Historic England to open its archive for Heritage Open Day event

By Jessica Durston - 9 August 2022

  • Conservation staff member Jenny

    Conservation staff member Jenny

This September, Historic England's Archive will be open to the public as part of the week-long Heritage Open Day event.

Photos from the Historic England Archive

On Saturday 10 September, Historic England’s Archive will be open for members of the public to view.

The free event will take place in Historic England’s Swindon National Office in the Railway Village, starting at 10am.

Inspired by the Astounding Inventions theme for this year’s Heritage Open Days, the day is said to be all about photography, showcasing fascinating examples past and present from the millions of items in the Archive’s collections.

Visitors will have a unique opportunity to:

  • Take a tour of The Engine House and Historic England Archive
  • Marvel at original 19th century cameras
  • Discover historical and aerial photographs from the Archive
  • Learn how Historic England conserves its collections

Aseye Negedu, Engagement and Volunteering Officer at Historic England, said: “We are very excited to take part in Heritage Open Days this year. Is there a more astounding invention than photography? We are fortunate to have so many examples which tell its story from its earliest days to the present. If you’ve ever wondered where our love affair with taking pictures started, this is the event for you.”

"You will have an opportunity to see 19th century vintage cameras, historical and aerial photographs, participate in games and activities as well as going on a tour of The Engine House. You will also be able to take a tour of the Archive store and learn about our collection and how we preserve and maintain it.”

Historic England’s Archive is a national collection of more than 12 million photographs, drawings, reports and publications from the 1850s to the present day.

More than a million of the records can be searched online, including more than 400,000 images in the Aerial Photo Explorer - https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/

The collections can help people to find out about the history of their home and local area and about buildings and archaeological sites, and provide a fascinating record of the way the landscape has changed over time.

Wendy, a volunteer at the Archive, said: “I have always loved photography, especially older images. Working at the Archive gives me the chance to compare them with the present day to see how buildings have survived and evolved to serve new purpose. Several have sadly disappeared, but so many are still around, hidden by new frontages and renovation."

The Historic England Archive is located in the former Great Western Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer’s and Drawing Office. Built in 1841 and now known as The Engine House, it is seen as an important building in Swindon’s Railway Village and is listed at Grade II. 

Historic England’s Archive will be open for Heritage Open Days on Saturday 10 September from 10am until 3pm, with last entries at 2:30pm.

Advance booking is not needed, however those interested are encouraged to book for The Engine House and Archive tours via Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/396426250587

Details about parking and accessibility are available on the booking page on Eventbrite and the Heritage Open days website at www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/historic-england-archive

For the Archive’s regular opening hours, individuals can go to the ‘Visiting Us’ page on the Historic England website, at https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/archive-services/visiting

More information about the Heritage Open Days event can be found online at www.heritageopendays.org.uk

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ