Digital archive tells the story of the British Red Cross
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Alasdair Brooks (inset) is delighted that the British Red Cross collection can now be searched online