If you're a researcher, these are some of the items we have available, including our archives, audio visual collection, historical publications and museum items.
We can accommodate small groups to view the collection. A minimum of 24 hours notice is required for all appointments. Research hours are between 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, Monday to Friday.
If you have an item relating to our history which you'd like to donate, find out more about how to donate historical items.
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Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 7877 7058.
Records of the world wars
Historical reference library
The archives record the history and activities of the British Red Cross from its foundation in 1870 as the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War.
Reports are available of relief work carried out during the following wars:
- Franco-Prussian war 1870-1871
- Turco-Servian war 1876
- Russo-Turkish war 1877-1878
- Zulu war 1879
- Boer rebellion 1881
- Egyptian campaign 1884-1885
- Servo-Bulgarian war 1885-1886
- rebellion in Rhodesia 1896
- Turco-Greek war 1897
- Sudan expedition 1898
- South African war 1899-1902.
Records from the period 1870-1905 include the papers of our first chairman, Colonel Robert Loyd-Lindsay (created Lord Wantage in 1885).
In 1905 the organisation was reconstituted under the name of the British Red Cross Society and received its first Royal Charter in 1908. Official records are kept from 1905. A monthly journal ‘The Red Cross’ was first published in 1914 and has continued under various titles and format to the present day. The first annual report was produced in 1924.
County Branches of the British Red Cross were established in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland from 1907. Records of Branch activities vary but often include annual reports, minute books and membership information. Branches were also established in British dependent territories and some records are held, mainly from 1949-1971.
During both world wars, the Red Cross combined with the Order of St John to carry out relief work at home and overseas in the most efficient and economical way. Information about this work is available in published form. We hold the few surviving records of the Joint War Committee (1914-1919) and the Joint War Organisation (1939-1947). Indexes of personnel from both wars are a valuable resource. We also hold records of the peacetime co-operation between the two bodies (Joint Council 1919-1946 and Joint Committee from 1943).
The catalogue is not available online. For more information on the collections, please contact email@example.com
An extensive photograph collection covers work at home and overseas. See a selection in the First World War gallery and the Second World War gallery.
We will consider all requests to reproduce images from our museum and archive collections on condition that they adhere to our image reproduction policy. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about our policy.
Film and sound
A small audio-visual collection covers British Red Cross activities mainly from the second half of the twentieth century.
The library contains British Red Cross publications from its origins to the present day. It also contains selected publications from other parts of the Red Cross Movement, in particular the Bulletin of the International Committee of the Red Cross from 1869.
The museum collection contains many diverse objects which illustrate the work of the British Red Cross in the UK and overseas. They include:
- medals and badges both awarded by, and to, members of the organisation
- Red Cross uniforms and textiles, including pieces made by recovering soldiers and the Changi quilt
- wheelchairs, stretchers, crates and large objects all used by, or produced by, the British Red Cross
- medical equipment, including bedpans, first aid kits, illustrated triangular bandages, feeding cups and blood transfusion equipment
- fundraising material from campaigns during the First and Second World Wars, Red Cross Week and international appeals, collecting tins, stickers and badges
- posters illustrating international work, UK services, juniors and youth, first aid and appeals, and our links with the wider programmes of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
- images of past and present royal patrons, paintings by Doris Zinkeisen who was commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee during the Second World War, and artwork representing past campaigns, work overseas and distinguished members of the organisation.
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