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UCL Special Collections

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 our reading rooms.

Please see information relating to UCL's response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Information relating to wider Library Services updates at UCL can also be found.

Our enquiry service is open and with staff still largely working from home, we recommend that you contact us by email.

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.

Collection Highlights

Finding Material

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

Call for Papers: Paper Trails Conference, 4th July 2019

We are excited to announce that we’ll be hosting this year’s Paper Trails conference, working with Dr Andrew W M Smith (University of Chichister) alongside many other fantastic historians, researchers, archivists, librarians and educators. The conference is scheduled to take place at UCL on July 4th, 2019.

Dr Smith writes:

UCL Special Collections Launches Lates Programme

We are excited to be launching a series of evening talks for 2019, starting this month and running through to the next academic year.

We’ll be hosting sociable, relaxed after-work events,  perfect for anyone who is interested to come into UCL to learn about the wonderful rare books, archives and manuscripts that we hold here.  Each evening will present a particular topic or theme; talks and collection displays with wine, soft drinks and nibbles for all.  What more could anyone want?!

Special Collections for Schools: a continuing programme

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 drummers drumming

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.

Ten Lords A-leaping

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.

Eight maids a-milking

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).

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