Archives for London and Poet in the City[8] recieved support from Arts Council England[9] to engage new audiences for poetry, archives and local history. By exploring the rich creative resources of archives, and the imaginative possibilities of poetry, the Through the Door project transformed public engagement with both.

Seven leading UK poets were commissioned to write new poems inspired by stories and documents from within seven London archives:

  • The British Library Archive[1] – Sir Andrew Motion
  • St Paul’s Cathedral Archive[3] – Imtiaz Dharker
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of England Museums and Archives[4] – Mario Petrucci
  • Imperial College Archive[5] – Jo Shapcott
  • The Library and Museum of Freemasonry[2]– David Harsent
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives[7] – Fiona Sampson
  • London Borough of Hackney Archives Department [6]– Simon Jenner

Subjects as diverse as St Pauls Cathedral’s Blitz damage and the diary of a grave digger at the Royal College of Surgeons, have led to a wealth of new poetry and the re-discovery of some amazing archive materials.

The project was celebrated with events for schools and adult audiences throughout 2014, a publication of the new work. Through the Door’s engagement legacy continues with its online resource[10] that shows how archives can spark bold and inventive creative writing.