“Who do You Think You Are? This is the theme of the recently refurbished National Archives and where thousands of family historians and other researchers study. You are welcome to walk up to the first and second floors to join hundreds of people staring at computer screens and pouring over large maps and documents. Their tones are hushed and the lighting slightly dimmed.
On the ground floor, the mood is more boisterous in the café, cybercafé (free internet) and bookshop.
The museum centerpiece is a Domesday Book original, which recorded all of William the Conqueror’s English holdings in 1086. But I enjoyed getting the scoop on British spies using personnel files kept secret until the 2000 Freedom of Information Act forced them into public domain.
As you first enter the museum, you are faced with the story of Pearl Cornioley, who parachuted into Nazi-occupied France and eventully rose to command 3,000 underground fighters. When recommended for a military MBE, she instead was offered the civil version because she was a woman. Pearl declined, citing she had done nothing remotely "civil."
This photo (from the website) of the Archives, shows no exterior changes since the facilities were built in 1977.