Discover what goes on inside The National Archives, South West London’s hidden Brutalist masterpiece.
To mark 40 years on our site at Kew, The National Archives invites you on a journey behind-the-scenes at the world’s largest archive. In 1977, the then Public Record Office undertook one of the biggest ever relocations of its kind by moving from its late Victorian Chancery Lane building (known as ‘The Strongbox of the Empire’) to an innovative Brutalist building, sited improbably amongst Kew’s Victorian terraces. Its controversial design has not always found favour but its many distinctive archival features have stood the test of time with the building still used for its original purpose.
Special tours will explain how we use the space to preserve and conserve the nation’s historical documents for future generations and give insight into the thinking behind the original design. In addition to site tours there will be specialist talks, displays and screenings, charting the history of the former Public Records Office (now The National Archives) and some of the highlights of our vast collection.