20sStreets local history competition

Illustration of generic 1920s street by Charlotte Trounce.

Illustration by Charlotte Trounce

Do you know of a fascinating local history story, or fancy having a go at unearthing one? The National Archives and the British Association for Local History invite you to enter our local history competition, where we’re looking for local history stories that capture the imagination and show what local history is all about.

Whether you’d like to apply as an individual or as part of a group, we’d love to hear what you’ve got. The story must have a link to the 1920s and relate to the areas covered by the 1921 Census of England & Wales (England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), but the rest is up to you. The story doesn’t have to be on your doorstep, or relevant to you – if it’s a tale worth telling, we want to hear it!

You could even win a year’s premium Findmypast subscription, with unlimited access to the 1921 Census, or a bespoke tour of The National Archives for you and your group – so what are you waiting for?

What makes a story fascinating?

Simply put, do you have a story about a place or locality that grabs your attention? Do you want to keep reading to find out the outcome? Do you think people will react with amazement to your tale? If any one or all of these is a ‘yes’, it sounds like you’ve got a fascinating story!

Who decides which story is best?

A panel of local history experts from The National Archives, the British Association for Local History and external historians will score entries based on agreed criteria.

The criteria for judging is as follows:

  • Good evidence of a range of sources being used
  • Quality of exposition
  • An engaging story that can be easily shared with audiences
  • A link to the 1920s

What can I / we win?

There are different prizes, depending on whether you enter as an individual or a group.

Individual competition prizes:

  • Winners – 5x 1 year Premium subscriptions to family history website, Findmypast, including unlimited access to the 1921 Census.
  • Runners up – 10x goodie bags to include a British Association for Local History publication and The National Archives census merchandise.

Group competition prizes:

  • Winner – 1x expenses-paid tailored afternoon at The National Archives  for up to 10 people, including a Behind-the-Scenes tour and for which the staff will curate a selection of original documents from the collection about your local area and share sources for local history, plus a goodie bag for each person to take away (expenses paid up to a reasonable agreed cost).
  • Runners up – 2x tailored online talk for the group about sources relating to their local area by The National Archives/British Association for Local History experts.

The National Archives and the British Association for Local History reserve the right to modify and update the prizes at any time.

How do I enter?

To get started, click the ‘enter our competition’ button below. There will be a short form to complete, and a field to add your story. Please note, stories should be between 500 and 1500 words. Remember to include how the story, the area, or the people have a connection to the 1920s. For example, your story might be based entirely in one place in the 1920s, or your story might cover different periods and places through time, with one being the 1920s. You are welcome to add accompanying photos or web links to your entry.

Enter our competition

The closing date for entries is 23:55 on Tuesday 31 January 2023, with winners and runners-up announced in May 2023.

See here for full terms and conditions: 20sStreets competition terms and conditions