The collections page of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This is a beautifully laid out, easy to use, image-driven search tool that opens up this vast museum to you, all free and online. Every museum’s website should be like this.
The Antique Pattern Library is a free, online project that lets you download crisp PDFs of out-of-copyright pattern books. Everything is covered – crochet, knitting, tatting, netting, embroidery, needle lace, beading and other needlework patterns.
The National Archives of Ireland have a brilliant website in general. They now have the entire (almost) census results for both 1901 and 1911 up online, free and searchable by you. You get not only results, but images of the forms, so if you wanted to look at your great-great-grandfather’s handwriting, this is probably the way to do it.
The American Library of Congress has put much of their huge and beautiful collection of manuscripts, drawings, and photos online. Go here, select ‘photo’ (or whatever you want) and stick ‘Irish’ in the search-box to access some fabulous historical images that travelled with the emigrants.
The Bata Shoe Museum is in Canada but they have a fantastic online presence with lots of great photographs of historical footwear.
The Lewis Walpole Library is full of eighteenth century political cartoons, some of them mocking the fashions of the time. Great resolution too.
Primary Source Nexus is a historical teaching resource that is chockful of everything you could wish for, frankly.
Karen Larsdatter’s website is a great source for images of medieval, Renaissance, and 18th century clothing and material culture.
Old & Interesting is a site dedicated to the history of housekeeping, and is a repository images of domestic chattels. A marvellous place to spend time in.
Old and Sold – an collection of online articles aimed at helping you evaluate antiques.