The National Archives will make its debut in the Open House London event this month to celebrate its 40th birthday at the Kew site.

One of the few examples of brutalist architecture left in the area, The National Archives, on Bessant Drive, will open its doors to give the public a behind-the-scenes-tour on September 16. 

Special repository tours will run throughout the day explaining how the building’s volunteers preserve and conserve the nation’s historical documents for future generations and there will be a variety of specialist talks about the 40-year-old building and its opening in 1977.

Paul Davies, The National Archives’ operations director said: “The National Archives is open five days a week and anyone can get a reader’s ticket which enables them to order and look at documents. However, Open House gives us the opportunity to welcome people who may not have considered visiting us before to see what we do and understand the role we play.

"Come along to our Kew site and get a glimpse behind the scenes of our operation and join the range of exciting events we’re running on the day”.

Visitors will also get to see the one of the site’s more unusual items in the collection - a mummified rat which Henry Cole used in the 1830s as evidence to pioneer reform of what became known as the Public Record Office - now The National Archives.

Treasure trails, document displays, a Keeper's gallery exhibition, crack the code game, and film screenings are just some of the ways visitors will discover that the history of The National Archives and its predecessor, the Public Record Office can be charted.

Records relating to the construction of the new Public Record Office building at Kew, plans of the surrounding site and the local reaction to the proposal will be on display with specialists available to explain their significance.

The National Archives is just one of the city’s most iconic landmarks taking part in the London event which allows the public to visit over 25 historical buildings for free and explore what they have to offer.