British Red Cross launches 'internationally important' online archives database

By Rosemary Collins, 12 October 2018 - 10:15am

The database features almost 30,000 items, allowing members of the public to discover the charity's history

Second World War PoW heater Red Cross Archives
Replica Second World War 'blower', used by PoWs in Italy to heat and cook food parcels (Credit: British Red Cross)

The British Red Cross' has launched a new online database, allowing the public to explore its collection of historic artefacts.

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

It has now published an online database of 28,752 items.

These include 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.

Many of the objects are photographed, including a collection of items used by Allied prisoners of war during the Second World War.

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 around the world and provides services to vulnerable people in Britain.

It has already published a searchable database of records of its First World War Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs).

Researchers can also visit the Red Cross collections in London by appointment.

For more information, email

The best TV and radio programmes in October for family history
previous news Article
The best TV and radio programmes in October for family history
previous news Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here