The United Kingdom has had twenty items inscribed in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, and the list is a fascinating one. It highlights not only some key parts of our history, but also the amazing range of archives and collections we have.
My favourites include a joint entry by the Women's Library and the Parliamentary Archives, a selection of holdings relating to the women's suffrage movement. In just eight documents, the fight for votes for women is encapsulated; it begins with an 1866 petition, passes through a protest in parliament itself (the banner unfurled by protestors is preserved) and the Cat and Mouse Act which saw hunger-striking prisoners released and reimprisoned, and ends with the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928. If you thought women got the vote in 1918, you're half-right: women over thirty did, but we had to wait another decade for women to have the vote on the same terms as men.
Also on the list, the diaries of Anne Lister are one of the most amazing nineteenth-century sources. A Yorkshire landowner, she recorded her travels, business dealings, politics and (in code) her lesbian relationships. Selections from the diary have been published and televised, but the original is held by West Yorkshire Archive Service.
Do have a look at the full list: what are your favourites?
Image (c) The Women's Library