On Wednesday, April 1, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attended the launch of the George III Project at Windsor Castle.
This special project is a:
“…collaboration between King’s College London and the Royal Archives will make the complete collection of King George III’s papers available online. It will commence in the coming weeks and will result in the digitization of historic documents from the Royal Archives, making them widely available for the first time.
The project will include the digitization of all the historic manuscripts from the Georgian period, totaling more than 350,000 pages, of which only about 15% have previously been published. While the vast majority of the collection comprises papers from George III, papers from Kings George I, George II, George IV and William IV will also be made available.
It is hoped that the work will transform the understanding of Georgian Britain and its monarchy, at a time of profound cultural, political, economic and social change which created the modern nation.
Professor Edward Byrne, President and Principal of King’s College London, said: ‘King’s was founded by King George IV – George III’s eldest son and successor – and with Her Majesty The Queen as our present day Patron, we are delighted and honoured to have been approached by the Royal Household to work on this prestigious project and to continue our long history of association with the Crown. This joint project, to open up over a century of Royal Archives, provides an unprecedented scale of opportunity to discover more about the Georgians.’
King’s has an historic association with the Georgian Archives. The bulk of a collection of scientific instruments accumulated by King George III and others was donated by Queen Victoria to King’s in 1841 for public display and use in scientific demonstrations and experiments. The university converted one of its libraries into a museum for the purpose of exhibiting these and the George III Museum in the King’s Building at the Strand was opened on 22 June 1843 by Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, Prince Consort.
The university’s Departments of Digital Humanities, War Studies and History and the Centre for Enlightenment Studies will all bring expertise to the digitizing and exploration of the archives.
The project is part of a wider program of work by the Royal Archives to open up access to its primary source material, following the success of the digitization of Queen Victoria’s journals in 2012. The intention is to create a rich internet resource which will be open to academics and the public alike, which will present the documents and allow them to be searched and analysed in creative and flexible ways.
The Georgian Papers Programme is expected to transform historical research and understanding of Britain and its monarchy and a crucial period in British and world history. It will be of particular value to universities, schools, academics and authors in the UK, the Commonwealth and overseas.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images/WPA Pool