UCL Library Special Collections is one of the foremost university collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books in the UK.
- 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
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.
Five gold rings: back in the conservation studio, certain precautions should be taken before a pigment consolidation job . . .
Four calling birds: and their song in musical notation (‘to to toto to to!’), from Athanasius Kircher’s Musurgia universalis (1650). The parrot, imitating human speech, is saying hello in Greek instead . . .
Not quite three French hens, but one French lesson, at the Open Air School in Regent’s Park, c1919. Schools like this were opened to promote better health in children – all lessons took place outdoors whatever the weather, to give students maximum exposure to fresh air.
IOE Archives, reference LFB/24