Discover Your Local Heritage: National Sources of Information

This page and others like it was designed to help students on my local history courses. For more details go to the Introduction.

Art UK

This site can be useful for artistic views of different locations which can make an interesting comparison to old photographs. I also find it useful for images of occupations in the past. However, such interpretations need to be treated with caution. Pictures of idyllic peasants gathering bracken from the moorland are probably very far from the realities of rural life.

Discovery: The National Archives

This site is a starting point for those interested in doing documentary research. The National Archives have provided an electronic index to archive collections throughout the country. A successful search will give you enough information to let you know whether the document in question could be of use to you. However, the documents themselves have not all  been digitized. If you wish to see many of them you will have to visit the archive office where they have been deposited.


This is a national organization with a huge amount of data on its website. It is aimed at people researching their family tree and so tends to concentrate on documents such as registers of marriages, births and deaths or tax returns. This link is to their Yorkshire page, but there are also relating to individual communities.


The aim of this website (supported by the Ordnance Survey) is to have a photograph in every O. S. grid square. Often there are dozens. Its usefulness comes from being able to search the images by place mane, postcode or O. S. grid reference. It therefore becomes very easy to see what has caught the eye of other people in your community.

Grace’s Guide

This site provides information on industry and manufacturing, details of firms and often adverts taken from newspapers and trade journals.

Heritage Gateway

This site, established by English Heritage, allows you to search across a variety of their databases and those of other bodies such as the National Trust and regional historic environment records. This makes it a good starting place for anyone trying to look for archaeological information within their region.

A Historical Gazetteer of English Place Names

A very useful website which can be used to find out how place names have been spelled at different times in the past and the documentary sources in which they can be found. Another section gives the original meaning of the names.

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland has digitized the Six Inch to the Mile Ordnance Survey Maps for England and Wales. The maps include a zoom feature which will allow you to make out the smallest detail; an easy way to start looking at you town or village in the past.

Old Bricks

Brick from the Woolley brickworks at Bramley (Leeds,UK)

Brick from the Woolley brickworks at Bramley (Leeds,UK)

An extensive collection of images, more than helpful in identifying the product of local industries.

Open Domesday

The site provides a facsimile copy of the whole of Domesday but sadly no translation. Instead, the information for each entry has been abstracted and is given as a list. It does, however, make comparison between different communities very easy.

Roman Inscriptions of Britain

There’s very little documentary evidence from the Roman north apart from the account of Agricola’s campaigns given in Tacitus. A Look at the inscriptions on local altars may help fill in some of the gaps.

 Roman Roads Research Association

This link will take people to the page for the Yorkshire Roman Roads project which was discussed in class on several occasions. However, as a whole it is full of useful, up-to-date information, and is well worth a look at.

The Textile System

This is part of the huge Spartacus Educational website. As the name might suggest the site is intended for use in schools. However, the shot articles linked to this page provide clear descriptions of increasingly complicated textile machinery which makes their working easier to understand. There are also links to items on the processes of the textile industry and the lives of people involved in it.

 Turnpike Roads in England

This site offers a brief history of turnpikes with a comprehensive reading list. Its list of Turnpike Acts is also a handy reference.

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