Summer Lecture Series

The Summer Lecture Series welcomes a range of leading academic speakers, whose research explores an annual theme and is underpinned by the rich collections held at The National Archives.

The purpose of the series is to showcase the breadth of pioneering academic research which has drawn on records held at The National Archives, and to highlight our own growing research programme as an Independent Research Organisation.

The series is generously sponsored by the Friends of The National Archives.

State and Society: Cultures of Communication

18 July–29 August 2019 at The National Archives


From secret communications to public propaganda, this year’s Summer Lecture Series examines the ways citizens and states communicate across different time periods, cultures and nations.

Each of the lectures will draw upon The National Archives’ rich collections, and will offer an opportunity to see the documents behind the research. The series also intersects with The National Archives’ research priorities on openness, access and use, and people, place and rule.

Information at War: The Ministry of Information 1936–1946: 18 July, 18:30–20:30

Civilian understanding and morale was critical to success during the Second World War. The Ministry of Information used every form of communication available to it. Join Simon Eliot, Professor Emeritus at the University of London, as he explores the difficult early years of the Ministry of Information and its bid to win public confidence.
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Truths refuse to die: excavating buried stories in the time of the Raj: 1 August, 18:30–20:30

Sophia Duleep Singh and Udam Singh were very different – one was a princess and suffragette, the other an assassin – yet both of their stories portray key moments in British and Indian history. Join journalist Anita Anand, as investigative journalism meets archival research to examine the relationship between early 20th-century Britain and India.

Writs of passage: medieval Anglo-French relations through the Gascon rolls: 15 August, 18:30–20:30

Gascony was held by the kings of England from 1154 to 1453. The Gascon Rolls held in The National Archives record interactions between the crown and its Gascon subjects. Join Professor Anne Curry, University of Southampton, as she demonstrates the insights revealed by a project, now near completion, to create an online calendar of the rolls.

Written treasure: correspondence from captured ships, 1652–1815: 29 August, 18:30–20:30

Between 1650 and 1815 thousands of letters sent across the seas were seized from ships captured in war and presented to the High Court of Admiralty. Join Dr Amanda Bevan, Head of the Legal Records at The National Archives, as she delves into messages sent from an expanding world of slavery and sugar, European colonisation and trade, peace and war – the precursor to our world.
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