Archive Jigsaws

Welcome to our free series of online jigsaws, featuring the beautiful and bizarre records in our collection.

Archive Jigsaws is a fun way of piecing together our history. Each week, we reveal a new jigsaw on Twitter, Facebook and email, along with the story behind the record. Follow us or subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest jigsaws.

Different ways to play

Our jigsaws are just for fun, but the competitive person may enjoy racing themselves or others by the clock. To do this, swap your finishing time with your opponent in some friendly rivalry.

To keep things social, you can now invite friends to complete the puzzle together using the multiplayer mode.

Finally, if you really want a challenge, edit the number of jigsaw pieces available or make the pieces rotatable. Standard number of pieces: approx. 100


Share your jigsaw victories or tell us more about one of the records on social media with #ArchiveJigsaw.


October 2020

  1. Unique dart board
    Different regions have their own traditional styles of dart boards, but we can’t find one that looks like this. It has no inner ring for triple scores, and only a single bullseye ring – something only a darts historians might be able to explain!
  2.  1899 lithograph 
    This 1899 lithograph, depicting what is thought to be the first film to be shown to a paying audience, is of a film called Young Griffo vs Battling Charles Barnett. It featured a fight on the roof of Madison Square Gardens.
  3. King Edward VII
    This poster for a firework display marking King Edward VII’s coronation comes from Pain & Sons, a firework company that traces its roots back to the gunpowder plot and still creates professional pyrotechnic displays today.
  4. Belongings of Mary Smith
    We know very little about Mary Smith, other than that she once lived at Christ’s Hospital in London and is described in our records, in language of the time, as a ‘lunatic’. This jigsaw features items belonging to Mary, who died in 1810.
  5. Football jerseys
    Unpuzzle a squad of football jerseys from Stockport manufacturer Bukta. The company was established by Edward R Buck and sons in 1879, when they began by making shorts for soldiers in the Boer war.
  6. Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria
    This Diamond Jubilee address gifted to Queen Victoria in 1897 was signed by Millicent Garrett Fawcett, on behalf of the Combined Committee of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage.
  7. Sheffield head Post Office
    A 1907 plan of Sheffield Head Post Office, which opened in 1909 with a main post room lined with marble and featuring a mosaic floor. It closed in 1999 and lay empty until it was taken over in 2016.
  8. Sporting Star advert
    Features a 1903 advertisement for the Sporting Star which is acclaimed as the leading sporting paper of the Midlands. We couldn’t find out anything about the paper – perhaps you can tell us what happened to it? Use #ArchiveJigsaw on social media to share your thoughts.
  9. Post Office painting
    A 1955 painting of the Post Office in Aberath Cardiganshire, Wales, by artist Kenneth George Chapman. Born in 1908 in London, he visited the Rhondda Valley in Wales in 1953 and fell in love with the landscape and people.
  10. George II portrait 
    The portrait of George II was granted to the Commissioners for the Victualling of the Navy – the body responsible for keeping the Navy supplied with food and drink. A sailor’s work was demanding, so plentiful food was important.


September 2020

  1. Harvest scene
    A beautiful harvest scene that belies the sweat and toil of a pre-mechanised agricultural Britain. This image is from a collection of hundreds of posters from the National Savings Bank.
  2. Walter Crane illustration: ‘Steps to reading’
    Requested in response to our blog about Walter Crane, this is one of the illustrations Crane did for Nellie Dale’s ‘Steps to Reading’, books which were registered for copyright protection by the publisher J M Dent in 1899.
  3. Battle of Britain pilots
    The UK recognises Battle of Britain as taking place between 10 July – 31 October 1940. However, since the battle raged on for months in our skies, it is marked on 15 September by Battle of Britain Day. This jigsaw was created to mark the 80th anniversary since the Battle of Britain. Learn more in this special podcast episode, with the RAF and RAF Museum.
  4. Exercise for Health poster
    In this 1930s Health Education poster, the message is conveyed through simple graphic style. It’s interesting that 85 years on exercise, sleep and water are still key elements of the public health message.
  5. Rudge-Whitworth Cycles poster
    A 1900 poster advertising bike manufacturers Rudge-Whitworth. The founder’s son designed a detachable wheel for cars. Before, punctured tyres were changed with the wheel attached so this development was enthusiastically received.