The National Archives

Front entrance of The National Archives
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The National Archives is the official archives and publisher for the UK Government, and for England and Wales. We work to bring together and secure the future of the public record, both digital and physical, for future generations.

The National Archives is open to all, offering a range of activities and spaces to enjoy, as well as our reading rooms for research. Many of our most popular records are also available online.

Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
Twitter: @UKNatArchives
Facebook: The National Archives

Venue Type:

Archive, Museum, Heritage site

Opening hours

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

Admission charges

Free. Some events paid for.

Getting there

10 minutes walk from Kew Gardens underground station (District line)
15 minutes walk from Kew Bridge mainline station (South West trains)
R68 bus route

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.

Collection details

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
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Black and white photo of a beach with soldiers and ships in the distance

BAME seafarers in the First World War

  • 24 January 2019 1-2am *on now

To acknowledge the contribution of black and minority ethnic seafarers during the First World War and some of their stories just after the war had ended, this event will provide an insight into seafarers lives and highlight some of the personal stories of those involved.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bame-seafarers-in-the-first-world-war-tickets-53253557825?aff=culture24

Letter from Churchill on yellow paper about Hungary's planned massacre of Jews

'Torn from Home': Holocaust survivor John Dobai

  • 25 January 2019 2-4am

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, we welcome John Dobai to talk about his personal survival story. John was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1934. His father worked in a bank and his mother was a housewife; John was their only child. Worried by the rise of Nazism and far-right nationalists in Hungary in the 1930, John’s parents decided that the family should convert to Roman Catholicism.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/torn-from-home-holocaust-survivor-john-dobai-tickets-53254136556?aff=culture24

Shelves with brown boxes

Behind the scenes tour

  • 25 January 2019 11am-12:30pm
  • 22 February 2019 11am-12:30pm
  • 29 March 2019 11am-12:30pm

We are opening the doors of The National Archives' repositories to offer you the chance to go behind the scenes. Discover how we keep and maintain the record for future generations and explore some of the hidden gems in our collections.

Admission

£10, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/behind-the-scenes-tour-tickets-53382098293?aff=culture24

Woodcut image of a man and woman looking at a workhouse

"...we should be clem'd and starved...": Welsh pauper letters

  • 31 January 2019 2-3am

In this talk, Professor Stephen King (University of Leicester) will delve into the rich primary source material of pauper letters held at The National Archives. Stephen will demonstrate how people of Wales in the 19th century adjusted to the new Poor Law system, and will bring out some of the very personal experiences of poverty through the accounts of the people who experienced it.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/we-should-be-clemd-and-starved-welsh-pauper-letters-tickets-53177831325?aff=culture24

Black and white photo of a group of people beside a sign that reads Outcast London

How to use pauper letters

  • 8 February 2019 10:30am-1:30pm

In this workshop, Dr Paul Carter (The National Archives) will work his way through letters and petitions from the poor during the 19th century which are held at The National Archives. Paul will demonstrate why these letters were created, how they are arranged within the collection and most importantly, how to use them for your own research benefits.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-use-pauper-letters-tickets-53178363918?aff=culture24

Kate Williams

Rival Queens: Kate Williams

  • 13 February 2019 7:30-9pm

Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots’ rivalry is one of history’s most famous family feuds. Delve into the extraordinary lives of these respective queens as told through Kate Williams’ book Rival Queens: The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Admission

£20, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rival-queens-kate-williams-tickets-53857251489?aff=culture24

Image of boys rolling a large snowball. Text reads 'Winter Joys'

The Time Travel Craft Club: Seasons

  • 19 February 2019 12-3pm

Families can enjoy craft together and take their own creations home at our free afternoon sessions this half term. All ages welcome. Meet in the public restaurant.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • Especially for children
Photograph of small boy watching teacher with a clay model

Seasons in the archives

  • 19 February 2019 10:30am-12pm

What's your favourite time of year? Journey through spring, summer, autumn and winter, all in one day, by hunting through images from the past in our collection. Take part in season-inspired sensory crafts and create your own keepsake to take away with you!

This session is designed for children aged 4 to 6

Suitable for

  • 5-6

Admission

£5, book ahead.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-time-travel-club-seasons-in-the-archives-4-6-tickets-53340881011?aff=culture24

Hand turning the page of the Domesday book

Domesday in the Public Record

  • 20 February 2019 6:30-8pm

Our earliest public record, Domesday, is a truly iconic document and has held a special place in the public imagination since it was written over 900 years ago.Dr Jessica Nelson, Medieval Records Specialist at The National Archives, will focus on Domesday’s life over the past nine centuries; its uses, and anecdotes from its later life in the Public Record Office, all through the lens of our documents

Admission

£10, book ahead.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/domesday-in-the-public-record-tickets-53174997850?aff=culture24

Photograph of Queen Victoria and her family.

The Time Travel Craft Club: Victorian portraits

  • 21 February 2019 12-3pm

Families can enjoy craft together and take their own creations home at our free afternoon sessions this half term. All ages welcome. Meet in the public restaurant.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 5-6

Admission

Free. Drop in, no booking required

Girl working with clay

'Say Cheese!': Portraits from the past

  • 21 February 2019 10:30am-12pm

A picture is worth a thousand words...or so the saying goes. What can portraits from the past tell us about peoples' lives? Probe our archives to discover the stories behind the smiles. Then, star in your very own Victorian portrait, complete with a frame designed by you.

This session is designed for children aged 7-11.

Suitable for

  • 7-10

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/time-travel-club-say-cheese-portraits-from-the-past-7-11-tickets-53341079605?aff=culture24

Dr Miranda Kaufmann

Black Tudors

  • 28 February 2019 7:30-9pm

The stories of ten Africans and their paths through Tudor and Stuart England are traced in this fascinating new book, in which Dr Miranda Kaufmann uncovers a rich array of detail about their daily lives and how they were treated.

Admission

£10, book ahead.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-tudors-tickets-53141292035?aff=culture24

Rowan Coleman

Memory and Fiction: Rowan Coleman

  • 7 March 2019 7:30-9pm

Rowan Coleman is a Sunday Times bestselling author, who has published over ten books including The Memory Book, We Are All Made Of Stars and the critically acclaimed The Summer Of Impossible Things. Rowan’s fiction has covered a wide range of topics, exploring the concepts of family, memory and experience. Join us to find out more about the variety of stories, histories and archival research that inspires her writing. Her forthcoming novel will be published in the summer of 2019.

Admission

£20, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/memory-and-fiction-tickets-53437283353?aff=culture24

Man on bench beside placard that reads Glad to be Gay

LGBTQ+ history and collections at the Bishopsgate Institute

  • 8 March 2019 6:30-8:30pm

Bishopsgate Institute has been documenting the history and lives of the LGBTQ+ Community in the UK since 2011, when it became home to the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive; a national collection of over 300,000 press cuttings from the straight press covering all aspects of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer experience from the late nineteenth century to the present. We celebrate LGBT History Month with this talk by Stef Dickers, Special Collections and Archives Manager at the Bishopsgate Institute, who will delve into the amazing stories, experiences and vibrancy behind the rich LGBTQ+ collections held by the Bishopsgate Library.

Admission

£10, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lgbtq-history-and-collections-at-the-bishopsgate-institute-tickets-53176638758?aff=culture24

Dr Nick Barrett

The Restless Kings: Dr. Nick Barratt

  • 12 March 2019 7:30-9pm

In The Restless Kings, historian and author Dr. Nick Barratt presents the tumultuous struggle for supremacy between the first Plantagenet king, Henry II, and his four sons - a drama that tore apart the most powerful family in western Europe and shaped the future of two nations.

Admission

£10, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-restless-kings-tickets-53175310786?aff=culture24

Aerial photograph with different sections outlined in red, green and orange

Mapping german missile attacks on London 1944-45

  • 15 March 2019 2-3pm

German V-1 and V-2 missiles, used in attacks against Britain in 1944 and 45, were weapons designed to wreak mass devastation on urban areas. Using fascinating visual sources from The National Archives, this talk by Professor Stephen Evans from the University of Waterloo, Canada, will explore the extent of destruction these weapons inflicted on London, despite British interception techniques of the time.

Admission

£5, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mapping-german-missile-attacks-on-london-1944-45-tickets-53254688206?aff=culture24

Girl modelling clay

Building London

  • 16 March 2019 10:30am-12pm

Take part in a mini-mission to explore iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Hampton Court Palace and 10 Downing Street. Use drawings and plans from the collection to uncover how these buildings have changed. Then, craft your very own building to help recreate a giant map of London!

Suitable for

  • 7-10

Admission

£7.50, book ahead.

This session is designed for children aged 7 to 11. Adults do not need to book for themselves. Younger siblings are welcome at this event, children under 7 go free. Please book a free ticket for younger children.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/time-travel-club-building-london-7-11-tickets-53341361448?aff=culture24

Lines of South Asian soldiers with their arms outstretched

Webinar: Loyalty and Dissent: South Asia and the First World War

  • 19 March 2019 1-1:45pm

This webinar, which forms part of a project The National Archives embarked upon in 2016, explores the tension between loyalty and dissent to an all-powerful British Imperial State.The webinar will focus primarily on the FO 371 record series, providing an introductory guide to searching this series for relevant material.

Where

Online only

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/loyalty-and-dissent-south-asia-and-the-first-world-war-tickets-53286970764?aff=culture24

Medieval manuscript showing a king inside the letter D

Prince Arthur: The Tudor king who never was

  • 20 March 2019 2-3pm

During the early part of the sixteenth century, England should have been ruled by King Arthur Tudor, not Henry VIII. Had Arthur, the first-born son of Henry VII, lived into adulthood, his younger brother Henry would never have become King of England. The nation’s subsequent history would have been very different, since the massive religious, social and political changes of Henry VIII’s reign might not have been necessary at all. In this talk, our Head of Medieval Records, Dr Sean Cunningham, will look at Prince Arthur’s life and assess what type of king he might have been in lieu of the changes wrought by his brother Henry VIII.

Admission

£5, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/prince-arthur-the-tudor-king-who-never-was-tickets-53176352903?aff=culture24

Old map of Ireland

Dominus Hibernie/Rex Hiberniae: pre-modern Ireland, 1200-1801

  • 21 — 23 March 2019

From the late-twelfth-century conquest to the union of the kingdoms, Ireland was a key constituent element of the dominions of the monarchs of England and Great Britain, their royal title and identity. The National Archives arguably holds the world’s most important collection of records of relevance to the history of pre-modern Ireland but it remains under-utilised. In bringing together historians of medieval and early modern Ireland, this symposium aims to facilitate discussion of continuity and change across six centuries of Irish history by putting into sharper focus the collections with relevance to pre-modern Ireland at The National Archives. #premodernireland

Admission

£24-100

Website

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dominus-hibernierex-hiberniae-pre-modern-ireland-1200-1801-registration-51646675597?aff=culture24

King Henry VI

Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI

  • 28 March 2019 6:30-8pm

A talk and signing to coincide with the publication of a new popular history study on the life of King Henry VI, by Dr Lauren Johnson; author of The Arrow of Sherwood (2013) and So Great a Prince (2016). This talk will chart the extraordinary rise and fall of the son of Henry V, who became king as an infant but who, as an adult ruler, oversaw the loss of the English claim to the throne of France, and whose inabilities sparked the Wars of the Roses in England.

Admission

£10, book ahead

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shadow-king-the-life-and-death-of-henry-vi-tickets-53175581596?aff=culture24

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Getting there

10 minutes walk from Kew Gardens underground station (District line)
15 minutes walk from Kew Bridge mainline station (South West trains)
R68 bus route

The National Archives
Kew
Surrey
TW9 4DU
England

logo: Museums at Night

Website

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

E-mail

enquiry@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Telephone

020 8876 3444

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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