Looking for a picture of Santa in a kayak or cats taking part in a wheelbarrow race? Well, you may be surprised to learn you have come to the right place. If you have more serious pursuits, you can also get your hands on manuscripts such as a copy of the earliest printed document, pages from the Magna Carta or 18thÂ century plans for parliament.
The National Archivesâ image library is made up of thousands of unique photos, illustrations and documents from our record collections. Our online image galleries were designed to show the range of pictures available to buy, whether this is commercial users wishing to publish or license our images, or simply members of the public interested in buying our photos to decorate their walls.
The showcases illustrate topical events â we joined in the celebratory atmosphere of the Jubilee with a Royal celebrations showcase, revealed some rare documents in time for the 100thÂ anniversary ofÂ Titanic and got into in the festive spirit with our Christmas themed pictures. In honour ofÂ last summer’sÂ Olympics, we presented a collectionÂ of historical sporting images,Â which aptlyÂ represented the fever of ‘Keep fit Britain’.
As an editor on The National Archivesâ website, I conceive of and create these image galleries each month. I have also found it fascinating to delve into our archives and look up just about any topic that takes my fancy â there is always something interesting to be found, even if it isnât precisely what I went in for… Hours can be spent going off on tangents, in the name of research!
Last month, for instance, I was inspired by a recent visit to Wiltonâs, the worldâs oldest music hall, and decided to see what images we held relating to this genre. It took some rooting around, but once Iâd moved away from searching exclusively for the venues themselves, I found we held numerous images of music hall entertainers, including Marie Lloyd (below), George Robey and Dan Leno, and other paraphernalia such as progammes and posters for performances. SeeÂ more in our music hall showcase.
After two yearsâ worth of showcases, we are now opening this up to suggestions from our audience,Â to find out what inspires you â is there anything youâd like us to delve into our collections to find? Any topics of interest that you think we could cover that we havenât already featured? Do let us know. We hope to answer the challenge!