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Imperial War Museum



Sir Alfred Mond, photographed between 1910 and 1920.

On 27 February 1917 Sir Alfred Mond, an MP and First Commissioner of Works, wrote to the Prime Minister David Lloyd George to propose the establishment of a National War Museum. This proposal was accepted by the War Cabinet on 5 March 1917 and the decision announced in The Times on 26 March. A committee was established, chaired by Mond, to oversee the collection of material to be exhibited in the new museum.

This National War Museum Committee set about collecting material to illustrate Britain’s war effort by dividing into subcommittees examining such subjects as the Army, the Navy, the production of munitions, and women’s war work. There was an early appreciation of the need for exhibits to reflect personal experience in order to prevent the collections becoming dead relics. Sir Martin Conway, the Museum’s first Director General, said that exhibits must “be vitalised by contributions expressive of the action, the experiences, the valour and the endurance of individuals”. The museum’s first curator and secretary was Charles ffoulkes, who had previously been curator of the Tower of London armouries. In July 1917 Mond made a visit to the Western Front in order to study how best to organise the museum’s growing collection. While in France he met French government ministers, and Field Marshal Haig, who reportedly took great interest in his work. In December 1917 the name was changed to the Imperial War Museum after a resolution from the India and Dominions Committee of the museum.

The museum was opened by the King at the Crystal Palace on 9 June 1920. During the opening ceremony, Sir Alfred Mond addressed the King on the behalf of committee, saying that ‘it was hoped to make the museum so complete that every one who took part in the war, however obscurely, would find therein an example or illustration of the sacrifice he or she made’ and that the museum ‘was not a monument of military glory, but a record of toil and sacrifice’ . Shortly afterwards the Imperial War Museum Act 1920 was passed and established a Board of Trustees to oversee the governance of the museum. To reflect the museum’s Imperial remit the board included appointees of the governments of India, South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. While the Act was being debated, some Parliamentarians felt that that museum would perpetuate an undesirable war spirit and Commander Joseph Kenworthy MP said that he would ‘refuse to vote a penny of public money to commemorate such suicidal madness of civilisation as that which was shown in the late War’ . By November 1921 the museum had received 2,290,719 visitors.


In 1924 the museum moved to the Imperial Institute building (demolished in the 1950s and 1960s to make way for Imperial College) in South Kensington. While this location was more central and in a prestigious area for museums, the accommodation itself proved cramped and inadequate and in 1936 a new permanent location was found south of the River Thames in Southwark.

The Imperial Institute, South Kensington, where the museum was located from 1924 – 1936

The building, designed by James Lewis was the former Bethlem Royal Hospital which had been vacated following the hospital’s relocation to Beckenham in Kent. The site was owned by Lord Rothermere, who had originally intended to demolish the building entirely in order to provide a public park in what was a severely overcrowded area of London. Eventually the central portion of the hospital building was retained while its two extensive wings were removed and the resulting space named Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, after Lord Rothermere’s mother. Sir Martin Conway described the building as ‘…a fine building, really quite noble building, with a great portico, a distinguishing dome, and two great wings added to it for the accommodation of lunatics no longer required. This particular building can be made to contain our collection admirably, and we shall preserve from destruction quite a fine building which otherwise will disappear’ . The ‘distinguishing dome’ was added by Sydney Smirke in 1846 and housed the hospital’s chapel, and is now the museum’s reading room. The museum was reopened by the Duke of York (later King George VI) in its new accommodation on 7 July 1936.

With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the museum began to collect material documenting the conflict. The museum initially remained open but was closed for the duration of the war in September 1940 with the onset of the Blitz. On 31 January 1941 the museum was struck by a Luftwaffe bomb which fell on the naval gallery. A number of ship models were damaged by the blast and a Short Seaplane, which had flown at the Battle of Jutland, was destroyed. While closed to the public the museum’s building was used for a variety of purposes connected to the war effort, such as a repair garage for government motor vehicles, a centre for Air Raid Precautions civil defence lectures and a fire fighting training school. In October 1945 the museum mounted a temporary exhibition, the first since the end of the war in August, which showcased technologies developed by the Petroleum Warfare Department. These included the submarine fuel pipeline PLUTO, the fog dispersal method FIDO, and flame weapons such as the Churchill Crocodile and Wasp Universal Carrier. However, due to bomb damage to both the building and exhibits, the museum was obliged to reopen its galleries piecemeal. The museum reopened a portion of its galleries in November 1946. A third of the galleries were opened in 1948 and a further wing opened in 1949.

In 1953, with Commonwealth forces engaged in Korea and Malaya the museum began its current policy of collecting material from all modern conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces were involved. However, despite this expansion of remit, the early postwar period was a period of decline for the museum. Dr Noble Frankland, the museum’s Director from 1960 to 1982, described the museum’s galleries in 1955 as appearing ‘dingy and neglected’ and in a ‘dismal state of decay’ the museum’s ‘numerous stunning exhibits’ notwithstanding.


The museum building showing the dome, guns, and the absence of the wings.

In 1966 the Museum’s Southwark building was extended to provide collections storage and other facilities, the first major expansion since the Museum had moved to the site. The development also included a purpose-built cinema. Two years later in 1968 a pair of 15-inch naval guns were installed in front of the Museum. Both had previously been mounted in Royal Navy warships (one from HMS Ramillies and the other mounted on HMS Resolution and later HMS Roberts) and had been fired in action during the Second World War.

Later that year on 13 October the Museum was attacked by an arsonist, Timothy John Daly, who claimed he was acting in protest against the exhibition of militarism to children. He caused damage valued at approximately 200,000, not counting the loss of irreplaceable books and documents. On his conviction in 1969 he was sentenced to four years in prison.

By 1983 the museum was again looking to redevelop the Southwark site and approached engineering firm Arup to plan a phased programme of works that would expand the building’s exhibition space, provide appropriate environmental controls to protect collections, and improve facilities for visitors. The first phase of these works, started in 1986, created 8,000m2 of gallery space of which 4,6002 was new, and saw the conversion of what was previously the hospital’s courtyard into a centrepiece Large Exhibits Gallery. This gallery featured a strengthened ground floo
r (to support the weight of very heavy exhibits), a first floor mezzanine and second storey viewing balcony. Into this space were placed tanks, artillery pieces, vehicles, ordnance and aircraft from the First World War to the Falklands War, and for some years the museum was marketed as ‘The new Imperial War Museum’. This atrium, with its concentration of military hardware, has been described as ‘the biggest boys’ bedroom in London’. This first phase cost 16.7 million (of which 12 million was provided by the government) and was opened by the Queen on 29 June 1989.

Panorama of the atrium. Ground floor exhibits include: ‘Devil’ a Mark V tank; ‘Ole Bill’ an LGOC B-type bus, V-2 and Polaris missiles, and (sand-coloured, extreme right) a Grant tank used by Bernard Montgomery. Suspended aircraft include a Sopwith Camel, Heinkel He 162 and (partially obscured) a Supermarine Spitfire which flew in the Battle of Britain.

In September 1992 the museum was the target of a Provisional Irish Republican Army attack against London tourist attractions. Two incendiary devices were found in a basement gallery, but were extinguished by staff before the arrival of the fire brigade, and caused only minor damage.

A second stage of redevelopment, providing a further 1,600m2 of floor space was completed in 1994 and a third stage in 2000. The latter expansion, the Southwest Infill, was partly funded by a 12.6 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and provided 5,860m2 of gallery space and educational facilities over six floors The development included the installation of the museum’s Holocaust Exhibition which was opened by the Queen on 6 June 2000. This was the first permanent exhibition dedicated to the Holocaust in a UK museum, and had taken five years at a cost of 5 million.

Tibetan Peace Garden with the museum behind

This period also saw the use of the surrounding park for purposes of commemoration or the promotion of peace. In 1999 a Soviet War Memorial was unveiled by the then Secretary of State for Defence George Robertson, and the Russian ambassador Yuri Fokine. The date of the unveiling (9 May) was significant as that day is marked as Victory Day in Russia. Also in May 1999 the Dalai Lama opened a Tibetan Peace Garden, commissioned by the Tibet Foundation, in the park. The garden features a bronze cast of the Kalachakra Mandala, contemporary western sculpture, and a pillar inscribed with a message from the Dalai Lama in English, Tibetan, Hindi and Chinese.

In August 2009 the museum announced the creation of the Imperial War Museum Foundation. Chaired by Jonathan Harmsworth, the great-grandson of the 1st Viscount who had secured the museum’s Bethlem building, the foundation is charged with raising funds to support the refurbishment of the museum’s permanent galleries. At the time of the announcement, the museum was planning for the refurbishment of its First World War gallery by 2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the war, and for the refurbishment of its Second World War and Post-1945 galleries by 2020, the museum’s own centenary.


From the 1970s onwards the museum began to expand onto other sites. The first of these sites, a former RAF and United States Army Air Force airfield at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, was opened to the public on a regular basis in June 1976. HMS Belfast, a light cruiser moored in the Pool of London, has been under the care of the museum since 1978.

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Main article: Imperial War Museum Duxford

AirSpace at IWM Duxford.

The Duxford branch of the Imperial War Museum houses its large exhibits, including the aircraft and military and naval vehicles collection. The museum has seven main exhibition buildings with nearly 200 military and civil aircraft. A historic airfield, used for military flying since 1916; the last operational flight at Duxford was made in July 1961. The museum originally only used one of the site’s hangars as temporary storage for part of its aircraft collection; however, following a series of popular air displays from 1973 onwards, the museum acquired the entire site for its use in February 1976.

The aircraft collection includes types such as a British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2 and the only SR-71 Blackbird on display outside the United States of America. The military vehicle collection includes command caravans used by Field Marshal Montgomery. The naval collection includes an example of an X-craft midget submarine and the Vosper motor torpedo boat MTB-71. The site provides accommodation for a number of regimental museums (including those of the Parachute Regiment, named Airborne Assault, and the Royal Anglian Regiment), and also provides additional collections storage. The site remains an active airfield and hosts regular air displays.

HMS Belfast

Main article: HMS Belfast (C35)

Care of the light cruiser HMS Belfast, which had served throughout the Second World War, was transferred to the museum on 1 March 1978 after Shirley Williams, the then Secretary of State for Education and Science, accepted that the ship was “a unique demonstration of an important phase of our history and technology”.

HMS Belfast at her berth in the Pool of London

She had been preserved for the nation since 1971 in the Pool of London under the care of a private charitable trust, the HMS Belfast Trust; the first such preservation of a naval ship since HMS Victory. The museum, along with the National Maritime Museum and the Ministry of Defence, had been involved in an earlier plan, which took place in the late 1960s, to preserve the ship, which the government on that occasion had declined in 1971.

HMS Belfast was a notable vessel. Launched in March 1938 she served throughout the Second World War, participating in the Battle of North Cape and firing some of the first shots of Operation Overlord. She later served in the Korean War. The ship left Singapore on 26 March 1962 for the UK where she made a final visit to Belfast and after an exercise in the Mediterranean was paid off on 24 August 1963. In service for 24 years HMS Belfast was, in the view of historian Noble Frankland, capable of representing “a whole generation of [historical evidence]”.

Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms

Main article: Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms

The Map Room of the Cabinet War Rooms

In 1984 the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public as a branch of the museum. The War Rooms are an underground complex that had been used as a command centre by the British government throughout the Second World War. Located beneath the Treasury building in the Whitehall area of Westminster, the facilities were constructed before the war in anticipation of extremely destructive aerial bombing of London. They became operational in 1939 and were in constant operation for the duration of the war. The complex was abandoned in August 1945 after the surrender of Japan. The historical value of the Rooms was recognised early on, and the public were able to visit the War Rooms by appointment. However, the practicalities of allowing public access to a site beneath a working government office meant that only 4,500 of 30-40,000 annual applicants to visit the War Rooms could be admitted. During the 1970s the Cabinet Office and the Department for the Environment, which was responsible for the Rooms after 1975, raised the possibility of the museum taking over the War Rooms. The museum was reluctant due to its new commitments related to Duxford and HMS Belfast, but agreed in 1982. The scheme was keenly supported by the then Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher, an admirer of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and she opened the War Rooms in April 1984.

Following a major expansion in 2003 a suite of rooms, used as accommodation by Churchill, his wife and close associates, were added to the museum. The restoration of these rooms, which since the war had been stripped out and used for storage, cost 7.5 million. In 2005 the War Rooms were rebranded as the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, with 850m2 of the site redeveloped as a biographical museum exploring Churchill’s life. The museum, the development of which cost a further 6 milion raised from private fundraising, makes extensive use of audiovisual technology. The centrepiece is a 15m interactive table which enables visitors to access digitised material, particularly from the Churchill Archives Centre, via an ‘electronic filing cabinet’.

Imperial War Museum North

Main article: Imperial War Museum North

Entrance of Imperial War Museum North in Manchester


The Imperial War Museum North was opened in Trafford, Greater Manchester in 2002, the first branch of the museum outside of southeast England. The museum’s first floor main gallery space houses the permanent exhibitions. These consist of a chronological display which runs around the gallery’s 200m perimeter and six thematic displays in ‘silos’ within the space. The walls of the gallery space are used as screens for the projection of an hourly audiovisual presentation, the Big Picture. Though exhibiting fewer large objects than other museum branches, Imperial War Museum North features in its main gallery a Russian T-34 tank, a United States Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jet, and a British 18-pounder field gun which fired the British Army’s first shot of the First World War. The museum also hosts a programme of temporary exhibitions, mounted in a separate gallery.

The project to construct a branch of the museum in the north of England, was launched in January 1999 by the then Culture Secretary Chris Smith. The new building was the first of the branches to be purpose-built as a museum. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, it was his first building in Britain. Libeskind building, overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays, was based on the concept of a globe shattered by conflict into shards and reassembled. These shards, representing earth, air and water, give the building its shape. Originally budgeted at 40 million, the museum was eventually completed for 28.5 million after anticipated funding was not forthcoming. The museum was funded by local, national and European development agencies, by private donations and by Peel Holdings, a local transport and property company which contributed 12.5 million.

The London building

A view of Bethlem Royal Hospital in 1828

The Imperial War Museum has had three homes. Originally housed in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, in 1920, the museum moved to space in the Imperial Institute in South Kensington during 1924, and finally in 1936 the museum acquired a permanent home in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark. The hospital building was designed by the hospital surveyor, James Lewis, from plans submitted by John Gandy and other architects, and construction completed in October 1814. The hospital consisted of a range of buildings 580 feet long with a basement and three storeys, parallel to Lambeth Road, with a central entrance under a portico.

The building was substantially altered in 1835 by architect Sydney Smirke. In order to provide more space, he added blocks at either end of the frontage, and galleried wings on either side of the central portion. He also added a small single-storey lodge, still in existence, at the Lambeth Road gate. Later, between 1844-46, the central cupola was replaced with a copper-clad dome in order to expand the chapel beneath. The building also featured a theatre in a building to the rear of the site.

The building remained substantially unchanged until vacated by the hospital in 1930. After the freehold was purchased by Lord Rothermere, the wings were demolished to leave the original central portion (with the dome now appearing disproportionately tall) and Smirke’s later wings. When the museum moved into the building in 1936 the ground floor of the central portion was occupied by the principal art gallery, with the east wing housing the Naval gallery and the west wing the Army gallery. The Air Force gallery was housed in the former theatre. The first floor comprised further art galleries (including rooms dedicated to William Orpen and John Lavery), a gallery on women’s war work, and exhibits relating to transport and signals. The first floor also housed the museum’s photograph collection. The second floor housed the museum’s library in its west wing, and in the east wing the map collection and stored pictures and drawings. This division of exhibits by service, and by civil or military activity, persisted until a wide-ranging redisplay of the galleries from the 1960s onwards.

The original hospital building is now largely occupied by corporate offices. A 1966 extension? houses the library, art store, and document archives.Redevelopments in the 1980s created exhibition space over five floors, along with the acquisition of the All Saints Annexe, a former hospital building in Austral Street off West Square. The 1867 building, which backs onto Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, was originally an orphanage opened by local philanthropist Charlotte Sharman, then later used as a hospital. It houses the museum’s photographic, film and sound archives, and offices.


The collections include this photograph of Montgomery in his command tank, the tank itself, as well as Montgomery’s papers and command caravan from the European campaign.

The Imperial War Museum’s original collections date back to the material amassed by the National War Museum Committee. The present departmental organisation came into being during the 1960s as part of Frankland’s reorganisation of the museum. The 1970s saw oral history gain increasing prominence and in 1972 the museum created the Department of Sound Records (now the Sound Archive) to record interviews with individuals who had experienced the First World War. Since the opening of the Holocaust and Crimes against Humanity exhibitions, a collecting department has been established to support them. The museum maintains an online database of its collections named Collections Online.

Material from the collections are displayed at each of the museum’s branches, and on five levels at the Lambeth Road site. The basement is occupied by permanent galleries on the First and Second World Wars, and of conflicts since 1945. The ground floor comprises the atrium, cinema, temporary exhibition spaces, the permanent Children’s War exhibition (extending into the basement), and visitor facilities. The first floor provides the atrium mezzanine, education facilities, and a permanent gallery, Secret War, exploring special forces, espionage and covert operations. The second floor features the atrium viewing balcony, two art galleries, a temporary exhibition area and the permanent Crimes against Humanity exhibition. The third floor houses the permanent Holocaust Exhibition, and the fourth floor provides a further exhibition area in the vaulted roof space. From November 2010 this area will accommodate the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, exhibiting the museum’s own collection of Victoria and George Crosses, and the private collection of Victoria Crosses amassed by Michael Ashcroft.


There are eight departments responsible for different aspects of the museum’s collections.

The Department of Documents holds private papers such as letters and diaries from both individual soldiers and civilians to high-ranking officers such as Field Marshals Bernard Montgomery, Sir John French and Henry Maitland Wilson. Also of note are manuscripts by war poets Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon. The Department holds the official British records of the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals and a variety of other official records. The Department also houses the UK National Inventory of War Memorials.

The Art department holds much of the work of official war artists from both world wars, and contemporary art from after 1945. As early as 1920 the art collection held over 3,000 works and included pieces by John Singer Sargent, Wyndham Lewis, John Nash and Christopher Nevinson. The collection expanded again after the Second World War, holding around 70% of the 6,000 works produced by the Ministry of Information’s War Artists Advisory Committee. The collection also includes a large number of propaganda posters from many countries and periods.[a] In
1972 the museum’s Artistic Records Committee was established to commission artists to cover contemporary conflicts.

The Film and Video Archive is one of the oldest film archives in Britain and preserves a range of historically significant film and video material. The collection includes the official British film record of the First World War and the 1916 feature film The Battle of the Somme, which is inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register. The collection also includes the official British film record of the Second World War, amateur film and film of other conflicts since 1945. Material from the collection was used to make a number of well-known TV documentary series including The Great War and The World at War.

The Photograph Archive preserves the official British photographic record of both World Wars and conflicts since 1945. It currently holds more than 6,000,000 images and the Second World War collection includes the work of photographers such as Bill Brandt, Cecil Beaton and Bert Hardy. Both the Film and Photograph Archives are official repositories for material produced by the Ministry of Defence and so include material from contemporary operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Department of Exhibits and Firearms is responsible for the care of the Museum’s collection of three-dimensional objects. The cores of the collection are the firearms collection, collections of artillery, ordnance and vehicles, and medals and decorations such as the Victoria Cross and George Cross. Many of the department’s larger exhibits are on display and can be seen in the photographs below. Other exhibits include artillery pieces whose crew won the Victoria Cross, a Lee Enfield rifle used by T. E. Lawrence, and a Colt 1911 automatic pistol owned by Winston Churchill.

A still from The Battle of the Somme, kept in the Film and Video Archive

The Department of Printed Books is responsible for the Museum collection of printed materials including books, maps and ephemera. When the Museum was established the distinguished historian Sir Charles Oman was given responsibility for the library. In 1922 the library collection contained a reported 20,000 items and 60,000 items in 1953. Today the Museum gives the size of its library collection as 270,000 items.

The Sound Archive, originally named the Department of Sound Records, administers a collection of over 56,000 hours of historical recordings and was opened to the public in July 1977. The core of this collection are oral history interviews with people who were affected by war in the 20th century. This collection has been used for a series of radio programmes and books, called Forgotten Voices, about war in the 20th century. The collection also includes historic broadcasts, and actuality sound effects recorded during conflicts.

The Department of Holocaust and Genocide History supports the Holocaust and Crimes against Humanity exhibitions. The department seeks to acquire archival material and artefacts to illustrate its subject; notable acquisitions include the Gianfranco Moscati collection which documents the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War. The department also answers public and academic enquiries, advises other bodies working on related subjects, represents the museum at relevant events and supports the museums’ educational activities. It also occasionally undertakes external consultancy, for instance assisting with the establishment of a memorial room at Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Since 1917 the museum has had six directors. The first was Sir Martin Conway, a noted art historian, mountaineer and explorer. He was knighted in 1895 for his efforts to map the Karakoram mountain range of the Himalayas, and was Slade Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Cambridge from 1901 to 1904. Conway held the post of Director until his death in 1937, when he was succeeded by Leslie Bradley. Bradley had served in the First World War in the Middlesex Regiment before being invalided out in 1917. He later became acquainted with Charles ffoulkes, who invited him to join the museum where he was initially engaged in assembling the museum’s poster collection. Bradley retired in 1960 and was succeeded by Dr Noble Frankland. Frankland had served as a navigator in RAF Bomber Command, winning a Distinguished Flying Cross. While a Cabinet Office official historian he co-authored a controversial official history of the RAF strategic air campaign against Germany. Frankland retired in 1982 and was succeeded by Dr Alan Borg who had previously been at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. In 1995 Borg moved to the Victoria and Albert Museum and was succeeded by Sir Robert Crawford, who had originally been recruited by Frankland as a research assistant in 1968. Upon Crawford’s retirement in 2008 he was succeeded by Diane Lees, previously Director of the V&A Museum of Childhood. She was noted in the media as the first woman appointed to lead a British national museum


^ Whitmore, Mark (letter to Frankie Roberto) (12 May 2008) WhatDoTheyKnow.comTotal number of objects in the Imperial War Museum’s collection. Accessed 28 October 2009.

^ Department for Culture, Media and Sport: Monthly museum and gallery visitor figuresFigures for 2008/09 financial year. Accessed 21 May 2009.

^ “History Today – Guns and Roses : The Imperial War Museum has appointed its first female Director Diane Lees. Juliet Gardiner asks her about her vision for the museum, both in London and at its various outposts around the country.”. www.historytoday.com. http://www.historytoday.com/MainArticle.aspx?m=33216&amid=30275177. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 

^ Google Maps (2009) Walking directions to Imperial War Museum London from Lambeth North tube station. Accessed 28 December 2009.

^ Google Maps (2009) Walking directions to Imperial War Museum London from Waterloo station. Accessed 28 December 2009.

^ Imperial War Museum (17 July 2008) Annual Report and Account 2007-2008(London: The Stationery Office). ISBN 978-0-10-295346-6. Accessed 30 July 2009.

^ Kavanagh, Gaynor ‘Museum as Memorial: The Origins of the Imperial War Museum’, Journal of Contemporary History Vol. 23 No. 1 (January 1988) pp.81 Available via JSTOR at . Accessed 13 August 2009.

^ ‘National War Museum. The Collection Of Relics And Souvenirs’, The Times, March 26, 1917 Issue 41436; pg. 5; col C

^ Kavanagh, pp.82

^ Kavanagh, pp.83

^ James Mann, foulkes, Charles John (18681947), rev. William Reid, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 accessed 22 June 2009

^ ‘The War Museum. Sir Alfred Mond’s visit to the front’, The Times, July 24, 1917 Issue 41538; pg. 3; col C

^ Museums and the First World War, page 137, Gaynor Kavanagh, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1994, ISBN 071851713X |accessdate=2009-08-21

^ ‘The Greatest War Memorial. Opening By The King. Human Interest At The Crystal Palace’. The Times, 10 June 1920, Issue 42433, page 11 column D

^ Office of Public Sector Information: UK Statute Law Database Imperial War Museum Act 1920. Accessed 15 March 2009.

^ Hansard, 12 April 1920 Imperial War Museum Bill HC Deb 12 April 1920 vol 127 cc1465-9 Hansard 1803-2005 Accessed 22 March 2009.

^ ‘Public And Crystal Palace. Full Benefit Later’, The Times, 15 November 1921, Issue 42878, page 5, column D

^ ‘The Imperial War Museum: Lack of Accommodation’
,The Times 25 August 1933 Issue no. 46532, page 13 column E

^ Peter Leach, ewis, James (1750/511820), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 Accessed 12 March 2009

^ Conway was addressing the House of Lords and his words recorded in Hansard. Quoted in Cooke & Jenkins, ‘Discourses of Regeneration in Early Twentieth-Century Britain: From Bedlam to the Imperial War Museum’, Area, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dec., 2001), Blackwell Publishing for The Royal Geographical Society, pp. 387. Available via JSTOR at . Accessed 13 August 2009.

^ Imperial War Museum London (guidebook), (London: Imperial War Museum, 2009) pp. 5 ISBN 9781904897958

^ mperial War Museum: Collection of war relics, The Times 14 May 1940 Issue 48615 Page 4 Column F

^ a b c Imperial War Museum London (guidebook), (London: Imperial War Museum, 2009) pp. 2 ISBN 9781904897958

^ Ministry of Information photograph caption IWM Collections – Photograph Search search for ‘D 29420’ under ‘Reference Number’

^ ‘Petroleum Warfare Exhibition: Secrets Of Crocodile And Wasp’, The Times, 5 October 1945, Issue 50265, Page 7 Column D

^ ‘Imperial War Museum: Memorial and Record Of Deeds In Two World Wars’, The Times 31 January 1953 issue 52534, page 7 column E

^ ‘New Exhibits In War Museum Galleries Reopened’,The Times, 31 August 1948; Issue 51164; pg. 6; col E

^ elics Of Two World Wars Museum Wing Reopened, The Times, 23 February 1949, Issue 51313, Col E

^ Frankland, Noble (1998) History at War: The Campaigns of an Historian (London: Giles de la Mare) pp.160 ISBN 9781900357104

^ ‘Cinema For War Films Opens’, The Times, 2 November 1966, Issue no. 56778, page 16, column B

^ ‘Picture Gallery’, The Times, 7 May 1968, Issue no. 57245, page 3 column G

^ Marshall, Rita ‘War museum damaged by arson’, The Times 14 October 1968, Issue no. 57381, page 1

^ ‘Museum fire youth gets four years’, The Times, 23 January 1969, Issue 57466, page 3 column G

^ a b Pearce, David and Penton, Annelise (2002) ‘The Imperial War Museum, London – Stage 3’ The Arup Journal Volume 37 No. 2 pp. 42-47

^ The new Imperial War Museum (guidebook, 1992), London: Imperial War Museum.ISBN 0-901627-50X

^ Karpf, Anne (2 June 2000) The Guardian Bearing Witness. Accessed 11 July 2009

^ Hansard, 17 July 1989 Imperial War Museum – HC Deb 17 July 1989 vol 157 cc13-4 Hansard 1803-2005. Accessed 16 March 2009.

^ Kirby, Terry (18 September 1992). “Firebombs found at three tourist venues in London”. The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/firebombs-found-at-three-tourist-venues-in-london-1552052.html. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 

^ Hansard, 4 March 1996 Terrorist Incidents – HC Deb 04 March 1996 vol 273 cc51-62W Hansard 1803-2005. Accessed 6 April 2009.

^ Heritage Lottery Fund – Second World War 60 Years On: remembering, learning, commemorating Accessed 10 March 2009.

^ Duncan, Sue (29 November 2001) The Architects’ Journal Sensitive choices. Accessed 14 July 2009

^ For details of the development process of the Holocaust Exhibition see Bardgett, Suzanne Exhibiting Hatred Accessed 10 March 2009. Originally published in History Today (June 2000).

^ Society for Cooperation in Russian and Soviet Studies Soviet War Memorial Accessed 11 March 2009.

^ Tibet Foundation Art and Culture: Tibetan Peace Garden. Accessed 11 March 2009.

^ Steel, Patrick (August 2009) ‘IWM sets up foundation to fund gallery revamp’ Museums Journal Volume 109 No. 8, pg 6

^ A guide to the transport museums of Great Britain, page 100, Jude Garvey, Pelham Books, 1982, 0720714044

^ a b Wingate, John (2004). In Trust for the Nation: HMS Belfast 1939-1972. London: Imperial War Museum. p. Postscript. ISBN 1-901623-72-6. 

^ Imperial War Museum Duxford History of Duxford Accessed 21 February 2009

^ Frankland, Noble (1998) History at War: The Campaigns of an Historian (London: Giles de la Mare) pp.205-208 ISBN 9781900357104

^ Imperial War Museum Duxford: The Land Warfare Hall Monty Accessed 22 June 2009

^ Imperial War Museum Duxford: The Maritime Collection X-craft Exhibition Accessed 22 June 2009

^ British Military Powerboat Trust MTB-71: 60ft Vosper Motor Torpedo Boat Accessed 22 June 2009

^ For a list of aircraft, vehicles and boats at Duxford, see IWM Duxford: Aircraft and Vehicles. Accessed 26 June 2009

^ See Airborne Assault homepage. Accessed 26 June 2009.

^ “HMS “Belfast” (Hansard, 19 January 1978)”. hansard.millbanksystems.com. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1978/jan/19/hms-belfast#S5CV0942P0_19780119_CWA_145. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 

^ London’s Changing Riverscape, page 216, Graham Diprose, Charles Craig, and Mike Seaborne, Frances Lincoln Ltd, 2009, ISBN 0711229414

^ Frankland, Noble (1998) History at War: The Campaigns of an Historian (London: Giles de la Mare) pp.204 ISBN 9781900357104

^ a b Holmes, Richard (2009) Churchill Bunker: The Secret Headquarters at the Heart of Britain Victory (London: Profile Books Ltd) pp 193 ISBN 978-1846682254

^ Kennedy, Maev (9 April 2003) The Guardian Restored underground apartments opened to public. Accessed 28 July 2009.

^ Waterfield, Giles ‘The Churchill Museum: Ministry of sound’ Museum Practice No.30 (Summer 2005) pp.18-21

^ McLaren, Leah (July 6, 2002), “Triumph over adversity”, The Globe and Mail: R5 

^ Worsley, Giles (29 June 2002) The Daily Telegraph A globe ripped to pieces. Accessed 20 November 2009.

^ Martin, David ‘Full metal jacket: Imperial War Museum North’ Museum Practice No.21, December 2002, pp.24-29

^ Studio Daniel Libeskind Imperial War Museum North Accessed 7 July 2009

^ Manchester Evening News, 4 March 2008 Peel Milestones. Accessed 7 July 2009

^ Glancey, Jonathan (22 April 2002) Guardian Unlimited War and peace and quiet. Accessed 7 July 2009

^ a b “Bethlem Hospital (Imperial War Museum)”. www.british-history.ac.uk. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=65447&strquery=Bethlem Royal Hospital. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 

^ a b ‘Bethlem Hospital (Imperial War Museum)’, Survey of London: volume 25: St George’s Fields (The parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington) (1955), pp. 76-80 British History Online. Accessed 20 August 2009.

^ ‘War Museum In Its New Home – Arrangement Of The Exhibits’, The Times 16 June 1936, Issue 47402, page 14 column B

^ Archives in London and the M25 Area All Saints Hospital. Accessed 20 August 2009.

^ See Imperial War Museum Collections Online Photograph Search under Reference No. E 18980

^ See under ‘Land Warfare Hall’.

^ For an overview of the Museum’s collections, see Bardgett, Suzanne ‘Imperial War Museum and the history of war’ at ‘Making History’ maintained by the Institute of Historical Research accessed 17 December 2008

^ Imperial War Museum Lord Ashcroft’s Victoria Cross Collection. Accessed 15 September 2009.

^ For more details of the architectural layout of the building see Pearce, David and Penton, Annelise (2002) ‘The Imperial War Museum, London – Stage 3’ The Arup Journal Volume 37 No. 2 pp. 42-47

^ ‘Montgomery documents’,The Times 8 July 1982, Issue 61280, page 2 column A

^ ‘Field marshal’s indiscreet love letters fetch 4,800’,The Times, 18 December 1975 Issue 59581, page 7 column C

^ Malvern, Sue ‘War, Memory and Museums: Art and Artefact in the Imperial War Museum’, History Workshop Journal No. 49 (Spring 2000) pp.177-203, page 188. Available via JSTOR at . Accessed 13 August 2009.

^ Foss, Brian ‘Message and Medium: Government Patronage, National Identity and National Culture in Britain 1939-1945’, Oxford Art Journal Vol 14 No.2 (1991) pp 52-72, pp. 70. Available via JSTOR at . Accessed 13 August 2009.

^ The Art Collection at the Imperial War Museum: Contemporary War Artists: Introduction Accessed 28 February 2009

^ A number of artists commissioned by the committee, and a number of others, are described at University of the west of England: School of Creative Arts: Vortex – The Home Page of Paul Gough Accessed 28 February 2009

^ For the early history of the Imperial War Museum film archive, see Smither and Walsh ‘Unknown Pioneer: Edward Foxen Cooper and the Imperial War Museum Film Archive 1919-1934’, Film History Vol 12 No. 2 pp 187-203. Available via JSTOR at . Accessed 13 August 2009.

^ For a detailed summary of the Film and Video Archive’s holdings, see Moving History: A guide to UK film and television archive in the public sector. Accessed 14 March 2009.

^ ‘Beaton’s record of war revived’, The Times, 7 October 1981 Issue 61049, page 7 column C

^ See Jack Cornwell and L Battery RHA

^ ‘A Rifle with a Story’, The Times, 18 March 1937 Issue no. 47636, page 18 column E

^ Paddy Griffith, (2004) man, Sir Charles William Chadwick (18601946), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, online edn, Oct 2007 Oxford DNB Online Edition, accessed 3 Feb 2009

^ ‘News in Brief: Sir Ian Hamilton Gift to War Museum’, The Times, 25 February 1922 issue 42965, page 6 column F

^ ‘Imperial War Museum: Memorial and Record Of Deeds In Two World Wars’, The Times 31 January 1953 issue 52534, page 7 column E

^ Imperial War Museum Collections homepage, accessed 1 December 2008

^ Lance, D G ‘Sound Archive of Recordings Opens to the Public’, Social History Volume 2 No.6 (October 1977) pp 803-804. Available via JSTOR at . Accessed 13 August 2009.

^ Intute database Gianfranco Moscati Collection. Accessed 19 August 2009.

^ Imperial War Museum Holocaust and Genocide History. Accessed 19 August 2009.

^ Bardgett, Suzanne (November 2007) ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ History Today Volume 57 No. 11 www.historytoday.com. Accessed 19 August 2009.

^ ‘Mr L. R. Bradley: Former Director of Imperial War Museum’ (obituary) The Times 30 January 1968 pg. 8

^ Heal, Sharon (January 2008) ‘New chief at IWM revealed’ Museums Journal 108/1 p. 8


a. ^  The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), hosted by the University for the Creative Arts, provides online access to a large number of images from the Imperial War Museum’s collections. The images are copyright cleared and free for use in UK education and personal research. This includes over 7000 images from the museum’s poster collection, digitised and catalogued as part of a project in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. See: Posters of Conflict, Concise Art Collectionand Spanish Civil War Poster Collection

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Imperial War Museum

Official website of the Imperial War Museum

Information on the 15″ guns outside the museum’s main entrance

Through My Eyes website (personal stories of war and identity from the Imperial War Museum’s archives)

360 Virtual Tour of the Large Exhibits Gallery at Imperial War Museum London

v  d  e

Museums and galleries in London

National museums

and galleries

British Library  British Museum  Imperial War Museum (Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms  HMS Belfast)  National Army Museum  National Gallery  National Maritime Museum (Queen’s House  Royal Observatory)  Natural History Museum  National Portrait Gallery  Science Museum  Tate (Tate Britain  Tate Modern)  Victoria and Albert Museum (Museum of Childhood)

Designated collections

Courtauld Gallery  Dulwich Picture Gallery  Firepower The Royal Artillery Museum  Horniman Museum and Gardens  Hunterian Museum  Jewish Museum  Kensington Palace (Dress collection)  Library and Museum of Freemasonry  London Transport Museum  Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture  Museum of London (Museum of London Docklands)  Petrie Museum  Sir John Soane’s Museum

English Heritage

Apsley House  Chiswick House  Down House  Eltham Palace  Jewel Tower  Kenwood House (Iveagh Bequest)  London Wall  Marble Hill House  Ranger’s House (Wernher Collection)  Winchester Palace

National Trust

2 Willow Road  Blewcoat School  Carlyle’s House  Eastbury Manor House  Fenton House  George Inn  Lindsey House (restricted)  Morden Hall Park  Osterley Park  Red House  Roman Baths  Sutton House

Other museums

and galleries

Barbican Art Gallery  Bruce Castle  Dal Universe  Design Museum  Estorick Collection  Foundling Museum  Freud Museum  Garden Museum  Geffrye Museum  Guildhall Art Gallery  Handel House Museum  The Hayward  Hogarth’s House  Institute of Contemporary Arts  Leighton House Museum  Old Operating Theatre  Queen’s Gallery (Royal Collection)  Royal Academy of Arts  Royal Academy of Music Museum  Saatchi Gallery  Serpentine Gallery  Sherlock Holmes Museum  Wallace Collection  Wellcome Collection  Whitechapel Art Gallery  William Morris Gallery

v  d  e

Department for Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom

Headquarters: 24 Cockspur Street


Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport  Minister of State for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism  Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State (three)

Executive agencies

Royal Parks Agency

Statutory corporations

Channel Four Television Corporation  Historic Royal Palaces  Horserace Totalisator Board

Public broadcasting


British Broadcasting Corporation  S4C  Welsh Fourth Channel Authority


Non-departmental public bodies


Arts Council of England  Big Lottery Fund  British Film Institute  Br
itish Library  British Museum  Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment  English Sports Council  Football Licensing Authority  Geffrye Museum  English Heritage  Historic Royal Palaces  Horniman Museum  Horserace Betting Levy Board  Imperial War Museum  Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester  Museums, Libraries and Archives Council  National Gallery  National Heritage Memorial Fund  National Lottery Commission  National Maritime Museum  National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside  National Museum of Science and Industry  National Portrait Gallery  Natural History Museum  Olympic Delivery Authority  Olympic Lottery Distributor  Registrar of Public Lending Right  Royal Armouries Museum  Sir John Soane’s Museum  Sport England  Tate  UK Film Council  UK Sport  Victoria and Albert Museum  VisitBritain  Wallace Collection


Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites  Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships  Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection  Advisory Council on Libraries  English Marketing Advisory Board  Legal Deposit Advisory Panel  Public Lending Right Advisory Committee  Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest  Spoliation Advisory Panel  Theatres Trust  Treasure Valuation Committee


Horserace Betting Levy Tribunal

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Categories: Department for Culture, Media and Sport | Museums established in 1917 | Archives in England | Archives in London | Film archives | Photo archives | World War I museums | Military museums in London | Military museums in England | Museums sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport | Buildings and structures in Southwark | Defunct hospitals in England | Domes | Non-departmental public bodies of the United Kingdom government | Visitor attractions in London | Art museums and galleries in London | World War II museums

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