In 1974 a small group within the advertising industry decided that its heritage needed to be preserved and that the study of UK advertising should be encouraged and subsidised. As a result, The History of Advertising Trust was founded in 1976 and registered as a charity in 1978 (no. 276194).

During the past four decades HAT’s remit has spread to embrace all forms of brand communications including retail marketing, traditional and new media, direct marketing and public relations. Due to the vision and foresight of HAT’s founders and Trustees, as well as the continued financial support from industry bodies and individuals over the years, HAT’s unique resources have been continually updated to meet the research needs and new technologies of the 21st century.

HAT has grown impressively since its early days at temporary premises in London, courtesy of The Advertising Association. From there it moved to Butler's Wharf, London for a number of years and first came to Raveningham, Norfolk in 1992. The steady growth of the archive collections since then has seen a parallel growth in the size of our premises. Following the commissioning of two more archive rooms in 2016 we now have over 8000 square feet of dedicated space, embracing high density mobile shelving for more efficient storage. The Michael Cudlipp Research and Study Centre is named after our previous Chief Executive, Michael Cudlipp (1992-2004).

HAT's mission is to promote learning and creative excellence by preserving and celebrating the advertising heritage of the UK. This includes cataloguing and preservation work to the highest possible standard that enables access to all for study and research. HAT also offers a developing portfolio of on-line image galleries for the benefit and enjoyment of researchers and the public.

Archive to the industry

Most of the materials at HAT have been deposited by clients into our care. These are complemented by rescued and donated archives in the permanent collection.

HAT is archivist to many of the major governing organisations of UK brand communications. These include The Advertising Association, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, The Direct Marketing Association, Periodical Publishers Association and The Institute of Public Relations. Our archive clients include Butlins (Bourne Leisure), Kraft Heinz Ltd (now including HP Foods Ltd), Hovis (RHM Group Ltd) and Vimto (Nichols plc).

We also hold the archives of the many of the top 30 agencies including Ogilvy & Mather and JWT, as well as dozens of agencies that no longer trade such as Bates UK/Dorland and Collett Dickenson Pearce. In addition, the surging expansion of the advertising industry in the UK during the 1920s led to the setting up of many advertising clubs and associations to represent the interests of their members. Their archives are well represented at HAT and include The Creative Circle, National Advertising Benefit Society (NABS), Women in Advertising and Communications, London (WACL), The Publicity Club of London, The Regent Club, The Solus Club and The Thirty Club.

If you would like to find out more about placing your archive with HAT please click here.


To promote learning and creative excellence by preserving and celebrating the advertising heritage of the UK


HAT aims to promote understanding of advertising history by achieving the provision of a self-funded, nationally recognised, fully integrated archive business service that offers a unique and complementary digital and professional archive service.


Excellence - We put our clients first and expect and support excellent service. We always do what we say we will do and take personal responsibility for delivering excellent standards.

Access - Archives are for learning. We develop greater access to the archives to inspire creativity and innovation in learning

Integrity – We act with openness, professionalism and trust

Passion – We approach each day with energy and determination

Team work – We work urgently towards our strategic goals through dialogue and cooperation, recognising that we can achieve more when we work together