NPG - National Portrait Gallery Warding and security staff records

Scope and Content

The following materials can be found in the Warding and security staff records:
- correspondence and reports relating to policing of the Gallery
- correspondence relating to possible attacks on artworks from suffragettes
- reports on historical internal staff misconduct
- circulars and correspondence relating to medals
- attendant staff lists
- staff uniform samples and orders
- duty reports
- training booklets.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Portrait Gallery has employed warding and security staff since it opened to the public in 1859. Their main role was to protect the portraits and building from possible damage by members of the public. They also moved, hung and cleaned portraits, gave out free guides to the collection, sold catalogues, and ran a cloakroom. The Gallery was initially free of charge on some days, and had an entrance fee on others, so warding staff handled the entrance fees as well.

From 1859 until 1895 security was provided at the Gallery by members of the metropolitan police, and until the 1970s Gallery warding and security staff were mainly ex-policemen and ex-military. Women were not employed as warding and security staff until 1973.

Access Information

Available to view by appointment in the Heinz Archive and Library Public Study Room, to make an appointment contact Archive Reception . Although records are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data or information supplied to the Gallery in confidence, may be restricted.

Other Finding Aids

The complete catalogue for this archive can be searched via the NPG Archive Catalogue .

Conditions Governing Use

Personal photography is permitted for research purposes only. Photocopying is not permitted.

Related Material

See also Personnel records (NPG81).