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Archive History

We hold major collections of national importance, covering archaeology, architecture, social and local history. Our collections include photographs, drawings, plans and documents.

Did you know: over a million of our records can be searched online.

Our Archive includes records from many different organisations, which we have inherited or acquired.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England

Founded in 1908, the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) aimed to compile an inventory of ancient and historical monuments in England. We hold research notes, photographs and drawings covering many of England's historic buildings.

Images from RCHME

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Archive photograph of a timber framed house lifted on ramps and trolleys.
  • A proforma record card showing sketches and descriptions derived from fieldwork.
  • Archive colour photograph of a prefabricated house
  • Colour aerial photograph showing modern buildings with blue rooves.

The National Buildings Record

Set up in 1941 the National Buildings Record (NBR) collected photographs and other records of buildings and sites at risk during after and the Second World War.

Images from the NBR

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Archive photograph showing the triumphal arch with traffic on adjoining roads
  • Archive photograph of Wells Cathedral interior with steps leading in multiple directions
  • Archive photograph showing three men calmly browsing books on surviving library shelves amid the rubble of a roofless shell
  • Archive black and white photograph showing people in the road with ruins showing behind a standing street facade.

National Library of Aerial Photographs

We hold the records of the former National Library of Aerial Photographs, which include over two million vertical aerial photographs taken by the RAF and Ordnance Survey.

English Heritage

We hold records created by English Heritage, including photographs, plans and drawings of the sites in the care of the organisation.

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An antique dial phone on a shelf
Archive Services

Historic England

The Engine House,
Fire Fly Avenue,

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