• Audio contentA podcast about a letter seized from an LGBT-friendly club in 1930s Soho

    Sexuality under scrutiny in 1930s Soho

    In 1934, homosexual acts between men – in public and in private – were illegal in the UK. Police surveilled a number of social spaces across London suspected of permitting what the state then considered to be ‘immoral activity’ and in August conducted…

  • Audio contentPolice Notice Boards Anti-Aircraft poster, 1915 (catalogue reference MEPO 2/1621)

    ‘The Germans are here!’ London’s first Zeppelin raid

    Ten months into the First World War and the feared onslaught on London by Germany’s fleet of airships – Zeppelins – had failed to materialise. There was sympathy for those killed or injured in air raids elsewhere, but these were…

  • Audio contentLondon, Western half, by R Horwood, 1799 (catalogue reference MR 1/682)

    Georgian Londoners – the making of a modern city

    Lucy Inglis looks at the making of the London identity, and how it was shaped through the last years of the 17th century, then consolidated throughout the 18th century as London moved towards Enlightenment. Lucy Inglis began the blog GeorgianLondon…

  • Audio contentA screenshot of

    Locating London’s wartime past:

    Bomb Sight uses geography to link together The National Archives’ Second World War Bomb Census maps for London with photographs and personal narratives from other sources, within a web-mapping and mobile application that can be used by students and citizen…

  • Audio contentcut-out theatre figures, cat. ref. COPY1-59 (263)

    Philip Henslowe, Edward Alleyn and the invention of London theatre in the age of Shakespeare

    The actor Edward Alleyn and his father-in-law Philip Henslowe built and expanded several London public playhouses, including the Rose, the Fortune, and the Hope. Named by King James VI and I as Joint ‘Masters of the Royal Game of Bears,…

  • Video contentLeaders of British Empire Countries in London

    Leaders of British Empire Countries in London

    The film opens with a title explaining what is happening, a gathering of leaders of the Empire to discuss a range of issues. This includes India, Canada, South Africa, Newfoundland and the Irish Free State. British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin…

  • Video contentArmistice Day celebrations

    Armistice Day Ceremonies

    The film starts with titles explaining the Armistice Day ceremony. It then goes on to show the march past the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Context The Great War officially ended in July 1919 when Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles. Soon…

  • Video contentlondon-church-fire

    London Church Completely Destroyed By Fire

    The opening titles tell us that this is a church burned down by Suffragettes, causing £20,000 of damage. The scene then shifts to a church at New Cross that has been comprehensively destroyed by fire. We see the burnt out…

  • Video contentsuffragist-rally

    Suffragist Rally in Hyde Park

    The opening titles tell us that ‘Law Abiding Suffragists? from all over the country held a rally in Hyde Park. We then see a huge, orderly and very cheerful crowd of men and women waving and cheering for the camera.…

  • Video contentsuffragette-pageant

    Suffragette Pageant in London

    The clip opens with titles telling us the pageant contains over 66,000 women and they are showing examples of famous women in history. We then see a very large procession with lots of banners watched by a very large crowd.…

  • Audio contentLondon District Messenger Boy 1944, cat. ref. INF2/43

    Lost in London

    Tracing ancestors before civil registration and the census presents a real challenge to family historians. In London, the problems can be even greater, where the population doubled between 1801 and 1841 and boundaries were often redrawn. Administering the area was…

  • Audio contentA group of uniformed policewomen stand on steps

    The Metropolitan Police: an introduction to records of service 1829-1958

    Chris Heather provides a basic outline of the surviving records of service for Metropolitan Police officers, with examples from the records, and an overview of the origins of the service. This will be of primary interest to those with ancestors…

  • Audio contentWORK25-64-B1-SB-GEN-24-aerial-sketch-colour

    The Festival of Britain

    The Festival of Britain opened on 3 May 1951. It was a summer-long, nationwide festival celebrating Britain’s contribution to civilisation past, present and future, in the arts, in science and in industrial design. Events ranged from the London South Bank…

  • Audio contentcopy1-142i-315-thomas-elwen-and-son-malt-stout-1898

    Lost London pubs

    Jack Adams looks back at the changing nature and purpose of pubs over the past 250 years. This podcast was recorded live as part of the Pub History Society conference on 20 February 2010 at The National Archives, Kew. We…

  • Audio contentmetropolitan-police-recruitment-poster

    The Metropolitan Police: its creation and records of service

    London’s Metropolitan Police service was formed in 1829. This talk provides an overview of how crime was dealt with before this date, and how to trace the records of our Metropolitan Police ancestors at The National Archives.

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