Dig­i­tal archive tells the story of the Bri­tish Red Cross

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The his­tory of the Bri­tish Red Cross’s work in wars around the world can now be ex­plored by the pub­lic via its on­line col­lec­tions data­base.

The Bri­tish Red Cross Mu­seum and Ar­chives has one of the largest Red Cross col­lec­tions in the world, with about 56,000 items in to­tal.

It has now pub­lished an on­line data­base ( mu­se­u­man­darchives.red­cross.org.uk) list­ing 28,752 items, in­clud­ing ap­prox­i­mately 11,000 mu­seum ob­jects and cat­a­logued archive items such as letters, posters, pho­to­graphs and films.

Dr Alas­dair Brooks, the Bri­tish Red Cross her­itage man­ager, said: “This is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to share our in­ter­na­tion­ally im­por­tant col­lec­tion. We hope this will pro­vide the pub­lic with the op­por­tu­nity to learn much more about our work over the past 150 years.”

The data­base is search­able by key­word, name, type of ob­ject and even colour, and users can save their favourites. The char­ity will con­tinue to add items to the data­base, al­though some will be with­held be­cause of data pro­tec­tion laws.

The web­site in­cludes pho­to­graphs of an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of items shed­ding light on the ex­pe­ri­ences of Al­lied pris­on­ers of war (POWs) dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Among these are maps used by the char­ity; posters ap­peal­ing for do­na­tions from mem­bers of the pub­lic; pris­on­ers’ sketches; and pho­to­graphs of Red Cross staff at work dis­tribut­ing food parcels.

The Bri­tish Red Cross was formed in re­sponse to the Franco-Prus­sian War of 1870, un­der the name of The Bri­tish Na­tional So­ci­ety for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War. It now helps peo­ple suf­fer­ing from con­flict and dis­as­ter

‘The data­base lists 28,752 items, in­clud­ing pho­to­graphs’

around the world, as well as pro­vid­ing ser­vices to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in Bri­tain. It has al­ready pub­lished a search­able data­base of records of its First World War Vol­un­tary Aid De­tach­ments (VADs) at vad.red­cross.org.uk.

Re­searchers can also visit the Red Cross col­lec­tions in Lon­don by ap­point­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion, email en­quiry@red­cross.org.uk.

Dr Alas­dair Brooks (in­set) is de­lighted that the Bri­tish Red Cross col­lec­tion can now be searched on­line

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