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Online Resources

The following websites contain useful information and/or search tools that relate to the key themes and topics of The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857. Most of these websites are freely available to the public. Some however require subscription for access—if so, this is indicated in our description. To suggest additional websites for this list (or alert us to a broken link), email us at East.India.Company@warwick.ac.uk .

Click on the following headings to learn more about these topics...

 

Archives, Libraries & Record Offices

 

Online Collections of Material Objects & Images (see also Homes & Houses)

 

Houses and Homes 

 

People 

 

Reference Works 

 

Societies and Networks of Researchers

 

Acknowledgements 

 

 


Archives, Libraries & Record Offices:

Access to Archives (A2A): heart of the UK archives network, A2A provides a search tool for access to the online catalogues of many local and national archives in England and Wales. The material, which includes information on persons, places and things, dates from the 8th century to the present. The Advanced Search allows you to search by repository and to limit your search by date. This is a wonderful resource, but it’s important to remember that it is not fully comprehensive—and due to funding cuts, new information is no longer added to this database. See www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/ .

British Library: The British Library (www.bl.uk/ ) holds online catalogues, manuscripts, printed documents, images and objects of central importance to The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857—not least the archive of the East India Company. Of particular relevance are the catalogues of private papers, prints and drawings relating to South Asia and the British in South Asia in India Office Select (www.bl.uk/catalogues/indiaofficeselect/ ), the India Office Family History Search tool (providing rapid access to biographical information, birth, marriage and death dates of East India Company officials, see www.bl.uk/catalogues/iofhs.shtml ), and the Archives and Manuscripts catalogue (http://searcharchives.bl.uk ). More information about these collections can be found on the India Office Records introductory page http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpregion/asia/india/indiaofficerecords/indiaofficehub.html.

Also note that Dorota Walker’s guide to India-related material in the British Library (non IOR) manuscript collections is now available online as a searchable pdf. The index, called ‘A guide to materials relating to India at the British Library Western Manuscripts Collections’ can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpregion/asia/india/indiaofficerecordsfamilyhistory/familyresearch.html. The pdf is listed on the right-hand column of the page.

Institut Français de Pondichéry (French Institute of Pondicherry): This institute’s online resources provide abundant information on the south Indian town of Pondicherry, established by French colonial powers in the 18th century. Its online resources include a detailed ‘History of Pondicherry from the Origin to 1824’, which contains detailed material on domestic architecture in colonial Pondicherry as well as on furniture. Other resources include a photo archive. See www.ifpindia.org/ .

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies of British Art: The Centre’s library and archive contain both printed matter and images of British art, drawings, sculpture, etc. The photo-archive includes over 80,000 items. An online catalogue of holdings is available. See www.paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk/ .

National Archives of Scotland: The archive includes manuscript records of Scottish history from the 12th century to the present. In addition to the online catalogues of its own collections, the website hosts useful finding aids such as the National Register of Archives for Scotland, a database of private collections of historical materials. See www.nas.gov.uk .

National Library of Scotland: The National Library of Scotland offers a wide range of online resources on Scottish and family history (including the history of Scots abroad). These resources include online bibliographies and maps. See www.nls.gov.uk/ .

National Library of Wales: Available in both English and Welsh language editions, this resource provides material relevant to Welsh biography, family history and online versions of wills, among other offerings. The Library holds over 65,000 Welsh portraits, some of which can be accessed via its ‘Digital Mirror’. See www.llgc.org.uk .

National Maritime Museum: This collection includes print-based and archival materials as well as many objects associated with Britain’s maritime and imperial histories. The online catalogues of documents and objects are searchable. See www.nmm.ac.uk .

National Register of Archives (NRA): This is a key source if you are searching for archival material on notable people in England’s past. It can be searched by name or place name, and there is also a family and estate index. The site provides good links to the local and national archives in which materials are held. See www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/ .

Royal Commission of the Ancient and Historical Manuscripts of Scotland: This resourceholds over 15 million drawings, photos and other images of the buildings and built environment of historic Scotland. It provides an online searchable gateway to these resources. See www.rcahms.gov.uk .

Royal Commission of the Ancient and Historical Manuscripts of Wales: This resource holds over a million drawings, photographs and other images of the historic built environment in Wales. See www.rcahmw.gov.uk .

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): RIBS’s online holdings include images of many historic British buildings and an online catalogue of finding aids for information on them. See www.architecture.com .

Scottish Archive Network (SCAN): This resource includes online research tools for most aspects of Scottish history, and the history of Scots in the empire. It has digital archives and online exhibitions. See www.scan.org.uk .

The National Archives (TNA): The National Archives holds key documents relating to the British state and government. Its Documents Online facility provides access to scanned copies of, for example, naval records and English wills. There are many online catalogues and finding aids. See www.nationalarchive.gov.uk /.


Online Collections of Material Objects & Images: 

British Museum: The British Museum’s Collections Online is a searchable electronic database with nearly 2 million objects and images of over half a million objects, including many examples of British, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and colonial visual and material culture. The images are often accompanied by substantial descriptive information. See www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collections_database.aspx .

Chipstone Collection: This US-based collection includes a wealth of ceramics from Britain and its empire, including material with ‘Oriental’ motifs. The associated Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture provides access to electronic texts, images and online exhibitions and research aids. See www.chipstone.org and (for the digital database) http://decorativeartslibrary.wisc.edu .

Government Art Collection: Explore the British Government's collection of over 13,000 works of art, mainly by British artists ranging from the sixteenth century to the present day. See www.gac.culture.gov.uk/.

Lewis Walpole Library: The Library is devoted to 18th-century British art, and includes artworks focused on British India. There is a searchable database of artwork, with images. See www.library.yale.edu/walpole/ .

Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met has a searchable online Collection Database that includes collections of Asian Art and Islamic Art. See www.metmuseum.org .

National Galleries of Scotland: This is the most comprehensive collection of artwork relating to Scotland, and includes material on Scots in India. Its online collection can be searched by artist, subject, etc. See www.nationalgalleries.org/ .

National Heritage Memorial Fund: This fund raises money to retain objects associated with national heritage (including archives and artwork) within Britain. Using the ‘Project Search’ function, you can search for descriptions and images of objects, artwork, etc sponsored by the Fund. See http://search.hlf.org.uk/nhmfweb/aboutthehmf/ .

National Maritime Museum: National Maritime Museum: This collection includes print-based and archival materials as well as many objects associated with Britain’s maritime and imperial histories. The online catalogues of documents and objects are searchable. See www.nmm.ac.uk .

National Museum of Wales: The Museum’s ‘Explore our Collections’ function takes you to its ‘Art Collections Online’, a catalogue of all the paintings and sculptures in the collections. See www.museumwales.ac.uk .

National Portrait Gallery: The NPG contains portraits of 160,000 persons from the 16th century to the present, many of them with connections to Britain’s empire in India.Many images are available online. See www.npg.org.uk/ .

Royal Collection: This website offers both detailed information about objects in the Royal palaces, residences and art collection and a searchable database with high quality images. There are many objects from 18th- and 19th-century China, India and Japan in the Royal Collection. See http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/egallery/ .

Tate Britain: Tate Britain ( www.tate.org.uk/britain/ )focuses on British (including British imperial) art since 1500. You can search Tate Images at www.tate-images.com/ .

The Powys Digital History Project (http://history.powys.org.uk/history/intro/entry.html) is a useful website containing digital copies of archive documents, photographs and early maps, which refer to the local communities in the heart of Wales.

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata: The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is home to a superb collection of artwork from the colonial period, and its website has a wealth of images of the period of the East India Company. See www.victoriamemorial-cal.org .

Victorian & Albert Museum Images: This is a rich, searchable collection of images and includes items such as Chinese and Japanese porcelain and Indian furniture and textiles. See www.vandaimages.com/search.asp . The Victoria & Albert Museum website also features a series of pages concerned with the East India Company. You can access these pages at http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/e/east-india-company/.

Waddesdon Trade Card Collection: This collection includes British, French and German trade cards from the 18th century that advertise, among other objects, luxuries from Asia. The collection is searchable and provides both images and detailed information on the trade cards. See www.waddesdon.org.uk/searchthecollection/trade-cards-introduction.html .

Yale Centre for British Art: This is the largest collection of British art outside the UK. Over 47,000 records can be searched on its online catalogue. See http://britishart.yale.edu .

 
Houses & Homes:

Ancient Monuments Society: This society promotes the study and conservation of historic buildings and monuments. It produces an annual register of listed buildings threatened with demolition. Its newsletter details events of related societies and organisations. See http://www.ancientmonumentssociety.org.uk .

Country Life Picture Library: This searchable gallery includes images of both interiors and exterior views of country houses. See www.countrylifeimages.co.uk .

Centre for the Study of the Country House: The Centre is a joint venture of Leicester University and the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust to promote the study of historical houses. See http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/arthistory/research/countryhouse/ .

Country House Rescue (Channel 4): This documentary programme focuses on historic country houses in a state or disrepair or in financial difficulty. Featured homes with East India Company connections have included Tapeley Park. See www.channel4.com/4homes/on-tv/country-house-rescue/ .

DiCamillo Companion: This is a searchable database of over 7,000 British and Irish country houses, augmented by a variety of other online research resources. Searches can me made under a total of 24 headings. See www.dicamillocompanion.com .

English Heritage: English Heritage aims to protect and promote the English historic environment. From its site, you can search the National Heritage List for England, an online database of all nationally designated heritage monuments. See www.english-heritage.org/ .

Georgian Group: The Georgian Group supports the preservation and restoration of Georgian buildings. Members can use both the Society’s reference library and its online catalogue. See www.georgiangroup.org.uk .

Heritage Gateway: This site allows you to search online across local and national records of English historic buildings. See www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway .

Historic Houses Association: This site represents 1500 privately-owned historical houses and castles throughout the UK. It includes a useful ‘Find a property’ tool, which allows you to search by type of property, name of property or location. See www.hha.org.uk/ .

Lost Heritage: This website aims to provide a comprehensive list of historical houses in Britain that have been destroyed. It includes but a list of houses at risk and a list of houses destroyed. See http://lh.matthewbeckett.com/lh_sources.html .

National Trust: This charity works to protect historic places and spaces (including houses) and plays a key role in conservation activities. There are over 300 National Trust properties in England, and the Trust cares for thousands of objects such as furnishings and fine art in its houses. Its website provides detailed information on visiting the houses and their collections. See www.nationaltrust.org.uk . The Nationa Trust has an online photo library containing interior and exterior images of their properties, which can be found at http://www.ntpl.org.uk. It also has an extensive bibliography of over 4,000 books and articles, which have been published about National Trust properties, people and collections, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-global/w-news/w-latest_news/w-news-bibliographylist.htm#using. The National Trust Treasure Hunt blog provides a further gateway into the multifaceted collections of the National Trust, see http://nttreasurehunt.wordpress.com/. Use the National Trust Collections Database to view the national inventory of collections at all National Trust places from fine art and furnishings in grand show rooms to many rarely seen items from behind closed doors, see http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/.

National Trust for Scotland: This charity works to preserve historic buildings including houses in Scotland. Its website includes a useful online finding aid of house that can be visited. See www.nts.org.uk .

SAVE Britain’s Heritage: Since 1975 this organisation has sought preserve historic buildings in Britain by to campaigning against their demolition. It publishes a catalogue of buildings at risk. See www.savebritainsheritage.org .

Scotland’s Places: Scotland’s Places allows you to search by geographical location for information across 3 major Scottish databases (the National Archives of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland). The site includes maps, photographs and material from both archives and printed records. See www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/ .

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings: The SPAB is a membership organisation dedicated to saving historic and listed buildings from destruction. Members can access an online list of buildings at risk. See www.spab.org.uk .

Yorkshire Great Houses: This resource provides online information about 37 great houses (and their interiors) in Yorkshire, dated from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Information on visiting these sites is also available from the website. See www.castleandgardens.co.uk .

 

People:

Burke’s Peerage and Gentry: This resource has information on aristocratic and historical families in the British Isles, especially genealogical information. There is an A to Z directory on the website as well as information on several stately homes. Full access to information requires a subscription. See www.burkespeerage.com .

Census Records: The Census records of England and Wales from 1841-1911 are available online from The National Archives. They can be searched for free, but charges apply for transcripts and downloads. See www.nationalarchives.gov.uk . Scottish census records can be accessed from the online ScotlandsPeople resource.

Genealogy Websites: There are many genealogy websites, most of which require membership. Examples include, for example, Ancestry.co.uk, FamilySearch.org, Genealogy.com, and OriginsNetwork.com.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: This resource requires a subscription, but is also available through many libraries and local record offices. It contains biographical information on over 55,000 persons in British history and the history of the empire, including many individuals associated with the East India Company. In addition to biographical material, the entries provide information about archival sources. See www.oxforddnb.com .

Wills and Probate Materials: Wills of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury until 12 January 1858 are available online from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk .

 

Reference Works:

Bibliography of British and Irish History: Requiring either an individual or an institutional subscription, this resource provides detailed information on books and articles published on all areas of British and British colonial history. It can be searched by author or by subject and is very comprehensive. See www.brepolis.net .

British History Online: This resource is a digital library of primary and secondary resources relating to British history. Material can be searched by place or by subject. There are excellent maps, among other resources. See www.british-history-ac.uk .

Google Books: There are many books printed in the 18th and 19th centuries that can be accessed via Google Books. See http://books.google.com/ .

Victoria County History: The VCH provides an encyclopaedic record of English places from earliest times to the present. Material can be searched by county, yielding further links to local research resources and societies. See www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/.

 

Societies and Networks of Researchers:

British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia: BACSA works to record the location of cemeteries and monuments in South Asia associated with Europeans. Its website includes information on conservation work and relevant publications. See www.bacsa.org.uk/ .

British Association for Local History: This association encourages and supports the study of local history both as an academic discipline and a leisure pursuit. Its activities include the arrangement of guided visits to places of interest to local historians. See www.balh.co.uk .

Families in British India Society (FIBIS): This society focuses on European and Anglo-Indian people 1600-1947. It hosts a free database of more than 710,000 names, including biographical material derived from sources that include cemeteries, censuses, ecclesiastical records, maritime records and military records. Members gain access to additional resources. See www.new.fibis.org/ .

Family and Colonialism Research Network: This network maintains a useful blog designed to connect researchers (both academic and public) interested in the history of the family in colonial contexts. Resources include information on conferences and workshops and on historical sources. See http://colonialfamilies.wordpress.com .

Federation of Family History Societies: This educational charity id dedicated to supporting family history societies and genealogical organisations. It includes 160 membership organisations in England, Ireland and Wales. (For Scottish societies, see below for the Scottish Association of Family History Societies). The FFHS’s directory provides useful information about locating and contacting local societies. See www.ffhs.org.uk .

Georgian Group: The Georgian Group supports the preservation and restoration of Georgian buildings. Members can use both the Society’s reference library and its online catalogue. See www.georgiangroup.org.uk .

Guild of One-Name Studies: The Guild is a charitable organisation dedicated to promoting public understanding of one-name studies and the preservation and accessibility of the resultant information. A one-name study is a project researching facts about a surname and all the people who have held it, as opposed to a particular pedigree (the ancestors of one person) or descendancy (the descendants of one person or couple). See www.one-name.org/.

Historic Houses Association: This site represents 1500 privately-owned historical houses and castles throughout the UK. It includes a useful ‘Find a property’ tool, which allows you to search by type of property, name of property or location. See www.hha.org.uk/ .

National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies: This charitable organisation provides links to over 300 societies with 90,000 members engaged with arts-based education. The website includes information on lectures and volunteering opportunities. See www.nadfas.org.uk/ .

Scottish Association of Family History Societies: This association promotes and encourages the study of Scottish family history and provides a forum for the exchange of information among members. See www.safhs.org.uk .

Victorian Society: This society champions Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales. The case files for its activities from 1958-2005 are held by the London Metropolitan Archives. Regional groups include Birmingham & West Midlands. See www.victoriansociety.org.uk/ .

 

Acknowledgements

The first version of this list of online resources was primarily compiled by Margot Finn.

The second version was enhanced by suggestions from East India Company at Home project associates Penny Brook (of the British Library) and Emile de Bruijn (of the National Trust) (21.11.11).

The third version was enhanced by suggestions from Margot Finn and Kate Smith (13.01.11).