Mary Evans collection of the week: The National Archives

Union Is Strength, advertisement for Union Braces, 1888 Date: 1887

The National Archives is the UK Government’s official archive, containing over 1000 years of history in a variety of formats including documents, posters, maps, advertisements, manuscripts and more.

It cares for these historical records, and makes them available through world class research facilities and expert advice.

It also publishes all UK legislation and official publications, and is a leading advocate for the archive sector.

Included among the treasures from the image library is the will of William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde’s death certificate, an indictment of highwayman Dick Turpin, Empire Marketing Board posters, and stunning Victorian textiles by Christopher Dresser and wallpaper designs by Williams Cooper Boyle.

The sheer depth and variety of source material makes this a collection with a difference.

Major events and historic topics such as slavery, Irish emancipation, both World Wars, mining and political movements are all covered while quirkier images such as outlandish advertisements or charming Christmas cracker box designs, are an unusual and unexpected twist.

View a broad cross-section of this collection here.

Picture credit: Union Is Strength, advertisement for Union Braces, 1888 ©Mary Evans/The National Archives