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Westminster Hall Exhibition

Documents on this site and much more featured in an exhibition at Westminster Hall that is now closed.

About the Archives

Behind the scenes look at the Parliamentary Archives.

Parliamentary Archives


There is so much material on this website, it's hard to know what to look at first. This page is all about exploring the archives in different ways. You can see all of the documents together as well as all of the pictures. We've asked key people involved in the project to choose items they don't want you to miss too.

If you're looking for something in particular, please use the search button.

Archivist's choice

David Prior, archivist in the Parliamentary Archives, selects items from the collection that hold strong meaning for him.

Detail of a satirical political cartoon.

Dramatisations and Letters

Listen to scenes evoking the slavery debate around 1800, and extracts from letters by Olaudah Equiano.

Extract of a printed document.

Historian's choice

Dr James Walvin, leading expert on the slave trade, explains why certain material stands out for him.

A drawing of a man's head in profile, looking to the left.

Explore Poetry

Listen to emotive poems by enslaved Africans and abolition supporters.

Photo of a conch shell.

Clarkson's Evidence

Discover more about the man who travelled thousands of miles in order to promote the cause of abolition.

Close-up photo of wooden chest with several lidded compartments, some of which are open showing glimpses of seeds, pebbles and other natural materials.

Commemorative Quilt 2007

Visitors to Parliament designed a series of quilt squares. See a selection and find out more here.

Detail of an illustrated piece of fabric.

Writer's choice

Poet and playwright Rommi Smith has chosen her favourite objects from the exhibition and the website.

Extract from petition showing several signatures.

Explore our Documents

Petitions, Bills, Acts, debates, evidence and more. You'll find all our written material here.

Detail of a certificate.

Explore our Pictures

Paintings, illustrations and political cartoons. All of the site's pictures in one place for you to browse.

Detail of drawing of man's face.

Explore our Objects

From a single copper token to a box of African artefacts, these objects all connect to Parliament and have stories to tell.

A wooden model of a ship.