The 1920s: Beyond the Roar

‘The 1920s: Beyond the Roar’ is The National Archives’ latest exhibition, which closed on 11 June 2022. With the 1921 Census of England and Wales as its keystone, the exhibition will recreate the fascinating world of the 1920s through the lens of our vast and diverse collection.

A large crowd scene from 1920s London. Huge crowds of the general public greet soldiers returning from the war.The exhibition featured key moments, people and ideas from the decade, providing a sense of the period as a time of change, crisis and defiance.

A black and white photograph from the 1920s in which we see architects at work as a construction takes shape.Drawing on records as diverse as international peace treaties, textile samples and lonely hearts adverts, the exhibition took visitors beyond the popular image of the ‘roaring twenties’, discovering how people from all sections of society experienced the decade.

The exhibition featured a split into two main areas. Visitors first experienced a daytime urban street, including a polling station, post office and draper’s shop, before moving into a recreation of the famed 43 Club in Soho. Both areas featured key original documents from our collections alongside audio, film, graphics and interactive elements to help bring the 1920s to life.

Free exhibition: 21 January – 11 June 2022

Our exhibition, ‘The 1920s: Beyond the Roar’ is now closed, but you can still experience life in 1920s Britain by watching our curators’ highlights tour: The 1920s: Beyond the Roar: Exhibition Tour