him the youngest recipient of the medal during the First World War.
This event will be run in conjunction with the Scout Association.
Check out our upcoming family events, where you and your children can learn about some of the thrilling tales hidden within our records.
Eye in the Sky: Gathering First World War Intelligence
- 7 June 2016 2-4pm
Our experts will offer insights into the processes and circumstances under which these images were taken, how intelligence gathering changed as a result of the war, and what these photographs meant from a tactical perspective.
We are proud to present a new set of events that delve into the shadowy realms of espionage and intelligence gathering.
This season we will be looking at how intelligence was collected during the First World War and how a nation’s secrets are ultimately protected or betrayed by the will and whims of individual personalities.
Full price: £10.00
Friends of The National Archives: £8.00
Drawing from the Archives: An art workshop with Sarah Kogan
- 9 June 2016 2-3:30pm
Sarah Kogan, artist of multimedia Battle of the Somme centenary arts project Changing the Landscape, will lead a practical workshop on building art projects directly from archival material. Topics will include: materials, techniques, content and form. Materials will be provided.
We run an exciting range of events and exhibitions on a wide variety of topics. For more details, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/whatson.
Full price: £10.00
Friends of The National Archives: £8.00
100 years of the WI: The acceptable face of feminism
- 9 June 2016 7-8pm
Professor Maggie Andrews will discuss some of the key campaigns and concerns of the Women’s Institute, from its origins in the First World War to the 1950s when, with half a million members, it was firmly established as the largest women’s organisation in Britain.
Maggie is a Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester; she has published widely on women, domesticity and the home front in 20th century Britain.
Editing Mass Observation
- 15 June 2016 2-3pm
Acclaimed non-fiction writer Simon Garfield discusses Our Hidden Lives and A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt - books developed from research conducted into the pioneering social study Mass Observation, which was launched in the 1930s to record everyday lives in Britain.
Simon has authored books on a range of subjects, many of which have been turned into plays and television films: To The Letter was an inspiration for the ‘Letters Live’ theatrical event starring Benedict Cumberbatch; and My Dear Bessie has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Full price: £6.00
Friends of The National Archives: £4.80
Ireland and 1916: Isle of Saints and Soldiers?
- 18 June 2016 10am-5pm
This symposium will look at the Irish contribution to and experience of the First World War. As it falls between both centenaries, topics will include the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme but will also consider broader historical questions, relating to Ireland and the war.
Professor Alexander Watson, Professor Richard Grayson, Dr Timothy Bowman and Lar Joye will all speak at the event, with a discussion panel to follow which will include former President Mary McAleese and Ambassador Daniel Mulhall.
Our collection of First World War records is one of the largest in the world. It includes, amongst many other documents, service records, letters, diaries, maps and photographs. During the centenary we are opening up this collection and hosting a variety of events and exhibitions, engaging in key debates and topics from the war.
Full price: £30
Friends of The National Archives: £24
England '66: The best of times?
- 23 June 2016 2-3pm
It was a year when England won the World Cup and led the world in all aspects of popular culture, including pop music, fashion, and film. But it was also a time of sterling crises, wage and price freezes, and industrial strife. Contemporary specialist Mark Dunton looks at a nation caught between optimism and decline.
This season we will be presenting a series of events that look at the relationship between culture and society. How do these two concepts work together to inform our perceptions of creativity, community and identity?
Pipe Roll Society Lecture 2016: Government and record keeping in the Middle Ages
- 28 June 2016 6-7:30pm
The Pipe Roll Society is one of the leading academic societies for the study of medieval government and records in the 12th and 13th centuries. Every year, an expert speaker from the Society gives a lecture on an aspect of medieval history, followed by lively debate.
‘A test of support’: The end of Ottoman neutrality, 1913-14
- 30 June 2016 2-3pm
What led the Ottoman Empire to join Germany and her allies in the First World War? Find out how a matrix of seemingly unrelated events and foreign policies – including the machinations of then First Sea Lord Winston Churchill – ultimately pushed Turkish leaders to leave neutrality behind and join the Central Powers.
Our collection of First World War records is one of the largest in the world. It includes, amongst many other documents, service records, letters, diaries, maps and photographs.
During the centenary we are opening up this collection and hosting a variety of events and exhibitions, engaging in key debates and topics from the war.
The National Archives
020 8876 3444