UCL Library Special Collections is one of the foremost university collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books in the UK.
A Limited Re-Opening
Please go to our Visiting Us page for up to date information concerning our limited re-opening of reading rooms.
Please see information relating to UCL's response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Information relating to wider library closures at UCL can also be found.
Our staff are now all working from home, but we will endeavour to answer your emails as usual. Where possible, we will be working to support your research and teaching online, and making our schools and outreach programme available virtually.
Our Digital Collections and our catalogues remain online and available for your use. We’ve also created a Primary Sources reading list of digitised books, manuscripts and archives available from other institutions.
Please contact us with any enquiries.
- You can search for rare books and other printed material on Explore.
- Archives and manuscripts are found on the Archives Catalogue.
- Search for digitised and digital content on Digital Collections.
For more information on how to find material held by UCL Special Collections, learn about Our Collections.
News from our blog
January is always a good time to reflect on our achievements and look forward to our upcoming plans and projects. Read on to discover some of the Outreach team’s highlights from last year’s Special Collection’s schools programmes – and what to expect from them next…
Teacher CPD with First Story
Twelve copies of The Drummer from the Alternative Press Collection. Founded in the 1967 and originally called Distant Drummer, the newspaper reported on Philadelphia’s radical/hippie community and served as a forum for commentary on local and national politics as well as the city’s music and arts scene. From 1971 until its demise in 1979, it was known simply as The Drummer.
Eleven pipers piping: a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses depicts Mercury lulling Argus to sleep with his enchanted reed pipe.
We can go one better than the traditional ‘ten Lords’ and offer you ‘one royal’…
We’re not going to lie to you, this one is a bit tenuous. But we couldn’t resist the opportunity to share one of our most successful outreach projects to date.
Nine ladies dancing: Let’s dance! A party in the margin livening up this 1534 edition of Polydore Vergil’s History of England.
Eight maids a-milking: image taken from Commentarii, in libros sex Pedacii Diocordes Anazarbei, de medica meteria, which in turn features in Treasures From UCL (2015).
Seven swans a-swimming: well just about, with the assistance of ultra-high-tech imaging trickery. Eleazar Albin’s A Natural History of Birds appearing once again.
Six geese a-laying: bean, white-fronted, Egyptian, barnacle, brant, red-breasted (with some of their eggs to tie things together), all courtesy of 19-century ornithologist, Francis Orpen Morris.