Information about current placement partners

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Making links with external organisations

History at Work offers a unique opportunity to forge mutually beneficial relationships with partner organisations. “This is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Sabrina Rowlatt, from Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre. “As well as creating a new relationship with Goldsmiths, we are encouraging students to use our facilities and giving them the skills to enhance their employability.”

Ieuan Hopkins from Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood praised the work of history student Phoebe Hunter-Mcilveen: "She has worked hard to produce a very useful piece of research, which will be published online later in the year, and which will also form the basis for future re-display of sections of the permanent galleries."

Here are some of our partners:

Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre

201 Lewisham Library, Lewisham High Street SE13 6LG

Lewisham Local History archive holds a wide range of materials for the history of the borough dating back to the 16th century.

The resources include:

  • some nonconformist church records
  • directories
  • electoral registers
  • burial and cremation records from Lewisham cemeteries
  • parish registers recording Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials dating back to 1538
  • copies of most printed books on the history of the area
  • pamphlets and periodicals produced by local organisations
  • an extensive run of directories
  • local newspapers from 1856 to the present
  • press cuttings and ephemera
  • illustrations
  • maps

Students will be involved in the day to day work of the archive team, including answering public inquiries, cataloguing, researching and collating information, scanning images, researching context for images and documents, contributing to exhibitions of local history.

Wellcome Library

183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

The Wellcome Library is a collection of books, manuscripts, archives, films and pictures on the history of medicine from the earliest times to the present day and was founded by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853-1936), pharmacist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector.

The Library’s collections include records from antiquity to the 21st century in over 60 different languages. A medical prescription from ancient Egypt, written on papyrus (c.1100 BCE), is the earliest document in the Library. The Library holds information on a diverse range of subjects, including history, popular science, consumer health, biomedical science policy, research ethics, science education and public engagement with science. There are also over 250,000 prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and other media, ranging in date from the 14th century to the present, as well as over 1,300 films, 3,500 videos and 1,500 sound recordings, spanning 100 years of medicine and healthcare.

The Library’s Moving Image and Sound Collection is the largest of its kind in Europe, specialising in the evolution of medicine and health throughout the 20th century. 

Students will work with the collections curators and archivists on a variety of source management and interpretation projects.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JN

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum, established in 1842, provides a wide range of services and activities for everyone interested in the history of British pharmacy. Based on our unique collections of around 45,000 objects there is something for everyone whether you are a pharmacist, researcher, family historian, visitor to London, or simply fascinated by the history of healthcare.

The museum collection covers all aspects of British pharmacy history including:

  • traditional dispensing equipment
  • drug storage containers
  • fine "Lambeth delftware" dating from the 1600s and 1700s
  • proprietary (brand name) medicines dating from the 1700s to present
  • bronze and bell metal mortars
  • medical caricatures
  • a photo archive.

Exhibition themes include Healing Science, The Evolving pharmacy, Lambeth’s Pharmacy Past,  Pharmacy and Nature and Making Medicines. The objects on display range from 18th century seahorses to current painkillers, and from jars used to hold 16th-century medicinal ingredients to a culture vessel used for penicillin in the 1940s. The Museum offers a range of historical services based on the information, archives and objects held, and hosts a wide range of online resources. 

This is a single placement for someone who is particularly interested in the history of medicine or science. It is possible to work with archives or museum artefacts or both. There will be an opportunity to develop cataloguing skills using the MODES Complete database. Students may also assist with enquiries using both a conventional library and an electronic archive. It may also be possible to allocate a small discrete display or research project to the student to fit with his or her individual interests.

London Transport Museum

Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB

The London transport museum is dedicated to conserving and explaining the Capital city's transport heritage. The Museum offers people an understanding of the Capital's past development and engages them in the debate about its future. London Transport Museum's collections cover a wide spectrum of materials and media, including some 80 vehicles, rolling stock, posters and original artworks, signs, uniforms, photographs, ephemera, maps and engineering drawings. Together, they make up the most comprehensive record of urban mass transit in the world. They are working to provide enhanced access to our collections through digitisation. The online collections include posters and photographs and can be consulted by everyone across the world.

In partnership with libraries and archives around the Capital, London Transport Museum has begun a project aimed at uncovering the transport story in every one of London's 33 boroughs. A unique collection of over 12,000 books, journals and special collections covers:

  • History of London and its public transport
  • buses, trams, trolleybuses, the Underground, railways, taxis and water transport
  • art, design, architecture and London's transport
  • transport for London, London Transport and their predecessors
  • public transport operation, policy and legislation
  • transport in other UK and world cities.

Transport for London Historical Archives administer the official records for Transport for London, London Transport and their predecessor companies. Students will probbaly work for most of their placement at the museum Depot in Acton, where the bulk of the archive and collection is stored.

V&A Museum of Childhood

Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA

The V&A Museum of Childhood houses the UK's national collection of childhood-related objects and artefacts, spanning the 1600s to the present day. The collection contains toys - including dolls, dolls' houses, puppets and teddy bears - games, clothing, furniture and art and photography. The Museum has an extraordinary and varied collection of over 8,000 dolls, ranging from the earliest - a wooden paddle doll dating from 1,300BC - to the most contemporary, a punk doll from the Bratz Boyz 2005 range. The Museum's dolls' house collection is the largest British collection not in private hands. The oldest house, the Nuremberg House of 1673, is one of the Museum's greatest treasures. The Museum's collection provides the stimulus for a dynamic programme of artist-led projects, engaging new audiences in a creative process that brings the themes of childhood to life. The combined work of established and emerging artists and the culmination of community projects is showcased in the prominent dedicated gallery space, the Front Room, which is situated at the entrance to the Museum.

In addition, the Museum runs a dynamic programme of temporary exhibitions and displays, a wide variety of activities, events and workshops for adults and families, outreach projects in hospitals and the local community, and an award-winning programme for schools. The Museum aims to encourage everyone to explore the themes of childhood past and present, and to develop an appreciation of creative design through our inspirational collections and varied public programme. There is a programme of free activities every day, including storytelling, arts and crafts, tours and treasure hunts, aimed at children aged 3-12.

Students may be invited to work on documentation storage and object movement, conservation issues, exhibitions, gallery display, archival projects, and other general tasks.

Students selected for this placement will be required to apply for a CRB check, due to the large number of child-centred activities taking place throughout the day in the museum.

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD

St Paul’s is London's cathedral and embodies the spiritual life and heritage of the British people. A cathedral houses the seat - or in Latin, cathedra - of the bishop, making it a centre for Christian worship. St Paul's Cathedral acts as an important meeting place for people and ideas, as a centre for the arts, learning and public debate. The present St Paul's is the fifth cathedral to have stood on the site since 604, and was built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

The fabric archive denotes a great variety of objects associated with the history of the construction and decoration of St Paul’s Cathedral. There are some very remarkable and important artefacts that are significant to the history of St Paul’s Cathedral, including models, paintings and archaeological stones. The Architectural Archive contains the papers and drawings created by the Surveyor to the Fabric and related drawings by consultants, contractors, artists and designers. The drawings and papers date from the surveyorship of FC Penrose (1852-1897) to the present day and chart the structural changes and decorative embellishments to the Cathedral during this period. The books and manuscripts are housed in one of London’s best-preserved 18th century interiors, the cathedral library. Today it houses approximately 21,500 volumes, including printed books, manuscripts and separate pamphlets. These works accrued through purchase, bequest and donation, largely from 1690 onwards, form a collection still used today by academics, students and researchers of all kinds.

The collections are managed and conserved by an in-house team composed of a Conservator, a Librarian, an Architectural Archivist and a Collections Manager.

St Paul’s has archives, a library, a conservator and historic collection of objects associated with the life of the building as well as the many items of significance displayed on the cathedral floor and in the crypt. Workplace students will be offered the opportunity to learn about the work in each section and will be offered the opportunity to participate in the activities of the visits department.

This is a flexible work placement which can be tailored to student interests with the agreement of The Collections Manager who will be supervising this placement.

It is important to note that as an ancient building, St Paul’s cannot offer 21st century standards of access. This placement is unsuitable for students with major mobility impairments, including visual impairments.

London Metropolitan Archive

40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB

LMA is the archive repository for many London-wide organisations. The archives of the City of London Corporation (COL) and the former Greater London Council (GLC), London County Council (LCC), Middlesex County Council (MCC) and their predecessors are held here. LMA also holds records for many religious, public, business, local authority and other organisations based in London. The dates of items that can be found here range from medieval to the present day, and our collections are constantly expanding. At the moment, there are documents to fill around 105 km worth of shelving!

The archive of the City of London is one of the oldest, most complete and wide ranging civic archives in the world. Dating from 1067, with a Charter of William I, the collection traces the history of the City through a thousand years of governing the square mile, encompassing periods of civil war and national unrest, the Great Fire of London, and the growth of metropolitan London. The City’s unique role in national life with its traditional ceremonial role and emergence in the 20th century as a leading local authority is documented here.

There is an extraordinary range of archives held at LMA. The following areas are particularly significant:

  • the built environment
  • the care of the sick, dispossessed and destitute
  • education
  • highways and transportation
  • justice
  • migration, settlement and activities of new communities
  • planning
  • public health and engineering
  • religious life
  • social activities, customs and trends
  • docial, philanthropic and campaigning activities.

This organisation will offer six work placements per term, based primarily at the LMA centre at Northampton Road. You will also be shown the work undertaken at the Guildhall Art Gallery and Keats House Museum as part of the wider work of the City of London Heritage Services.

Goldsmiths University of London library special collections

New Cross Way, London SE14 6NW

Goldsmiths library collects special collections and archives which are reflective of our influential position in the creative and performing arts, and involvement with the culture of local communities as well as broader society in contemporary Britain. Major collections include:

  • The Women's Art Library/Make
  • Lift Living Archive, London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT)
  • The Centre for Russian Music collection
  • Daphne Oram Archive of 20th century musicology
  • Serge Prokofiev archive of 19th century Russian Music
  • The folk music libraries of Bert Lloyd, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger
  • Goldsmiths textile collection and Constance Howard Gallery.

Students should specify the particular collection they are interested in working on; several places will be available with the special collections team.

Bishopsgate Institute

230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH

Bishopsgate Library holds world-renowned collections on London history, labour and socialist history, freethought and humanism, co-operation, and protest and campaigning.

There are a variety of collections for the study of labour and socialist history. These include the archives of politicians and activists, such as Jack Gaster, Noreen Branson, Aubrey Bowman and Bernie Grant; and organisations, such as the Evening Standard Outside Chapel and the National Miners' Support Network. The Labour History Collection is also an invaluable resource for the study of labour and socialist history from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day.

The Library holds the most unique collection of archives and printed materials relating to the history of freethought and humanism in the country. This includes the archives and libraries of two of the Victorian era's most prominent thinkers on freethought and secularism, Charles Bradlaugh and George Jacob Holyoake.

The Library also documents the history, activities and campaigns of the movement from the late 19th century to the present day through the extensive archives of the British Humanist Association, the Rationalist Association and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.

The Great Diary Project was set up to provide a permanent home for unwanted diaries of any date or kind. The collection now contains over 2,000 diaries, and is adding to this resource as extensively as possible. Once part of the collection, all diaries are housed according to up-to-date conservation standards. All diaries will be catalogued for the Project database, the contents of which will be made freely available to researchers and interested readers, who can consult the originals in the Bishopsgate Institute reading room.

Students will have the opposrtunity to work with archivists on the management and interpretation of the collection.

The Cinema Museum

2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road) London SE11 4TH

London’s Cinema Museum is devoted to keeping alive the spirit of cinema from the days before the multiplex. Set in historic surroundings in Kennington, close to the Elephant & Castle, the Cinema Museum houses a unique collection of artefacts, memorabilia and equipment that preserves the history and grandeur of cinema from the 1890s to the present day.

The Museum’s unique collection is the result of a lifelong fascination with cinema-going. Co-founder Ronald Grant began collecting as a child, and at the age of 15 he started work as an apprentice projectionist with Aberdeen Picture Palaces Ltd, an associated company of James F Donald (Aberdeen Cinemas) Ltd. Ronald moved to London in the 1960s and worked at the British Film Institute and the Brixton Ritzy, but a fortuitous trip back to his home city led to him saving from destruction a significant quantity of artefacts from the James F Donald cinemas. These memorabilia from Aberdeen remain at the heart of the collection. 

The collection grew far beyond its origins as an enthusiast’s treasure trove to become an extensive archive of historical and social importance, and Ronald Grant and Martin Humphries established the Cinema Museum in 1986 to safeguard its future. They have worked together throughout to build up and look after the collection, and continue to oversee the Museum to this day. It has been a long journey, but the enterprise has made tremendous progress, and it has attracted the help and goodwill of a great many cinephiles along the way.

As the Museum now establishes its permanent home in the Victorian magnificence of the old Lambeth Workhouse, where Charlie Chaplin spent time as a child, it is interesting to look back some of the successes and challenges of the past.

Ragged School Museum

46-50 Copperfield Road, London E3 4RR

Housed in what was once London's biggest Ragged School, this popular, family-friendly museum welcomes people of all ages to taste a slice of Victorian life, located beside the Regent's Canal. The Museum offers, through role-play, hands-on exhibits and talks, an authentic and memorable experience of the poor of the East End a century ago.

The museum was founded to make the history of the Ragged Schools and the broader social history of the East End accessible to all. Within the original buildings, an authentic Victorian Classroom has been set up where each year some 14,000 children experience a school lesson as it would have been taught more than 100 years ago.

We have also recreated a Victorian East End Kitchen from the 1900s, where younger children listen to stories and join in rhymes and games of the period.

The museum has several gallery areas, a reconstructed Victorian Classroom and a Victorian East End Kitchen displaying its own collection of historical artefacts, all designed for hands-on inspection. This is a museum where you can sit at the school desks, use the tin bath and experience what life was like for the Victorian poor of the East End of London.

Special exhibitions are presented throughout the year about the unique cultural history of the area.

This placement will concentrate on the interpretation and communication of history in an educational context, including the development of educational materials based on the museum collections, and possibly research in other libraries and collections. You will be working with school children and you will be required to complete a CRB form to undertake this placement.

Islington Museum

Finsbury Library, 245 St John Street, London EC1V 4NB

Islington Museum shares new purpose-built accommodation with Finsbury library and the Islington local history archive. The archive and curating team work closely together to interpret and communicate the history of the Borough to its public. Resources include maps, photographs, census records, electoral rolls, trade directories, newspapers and archive material. These collections are valuable sources for research on family history, local history, biographical history and other subjects.

The centre also houses the Archives of the Sadler's Wells Theatre, the Royal Agricultural Halland records of the estate of the Penton family of Pentonville. There are also records of local societies such as the Islington Literary and Scientific Society.

Students will be able to work closely with the small collections team on accessioning, conservation, and display projects, as well as taking part in the day to day work of the collection, including answering visitor inquiries.

Ming Ai Institute

1 Cline Road, London N11 2LX

Ming-Ai was set up in March 1993 as an initial effort to promote social, cultural, educational and economic exchanges among the peoples of Hong Kong, China and Britain together with all other peoples.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a grant to Ming-Ai (London) Institute for the British Chinese Workforce Heritage project between June 2012 to May 2015.

Although it has involved many thousands of people over a century and a half, the history of Chinese workers in Britain has never been properly documented. Now a small army of volunteers will spend three years charting the role of Chinese workers in such a wide range of employment including seafaring, laundering and catering, and more. The project will involve recorded oral history interviews to collect the memories of the thousands of chinese workers in Birtain, as well as community and outreach events.

Students will have the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of activities including research, translation, interviewing, audio/video editing, administrative duties, helping with the website and event organisation.

Ming Ai has also entered into a partnership with the National Army museum to research the role of Chinese soldiers in British military history.

National Army Museum

Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4HT

NAM aims to be the leading authority on the history of the British Army and a first class museum that moves, inspires, challenges, educates and entertains. NAM's mission is to gather, maintain and make known the story of the British Army and its role and impact in world history. The museum aims to provide a museum experience that meets the widest range of public need and connects the British public with its Army.

The British Army played a decisive role in the creation of the nation state of Great Britain as we recognise it today. Our Army is not called the Royal Army (unlike the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force) because, after a historic struggle between Parliament and monarchy, the British Army has always been answerable to Parliament and the British people. If you live in Britain today, the actions of the British Army have affected the culture, traditions, government and laws of the society you live in, and, on a global scale, are continuing to do so today.

Today, the British Army is operational in over 80 countries across the globe, and its actions continue to impact the world now and into the future.

The National Army Museum presents historical fact. We know that many different people will interpret the information that we provide, both on our website and in the galleries, in different ways. We recognise that while many people in Britain and beyond will support some of the actions of the British Army in the past, today, and in the future, others will disagree with or condemn these actions. Our concern is to provide the facts that may help our users to form their own opinions, either through a visit to this website or to the Museum itself.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives covers the area of the present-day London borough of Tower Hamlets - the original East End of London which, until 1965, comprised of the boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney.

There are substantial holdings of archives relating to the borough including extensive holdings of records of the borough and its predecessors dating in some cases from the 16th century. These include:

  • minutes, rate books and correspondence files
  • deeds
  • books and pamphlets
  • cuttings
  • illustrations
  • over 2,000 maps and plans dating from Elizabethan times to the present day
  • audio-visual collections
  • a unique collection of original paintings

These provide extensive coverage of the many differing aspects of the recorded history of Tower Hamlets.

Students would be engaged with the archivist in preserving and cataloguing these records, as well as in the work involved in making their content available to the public. The archive is currently undergoing a major reorganisation, which will enable the student to participate in a wide range of activities and to learn first hand about the work involved in this process. There will be scope to research the brorough and its history as part of the project, and this placement may be of special interest to someone with roots in Tower Hamlets.

The Jewish Museum

Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, London, Greater London NW1 7NB

The Jewish Museum was founded in 1932 by Professor Cecil Roth, Alfred Rubens and Wilfred Samuel. In 1995, it was amalgamated with the London Museum of Jewish Life founded in 1983 as the Museum of the Jewish East End with the aim of rescuing and preserving the disappearing heritage of London's East End.

The museum’s education programmes and activities encourage a sense of discovery and creativity and tell the story of Jewish history, culture and religion. The only museum in London dedicated to a minority group, the museum’s expansion and redevelopment was made possible following a £4.2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Jewish Museum collects material to illustrate the history and culture of Jewish people in Britain, and their religious traditions and practices. It seeks to reflect the diverse roots of the Jewish community in Britain, including Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions. Collections include material dating from the medieval period through to the present day that reflects the diverse roots of Jewish people in Britain. Holdings include:

  • Jewish ceremonial art
  • material that illustrates British Jewish social and political history
  • material relating to the Holocaust and refugees from Nazi Europe, particularly in relation to those who have settled in Britain
  • a large collection of synagogue textiles
  • costumes from the late 19th and 20th century, including wedding dresses, uniforms, clothing accessories (eg handbags, shoes and hats) and baby clothes (including circumcision gowns)
  • an important collections of prints of Jewish interest in the world, including depictions of religious ceremonies and practices, Jewish costume, portraits of famous Jews, and caricatures by masters such as Rowlandson and Gillray

There is also a range of material from the late 19th and early 20th century, primarily relating to working life in the East End of London. Trades currently represented include tailoring, cabinet making, baking, printing, hat making and cigarette making.

There is a wide range of material on paper, of both religious and secular origin, ranging in date from the medieval period to the present day, with a heavy bias towards 19th and 20th century ephemera.

The museum has almost 500 audio tapes in its Oral History Archive, consisting primarily of life history or subject specific interviews. These reflect personal histories, working life and communal activities, and include interviews with refugees from Nazism and Holocaust survivors. The Museum continues to carry out interviews with individuals who reflect diverse aspects of the British Jewish experience.

Students will be working principally with the Learning Programme Manager, Judith Vandervelde, and this placement will particularly appeal to someone interested in education and communication through the material sources of history. Work will include helping with school visits to the museum and offsite workshops, opportunities to learn about the management of the collection, and associated research (particularly in the Wiener library).