As a repository for records of central government, you may not expect to find many images within our holdings. However, the collections here at The National Archives are full of images, inspiration and stories that can bring history to life. From posters to poetry, maps to photographs, archival records preserve the past and can illuminate the life and times of our ancestors.
Here at The National Archives, from January to June 2015, we are exploring the many ways in which history is illustrated through such diverse holdings. One area that can showcase the depth and creativity with which history can be interpreted and represented is through events and workshops that engage directly with our records. We are running a series of events themed around the idea of illustrating history over the next six months, which you can see on our events page. With this programme we will help you to get involved in sketching out your own page of history, showing how easy it is to engage with the stories of the past through our records.
Through my research here I have done just that and tracked down some unlikely documents that have revealed new stories from the past to me. I’ve followed my own passion for everything creative and I have come to see the documents themselves as tangible keys to our past, always providing me with something new to explore.
Unusual images: horror comics!
There are some records here that illustrate history through a tale within a tale: horror comics. When I stumbled across these I wondered what a collection of classic horror comics was doing attached to official government correspondence – Prime Minister’s papers to be precise! Obviously I just had to find out…….
I soon discovered that this comic book, along with its fellow six examples of classic 1950’s horror, were sent to Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1954, as supporting evidence to a child protection bill.