The International Memory of the World (MoW) Register is a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance and outstanding universal value. The UK currently has 14 inscriptions on the International Register.
Year of Inscription: 2013
The original drawings and notes of Arthur Bernard Deacon, during his visit to Malekula and the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) in 1926 recording the language, customs and traditional tales of the people he studied, and illustrating the famous sand drawing tradition for which the islands are still renowned. The material he collected from the individuals he interviewed is of great value to the people of the islands of Vanuatu eager to retain knowledge of their heritage, and his recording is detailed and unique. Deacon’s portrayal of a culture without an extensive written history is of importance to all of us and brings to light the work of one of the most promising anthropologists of the last century.
Joint inscription with Vananuatu.
Year of Inscription: 2011
The DWIC archives are primary resources for researching the history of the European expansion into West Africa and America. The records concern various themes such as commerce and slave trade, warfare, early modern diplomacy, plantation cultures and daily life issues. Moreover the DWIC archives contain information on the history of the regions where the DWIC founded colonies and trading posts. In many instances there is no other written information available for that period.
Joint inscription with Netherlands, Brazil, Ghana, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles, Suriname and USA.
Year of inscription: 2007
The Hereford Mappa Mundi is the only complete example of a large medieval world map intended for public display. It is very different to our modern understanding of a world map as it shows not only locations of places and geographic features but also acts as a visual encyclopaedia with historical, anthropological, ethnographical, biblical, classical and theological information. The map is pivotal in our understanding of medieval cartography and sense of place and still has relevance to all peoples in helping them to understand their sense of humanity and self.
Year of inscription: 2011
The Historic Ethnographic Recordings collection contains field recordings of orally transmitted cultures made throughout the world by linguists and musicologists. Some of these recordings represent the earliest extant sources for research into those cultures, and have captured in the most vivid format available at the time, unmediated by foreign textual interpretation, a linguistic and cultural diversity in a precious moment on the cusp of today’s ‘global village’. Not only were these recordings among the first of such to be made but also they may be the last: many of the languages and musical practices that feature in this collection are endangered or no longer exist.
Year of Inscription: 2009
Magna Carta is one of the most celebrated documents in English history. It is often claimed to be the cornerstone of English liberty, law and democracy, and its legacy has been its enduring worldwide influence. The critical importance of the charter is that it imposed for the first time detailed written constraints on royal authority in the fields of taxation, feudal rights and justice, and it reasserted the power of customary practice to limit unjust and arbitrary behaviour by the king. It has become an icon for freedom and democracy throughout the world.
This collection consists of a mixture of Georgian, oriental and European cultural traditions created during major political, socio-economic and cultural changes throughout the Caucasian and Middle East regions. It provides unique information about the lifestyle, traditions and characterizations of different social groups in the Middle Ages from the royal family to merchants and peasants. It can also be characterized as the peak of development of neo-Platonic thinking and a hymn of human nature, friendship, love, equality and struggle for freedom.
Joint inscription with Georgia.
Year of inscription: 2013
The Institution of Civil Engineers is the world’s oldest professional engineering body. Its global membership has transformed the world since 1818. The membership application certificates provide a unique biographical record of engineers which chronicles their role in shaping civilization, providing a socio-economic insight into their backgrounds. Certificates record personal contributions to what has become known as the Industrial Revolution and the infrastructure of the modern world.
Enslaved Africans made up the great majority of transatlantic migrants who were forcibly removed to the Americas from Columbus’ first voyages in the fifteenth century until the nineteenth century. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade, originating in Africa and ending in the Caribbean and the Americas, remains a sensitive subject for several reasons, including issues of race, morality, ethics, identity, underdevelopment and reparations.
Joint inscription with Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Jamaica, St Kitts and Trinidad and Tobago.
The documentary heritage concerning West Indians and their experience in and contribution to the Panama Canal represents one of the most significant movements of voluntary migration to emerge during the post emancipation period after 1838. These records document the movement of over one hundred thousand people to the Isthmus of Panama, the majority of whom never returned.
Joint inscription with Barbados, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia and USA.
The Appeal of 18 June is one of the most remarkable pieces in the history of radio broadcasting. Radio was no longer just a means of entertainment or propaganda available to the powers that be; it also now provided the technical means to enable an isolated individual to launch a huge resistance movement from outside his own country, to urge his fellow citizens to oppose foreign rule and subservience and to fight for the restoration of freedoms. The power and universality of this medium require no further proof.
Joint inscription between the UK and France.
Year of inscription: 2005
The 1916 film The Battle of the Somme is uniquely significant both as the compelling documentary record of one of the key battles of the First World War and as the first feature-length documentary film record of combat produced anywhere in the world. In the latter role, the film played a major part in establishing the methodology of documentary and propaganda film, and initiated debate on a number of issues relating to the ethical treatment of “factual” film which continue to be relevant to this day. Seen by many millions of British civilians within the first month of distribution, The Battle of the Somme was recognized at the time as a phenomenon that allowed the civilian home-front audience to share the experiences of the front-line soldier, thus helping both to create and to reflect the concept of Total War.
Year of inscription: 2015
The collection is the personal archive of Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), soldier, writer, politician, orator and statesman, and perhaps the most famous British public and political figure of the modern era. The archive was assembled by Sir Winston during his long life and career and comprises his personal, public, political and literary correspondence and papers, including his drafts and annotated notes for his celebrated speeches and broadcasts. The material consists of some one million items stored in two and a half thousand archival boxes. It is pre-eminent not just for its quantity but also for its quality, including correspondence with leading political, literary and social figures of the age, and papers about major events from the Boer War to the Cold War. It provides a window on the twentieth century from the perspective of a man who helped to shape it, and includes the originals for many of his enduring words and phrases.
Year of Inscription: 2015
The letter is an effusive trade proposal from King Alaungphaya to the British, written on a sheet of gold adorned with 24 rubies – the sole surviving golden letter from this region. Aluangphaya confirms his permission to build a harbour in Pathein, which would encourage trade between the two nations. At the time Burmese royal power was threatened by foreign invaders and King Alaungphaya hoped to procure guns and cannon through fostering close trade relations with Britain. As war raged, the letter was taken to Madras, India, and then forwarded to London before being handed to King George II who sent it to the royal library in Hanover, where it was lodged in March 1758, and no official reply was ever made.
Joint inscription with Myanmar and Germany.
The First World War shaped the world throughout the 20th century, and profoundly affected the combatant nations in an unprecedented way. Field Marshal Douglas Haig commanded the largest British Army ever assembled. His diary provides insight into how and why decisions were made, and of the interplay between Haig and other Allied generals. As undoubtedly the most detailed and extensive account kept by any senior commander during the war, the diary is unique. Written in these circumstances, it offers an immediacy that few documentary sources can in the day-to-day record of this cataclysm.