COVID-19 Collection

Kingston History Centre invites you to share your experiences of living during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is changing the way we live, not only in Kingston but around the world. Through these challenges communities have rallied to offer mutual support, and we are all adapting as best we can. At Kingston History Centre, we have a mission to record both the highs and the lows of the borough’s history so that our experiences can form a collective memory to be kept for future generations. 

We are asking residents to share their recorded experiences of the pandemic within the borough, and to donate them to the History Centre. Your personal record could be a diary or journal, photographs that demonstrate the impact of the lockdown, video journals or clips, or creative responses in the form of music, art or writing. All we ask is that they are true to your personal experience at the time. Hopefully this may also offer some space for reflection about these difficult times.  We are keen to hear from people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities so that our collection reflects the diversity of the borough.  

We are also interested in photos, flyers or other material from Kingston businesses, charities and other organisations. Perhaps your business premises, shop or restaurant has undergone a redesign that includes barriers, one-way systems, sanitiser stations, distanced seating or a new takeaway or online service? Notices to the public such as signs, letters, reopen vouchers or postcards may also reflect the impact of Covid-19 on your organisation. 

This material can be in physical or digital form. Perhaps you recorded birdsong early one morning or the sound of your street during a #clapforcarers, or photographed your weekly shopping queue or made a video of a lockdown wedding. Do you have patterns from sewing masks or scrubs? Do you have a T-shirt with a charity’s name, worn when volunteering to help the community? Did you take part in mindful activities like making a daily drawing that represents your day or feelings, or writing a sentence a day journal? Could you write stories about starting a new hobby, adopting a pet, or swapping books with a neighbour you never met during this period? 

Why are we asking you to do this?

You are an important part of Kingston’s heritage so we want to make sure that your voice is heard in the archives. It is important that generations to come can understand and learn from this challenging time, and use this information to inform decisions in the future. We also feel that the act of documenting mindful, creative experiences can have huge benefits to the wellbeing of the individual as well as the community.

What material do we accept?

We are accepting digital and physical material. If you have digital items you would like to donate, please complete the COVID-19 Collecting form. If you experience any issues attaching your donations to the form, please complete the form and then email your donations to

How will my information be used?

Many different types of researchers use our collections. We support local historians, genealogists, local communities and businesses, students, schoolchildren, Royal Borough of Kingston staff, artists, actors, architects, and many others. Your donations will be catalogued, preserved, and stored in appropriate conditions so that they can be used by these researchers.

Your personal data is protected under the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act (2018). We can archive material containing personal data in the public interest. Please see guidance from The National Archives about exceptions that apply to archive material. If, for any reason you would prefer not to share your donation right away, we may be able to arrange a closure period for you.