Everyone can access UCL Special Collections digitally or in person. Our collections of rare, unique and historic archives & books cover themes including history of UCL, education, arts and sciences.
- 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 and video tutorials on how to use these resources to find material held by UCL Special Collections, learn about Our Collections.
News from our blog
We have been fortunate to host two students on a 50 hour placement from the IOE’s BA in Education Studies, and as their time comes to a close with us, they have written a blog to share their experiences. Both students spent time learning about the Special Collections department before immersing themselves in the delivery of an Outreach project at UCL Academy – an after school club called Illustrate! which explores the use of illustration in our collection of rare books, archives and manuscripts.
For most of recent history, access to the means to read, write, publish and collect texts was restricted to society’s most privileged. Most of the 150,000 rare books that are looked after by UCL Special Collections were donated over the past two centuries by members of the same privileged group. Collecting books is never neutral: the choice to purchase books in a certain discipline, or on specific topics or by particular authors also implies the choice not to purchase other materials.
February 11 is generally accepted as UCL’s ‘birthday’, the date in 1826 of our founding instrument, the Deed of Settlement. This document establishes a society, called ‘The Proprietors of the University of London’, to set up an Institution with the object of ‘affording to young Men … adequate opportunities for obtaining Literary and Scientific Education at a moderate expence’.
The Trades Advisory Council of British Jewry (TAC) was formed in 1938, to counter antisemitism in the sphere of trade. The TAC archives capture the history of fascism and antisemitism in mid-20th century Britain, and the history of those who fought back.
The Outreach programme at UCL Special Collections delivers free projects for schools and community groups in Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest.
We have recently completed an after-school programme with a group of talented young historians at Kelmscott Secondary School in Waltham Forest. While learning how to ‘become an historian’ they decided the following skills were essential:
A Great Historian…
The deadline to apply has been extended till midnight on March 4th!
The New Curators Project is an annual programme run by UCL Special Collections and Newham Heritage Month. It offers 10 young adults in East London the chance to develop the skills and experience needed to start a career in the cultural heritage sector.
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light, takes place this year from the evening of 28th November through to the evening of
Hidden in the Institute of Education’s Baines Archives is a small book entitled Gavin’s book of witches (BA/1/9/78).
French Protestants became one of the largest group of immigrants in England from the 16th to the 18th century. A small number of refugees started arriving from the 1520s onwards, especially during periods when persecution increased in France.