Search PHM's collection

From the Levellers to the suffragettes, from Peterloo to Brexit, PHM’s collection spans four centuries of the history of working people and the development of democracy in Britain.

Delve into PHM’s collection online and search for key objects, special collections, or themes.

These pages allow you to access a wide range of material, combining digitised images with explanatory text.

  • Use the ‘Keyword search’ field to search both the object and archive collections
  • Use the ‘Object collection title’ field to choose from the drop down list of collections to search
  • Use the ‘Archive collection title’ field to limit your search to a specific collection

FAQs to help with your search:

What is the difference between the object collection and archive collection?

The object collection is made up of two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) items. These include objects owned by political figures, placards from protests and strikes, posters, artworks, banners, and much more.

The archive collection consists of documents that were created or used by individuals or organisations that provide evidence of their activities. Often these are textual materials, such as correspondence, reports or minutes of meetings, but they can also be photographs, plans, maps and similar items.

Why is the numbering system different for objects and archives?

Museums and archives have different ways of giving collections numbers:

Museum objects are given a unique number so we can keep track of them and all of the information relating to them. The number features the year that the object was documented, followed by a sequential number starting at one and continuing until the next year. Lots of museums use very similar numbering systems, so we start ours with NMLH (standing for National Museum of Labour History, PHM’s original name). Sometimes there are multiple numbers following the year, usually when an object has come in as part of a large collection, such as the Cliff Rowe collection. These numbers are the easiest way for us to find specific objects that you are looking for.

Archive collections are given an appropriate reference (e.g. LP for Labour Party), and within the collection each item will have the given letters and a unique number, and this number also reflects the relationship between the different parts of the collection. For example, LP/ID/INT/2/3 is the unique reference for a ‘Memorandum on the Charter for the Rights of Nations’, but it also shows that this is part of the International Department. When contacting us to book a research visit or ask a question, it’s useful if you quote the reference numbers of material you are interested in.

What collections/items are commonly searched for?


  • Labour Party poster collection – number NMLH.1995.39
  • General poster collection – search ‘poster’ in ‘Keyword search’ field
  • Banners – these all have different numbers, but the easiest way to search is by trying ‘nmlh banner’ in the ‘Keyword search’ field


  • Labour Party Archive – reference code: LP
  • Communist Party of Great Britain – reference code: CP
  • Chile Solidarity Campaign – reference code: CSC
  • Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – reference code: LGSM

Are there any copyright conditions?

The images and text published within this collections database are for private use only and not for copying, reproduction or publication. This collections database includes low resolution images only. The copyright for these digital images is People's History Museum. Copyright of the original artwork, photograph or product may be held by the artist, maker, photographer or agent. By choosing to view the collections via this database you have accepted these conditions.

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