Online Resources: Modern Britain (1900-present)

by | Nov 27, 2020 | Teaching Portal: Online Resources | 0 comments

Archigram Archival Project

This resource enables researchers to search through an online database of the architectural group Archigram (1961-1974), who were “amongst the most seminal, iconoclastic and influential architectural groups of the modern age.” The database provides information about c. 10,000 Archigram works, with scholars presented with digitised images and information about the group’s projects. Researchers can also search through a chronological timeline of the architectural projects, slideshows, images from exhibitions, magazine articles, and can access an audio-visual presentation developed by Archigram to show slides, movies, and soundtracks.


Arts of Film Archive

The resource provides researchers with access to films on art produced in the United Kingdom since the 1950s. The Archive “is a unique record of British and international post-war art, as well as of documentary film-making in the UK.” The Archive includes source material for biographies, monographs, and other forms of research in art history and documentary film-making. Although the database is freely accessible, video access is by subscription only.


BBC North West Collection 1966-1986

This resource concentrates on programmes which were made by the BBC for broadcast in the North West region between 1966 and 1986. The Collection “provide a window into a period of great interest to historians of society, culture, and media,” as well as the interests of the region through its broadcasted programmes. The website contains a freely accessible database in which researchers and members of the public can watch sample film clips, which can be searched by word and transmission dates, and include entertainment, sport, transport, culture, news, health, tourism, among other themes.


Beckett Collection: Correspondence

This resource provides researchers with extensive resources relating to playwright and writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). Researchers can search through an online catalogue of Beckett’s work, including unpublished material, manuscript pieces, and notebooks, annotated production texts, books from Beckett’s personal library and many signed editions. Researchers can view the materials by prior appointment at the University of Reading Special Collections.


Beyond the Multiplex

This resource provides researchers with information about how a wide range of audiences participated in diverse film cultures. The ongoing project is assessing how audiences engage with ‘specialised’ films in four English regions and will be useful to scholars interested in film culture. The goal of the project is to advance scholarship and to provide concrete recommendations about how UK audience policies can be improved. Upon completion of the project, there will be a database available.


The British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection

This resource is an online database which contains film and video dedicated to documenting the achievements of British moving-image artists. The database contains over 4,000 video copies of artists’ works, approximately 5,000 still images, files on 450 artists, a library of over 1,000 books and magazines, a collection of historical posters and publicity materials, and documentation relating to key artist-led organisations, public funding bodies. The database is regularly updated and is “designed to assist research into British artists’ film and video.”


C20 Churches (Twentieth Century Society)  

This resource provides researchers with access to an online database dedicated to modern churches built and listed for the 20th century. Researchers can browse the database by church name, location, architect and date of completion and grade listings, and this includes Church of England and Roman Catholic churches.


Calum Maclean Project

The resource provides researchers with online access to search through over 13,000 manuscript pages of transcriptions on predominantly Scottish Gaelic folklore from fieldwork undertaken by Calum Iain Maclean (1915-1960), “one of Scotland’s most prolific folklore collectors.” The collection contains over 4,000 items on folklore in the oral tradition and the database and digitised images can be freely searched through by researchers once they have registered for an account. This includes Maclean’s written transcriptions from wax cylinder field recordings, field diaries written in Irish and Scottish Gaelic and later transcriptions from audio-tape.


Cinemagazines and the Projection of Britain

This resource allows researchers to discover information regarding periodically-released film series, known as Cinemagazines, shown in cinemas, and later on television, both in Britain and abroad since 1913. Cinemagazines are also known as screen magazines or magazine films. The resource can be accessed through the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) website via its Newsreel Database. The website has a freely accessible database where researchers can listen to oral interviews, learn about the history of newsreels and production documents, and watch 600 colour newsreels.


Database of Archives of Non-Governmental Organisations (DANGO)

This resource provides researchers with access to an online database which contains information on the availability of records relating to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and pressure groups active in the UK since 1945. Researchers can search through the database by NGO name, history, details, and year created, while the website also contains a bibliography list and information about the resources.


Demarco Digital Archive

The resource is an online database in which researchers can search through approximately 10,000 records from the archives of Richard Demarco. This includes photographs documents, publications, and other printed material.  All the digital records are drawn from the Demarco archives, held by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA) and the Demarco European Art Foundation (DEAF). Researchers can search by thematic collections, including countries, artwork, events, exhibitions, institutions, and places, and they can access digitised images of posters, photographs and artwork relating to Demarco.


East Anglian Film Archive

This resource is an online video archive which comprises of approximately 12,000 hours of film and up to 30,000 hours of videotape. The content in the archive mainly relates to the East of England region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk), and includes collections of national and international scope. Researchers can browse the video archive by date, place, genre, people, and subject.


ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS)

This resource is an online portal which comprises of bibliographical tools designed to aid those researching in Electroacoustic Music Studies. The EARS website contains multilingual themed essays on subjects including audio engineering, phenomenology, music education, and music psychology, and links to other online resources.


Ellen Terry and Edith Craig Database: A Guide to the Papers from Smallhythe Place

This resource contains data relating to the papers of Victorian and Edwardian actress Ellen Terry and her daughter, the theatre director, costumier and suffragette activist Edith Craig, which are housed at Smallhythe Place, the former home of Terry. The website informs visitors that the papers can be consulted by researchers by appointment at Smallhythe Place or at the British Library.


Goldsmiths Textile Collection

This resource is an online archival catalogue dedicated to the history of textiles at Goldsmiths from the 1940s to the present day, as well as the development of British textile work throughout the twentieth-century. The collection includes commissioned teaching samples and over 4,000 textile and print objects and archival materials, which also form a large part of Constance Howard’s collection on embroidery.


High Wycombe Furniture Archive (HWFA)

This resource provides researchers with access to an online archive which contains photographic and print material relating to furniture companies in the High Wycombe region, primarily from Ercol Limited and E. Gomme Limited (G-Plan), as part of the Research Centre for Furniture at Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe. Researchers can browse from an online database and search for people, furniture making, factories, designs, artwork, advertising, corporate records, among other data. Additionally, researchers can download images from the High Wycombe Electronic Furniture Archive for educational and personal use, although permission can be sought for commercial purposes.


History in Education

The resource is an archived website which collected materials relating to the “history of school history” from 1900 to the early twenty-first century. Researchers can access an oral history archive in which they can listen to interviews which recount school days, including pupils, school inspectors, teachers, secretaries of state, and textbook writers, which can enable researchers to chart major curricular changes in history across the century. Additionally, the website contains data on schoolwork, surveys, and other educational data.


Isaiah Berlin Online (IBO)

The resource is dedicated to the work of Oxford philosopher and historian of ideas Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997), who made a key contribution to the development of political theory. Researchers can browse through the online catalogue on the IBO website, which includes published writings, interviews, broadcasts, and recordings, and his unpublished material.


Leeds Poetry 1950-1980

The resource allows researchers to search through its online information regarding archival collections held at the University of Leeds. This includes materials relating to poets working at the University of Leeds, students, and those connected with the city and surrounding area between 1950 and 1980, when the Gregory Fellowship scheme enabled the presence of up to three artists in residence at the university. Researchers can access interactive maps to locate where the Leeds poets lived, and there are overviews on poetry publishing at Leeds, poetry and audiences, and student periodicals. The University of Leeds Special Collections holds tape recordings and correspondence relating to Leeds Poetry, but is accessible only in person at the university by prior appointment.


Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture

The Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture provides researchers with access to an online database to search through the University of Leeds’s dialect-related materials. The earliest materials came from Harold Orton, a dialectologist who came to Leeds and was known for his work on the Survey of English Dialects (SED), which he established in collaboration with Swiss colleague Eugen Dieth. Researchers can search through digitised images of SED and its material on Folk Life studies, and is “of significant value to linguistic, cultural, community and family history researchers.”


MOI Digital: A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

This resource is dedicated to the Ministry of Information’s activities in issuing out “National Propaganda” in Britain and abroad between 1939 and 1946, and censoring information deemed to be of military value. Researchers can search through home intelligence reports and a wartime social survey for this time period, which monitored public opinion and “were a valuable source of information for the ministers and civil servants charged with steering the country through a total war”. Additionally, the website provides information on the MOI’s relationship with the public, the physical form of its propaganda messages, and how the propaganda material was transmitted.


The Opie Archive: The Iona and Peter Opie Archive

This resource concentrates on the nature and history of “play” during the 1950s and 1960s through the work of folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, who pioneered the study of childhood playing and culture. The archive was digitised as part of the “Playing the Archive” research project. Researchers can access an online catalogue derived from the Opie manuscript archive at the Bodleian Libraries, and can search through the Opies’ early surveys, children’s written responses, and can search by games, technologies, rhymes, customs, and beliefs.


Pioneer Women: Early British Modern Dancers  

This resource concentrates on the careers of British modern dancers Madge Atkinson (1885-1970) and Ruby Ginner (1886-1978), who both pioneered early British modern dance forms which embraced naturalism and neo-classical dance forms. Researchers can access an online catalogue through the University of Surrey Special Collections website and search by specific name, catalogue reference number, and by date. Additionally, links to other dance-related online resources are provided, including British Black Dance Archives and Digital Dance Archives.



The Sussex Weidenfeld Institute-Centre for German Jewish studies

and everyday life in German-Jewish history. This includes the history of Jewish refugees and their families to the United Kingdom during and after the Second World War. The German-Jewish Archives holds over 49 collections of family papers with many digitised and catalogued for researchers to browse through. To see the papers in person, researchers will need to arrange to visit the archive at the University of Sussex by prior appointment.


Imperial War Museum: Posters of Conflict

This resource is dedicated to the visual culture of public information and counter information in posters, which documented the social, political, ethnic, and cultural aspirations of the involved nations during both world wars. The posters were documented by the project “Posters of Conflict: the visual culture of public information and counter information 1914-2005”, which catalogued and digitised 10,000 posters in the Imperial War Museum poster collection. Researchers can search through these posters on the website through its online database and is useful to those interested in the wider political contexts surrounding these posters.


Mander & Mitchenson Theatre Collection (M&M)–mitchenson-collection/

The resource focuses on the work of actors Raymond Mander (1911-1983) and Joe Mitchenson (1911-1992), who collected items relating to Britain’s theatrical history in London and regional theatre dating from the early eighteenth-century. This includes books, props, scripts, set designs, costumes, sculptures, playbills, music scores, photographs, and Victorian mantelpiece figurines of famous actors, and which can accessed by prior appointment at the University of Bristol Special Collections archive. Researchers can search through an online catalogue of these items by reference boxes, scripts, scrapbooks, photographs, posters, playbills, among other data, although not all files are available due to sensitive information contained in some of the material.


‘Remembering’: Victims, Survivors and Commemoration in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland

This online resource concentrates on the history of victims, survivors, and commemorations in Northern Ireland during the Troubles in the late twentieth century. Researchers can search through a database of digitised images of monuments to the victims of the conflict, as well as data on areas, date of incidents, and memorial titles. The website provides digitised maps plotting victim sites, Catholic and Protestant population distributions, and researchers can view video footage of these sites and recordings of seminars papers, and overviews on different definitions explaining victimhood.


Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech (SCOTS)

This resource hosts an online database of written and Scottish texts on the languages of Scotland as part of the Scottish Corpora project. Researchers interested in the linguistic diversity within Scotland and Scottish culture and identity can search through texts to “investigate the languages of Scotland in new ways.”


Screen Archive South East (SASE)

This resource is a moving image archive, based at the School of Media at the University of Brighton. Its screen collection consists of magic lantern slides, film, videotape, digital formats, and associated hardware and documentation, and includes material made by individuals, families, cine-clubs, public services, communities, and companies. Researchers can access an online catalogue and browse by themes, including fashion, family life, early film in the South East, the case study of Brighton, wartime, and military. The records are of interest to researchers who are interested in how life and work was recorded and captured from the nineteenth- to the twenty-first centuries. The digitised lantern slides can only be accessed by prior appointment at the University of Brighton’s Special Collections.


Siobhan Davies Dance Online

This resource provides researchers with access to an online archive of recorded of contemporary dance performances, photographic and textual materials relating to the Siobhan Davies Dance Company. Davies is regarded as having a significant role in the development of contemporary dance since the 1970s. Researchers can download dance footage and search by dance work, artists, dates, and locations, and the archive especially useful as a resource for dance historians.


The British Cinema History Research Project

This resource provides researchers with access to a sound and film recording database, in which they can search through audio interviews with film and television industry veterans recorded since 1986. Researchers can search through an index of audio interviews and transcriptions of the interviews and as such “represent a Who’s Who of British cinema history across a range of different technical crafts and creative roles.” Additionally, researchers can search through an online index of the trade paper Kine Weekly and its variants (1890-1971).


The Everyman Theatre Archive

The resource focuses on the influence of the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool since its inception in 1964 and is noted as “an important basis for social history, as well as its role in post-war regional theatre.” The archive is held at Liverpool John Moores University and includes posters, programmes, unpublished scripts by playwright Willy Russell, and photographs of actors ranging from Pete Postlethwaite and Jonathan Pryce. The website hosts a database in which researchers can search for actors, authors, composers, costume designers, directors, performances, set designers, among other data.


The Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (NECTE)

This resource is an online corpus which focuses on the dialect speech from Tyneside in North-East England. The data is based on two pre-existing corpora, one of them collected in the late 1960s by the Tyneside Linguistic Survey (TLS) project, and the other in 1994 by the Phonological Variation and Change in Contemporary Spoken English (PVC). The NECTE merged these corpora into an online database (which can be freely accessed once researchers register for an account), and is useful for researchers interested in linguistics and related disciplines such as anthropology, ethnography, sociology, social history, and cultural studies.


The Papers of Catholic Modernists-the Papers of Wilfrid Ward—papers-of-wilfrid-ward/2051131

This resource forms part of the University of St Andrews’s papers of Catholic Modernists held in the university’s Special Collections Archive. The Papers of Wilfrid Ward is an online catalogue based on the papers of Wilfrid Ward, who was a leading apologist for the Roman Catholic Modernist Movement in the UK. The collection consists of over 3,500 letters, photographs, notebooks, diaries, essays, and a large volume of papers relating to his academic, theological activities, and personal life.


The Percy Johnson-Marshall Collection

This resource is an online catalogue in which researchers can search through the work of Percy Johnson-Marshall (1915-1993), a British urban designer, regional planner and academic. The collection consists of papers, plans, books, journals and photographs collected or created by him throughout the course of his career and provides information about his involvement in professional organisations and educational bodies and World Development issues. The collection is held by the University of Edinburgh Special Collections, and researchers can view the material in person by prior appointment.


The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain, 1905-2016

This resource holds a variety of material related to historical pageants that were performed in Britain between 1905 and 2016. The website contains a database of historical pageants by region, period and name; film footage; interviews of those who participated in the pageants; and analysis of how communities used pageants to embrace local, national and imperial identities in twentieth and early twenty-first century Britain.


The Television and Radio Database

This resource is a crowdsourced online database in which researchers and interested members of the public can search through archived radio and TV listings information from 1922 until the eve of the millennium in December 1999. Researchers can search by general word search or by listings and can register for a free online account to search radio and televisions broadcasts. The website contains a list of ‘Top 100 Lost TV’ programmes list and general information about the database.


Town and Townscape: The Work of Thomas Sharp

This resource is dedicated to the work of Thomas Sharp (1901-1978) who was a key figure in town planning in the mid-twentieth century, particularly for the cities of Oxford, Exeter, and Durham. Researchers can access an online catalogue and search through Sharp’s personal papers and the papers can be accessed in person at the Newcastle University Library Special Collections. The website contains historic overviews about Sharp’s life and professional career, and an online gallery based on his town planning work.


UK Government Web Archive

This resource collects portions of the World Wide Web to ensure that the information is preserved in an archive for future researchers, historians, and the public. The website is useful for those interested in digital history and currently over 5,000 websites have been archived and is regularly updated.  The aims of UK Government Web Archive is to capture, preserve, and make accessible UK central government information available, and includes websites, social media tweets, and videos which date from 1996 to the present.


UK Web Archive (UKWA)

This resource collects, preserves, and provides researchers with permanent access to key UK websites. The material is collated in partnership with six legal deposit libraries (British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Bodleian libraries, Cambridge University libraries, and Trinity College, Dublin). UKWA collects millions of websites each year for its database. Researchers can access the UKWA online database and search for specific websites and browse through over 100 collections of websites by diverse topics and themes.


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