Contextuallising dating family guide photograph researching
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The National Archives does not hold any cinematographic film.
Running into millions of individual items, these photographs have been amassed during the working lives of central government departments and cover the historical time-span of the medium itself.
This guide will help you to find individual photographs among our vast holdings, some of them in discrete collections but many scattered more haphazardly among the documents of the scores of central government departments, past and present, that commissioned and collected them.
Our photographs are among these records, all of which, broadly speaking, have played some part in the working life of their government department of origin, whether commissioned as part of a survey, collected by British diplomats overseas, inherited, donated or acquired in some other way.
The subject matter, however, goes beyond the business of government, though that in itself encompasses an enormously wide range of material, from transport, housing and crime to war, heavy industry and British interests overseas.