Archival collections

The following archives are housed in the Special Collections Department, in the basement of the Arts and Social Sciences Library, where there are more detailed catalogues and indexes. The Special Collections Online Archive Catalogue is newly available. Please note that this is at a pilot stage of development, and we welcome your comments. This contains descriptions of many of our archive collections, both at collection level and down to a detailed file level; also images of the Brunel Collection, some of our medieval manuscripts, and University-related archives. There are also detailed lists of the Penguin Archive. Fuller collection descriptions are also available from the national Archives Hub and catalogues at A2A: Access to Archives.

Access and contact details are given on the main Special Collections page.

Bateman Collection

Resources for the history of the Labour movement in the twentieth century assembled by Don Bateman. Contains some Independent Labour Party minute books and much local, pamphlet and ephemeral material. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Brunel Collection

Dating from 1817 to 1903, this is the finest collection of original source material on Isambard Kingdom Brunel, his father Sir Marc Isambard Brunel and his son Henry Marc Brunel. Further information is available, including summary lists, biographical material and a history of the collection. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust

Minute books, accounts and plans, 1829-1939. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Jane Cobden Unwin

Letters to Jane Cobden Unwin, mainly on Irish independence, anti-slavery and aborigines protection, 1880-1939. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Edward Conze

Correspondence, notes, papers and publications in the field of oriental theology. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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George Albert Cooke

Diaries, 1884-1939. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Basil Cottle

Notes, papers, correspondence and publications on the cathedrals of France, mediaeval art, literature, archaeology and the English language; personal papers. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Rupert E. Davies

Published works, 1937-90. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Election addresses

Election addresses for every British General Election since 1892. For further information go to the Election Addresses webpage.

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Victor and Joan Eyles

Papers collected by Dr Victor Ambrose and Joan Mary Eyles on the history of geology, including Sowerby family correspondence, 1679-1869, and Buckland family wills, 1837-1856. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Feminist Archive

The Feminist Archive South (DM2123) chronicles the second wave of Feminism (both nationally and internationally) c.1960-2000. The archive includes an extensive collection of periodicals, books, topic boxes, archives, pamphlet collections and visual materials.  There is also material relating to Dora Russell's Peace Caravan which went through Central Europe in 1958.  Lists are available for consultation in Special Collections. Please note that the archive is not held in the Arts and Social Sciences Library and that advanced notice is therefore needed to access the collection. See also The Feminist Archive South website.

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Fry Portrait Collection

Extra-illustrated books, engraved prints and portraits mostly collected by John Doyle Fry and given by his son Henry R. Fry. Chiefly British subjects from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, with a smaller European section. Various specialised groupings including actors, Quakers, criminals and popes, and a fine collection of London views and maps. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Dame Katharine Furse

Correspondence, 1887-1952, with the Symonds family, Charles W. Furse, WRNS, VADs and Girl Guides. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Goldney family

Papers, 1681-1891. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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John Gregory

Notebooks, manuscripts, scrapbooks, correspondence, printed and unprinted verse works, Labour movement and Socialist material, books on and by Sir Richard Gregory, and local Bristol newspapers and books, 1877-1931. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Matthew Blagden Hale

Diaries, correspondence, official papers, sermons, press cuttings and photographs, 1677, 1822-95. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Hamish Hamilton Ltd

Editorial and historical archives to 1970. For further information visit the Hamish Hamilton collection webpage. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Adey Horton

Reproductions of mediaeval painting, stained glass, sculpture, architectural and other features of iconographical significance, arranged by subject. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Thomas Lloyd Humberstone

Correspondence, 1895-1955. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Robin Ralph Jamison

Biographical papers, diaries, notebooks, research papers and lectures, and publications, 1934-1991. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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David James Cathcart King

Drafts, notes and illustrations of published work on the mediaeval castle in England and Wales, together with correspondence, photographs and some autobiographical material, 1939-89. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Kingswood Abbey

Papers including grants of land to the abbey, confirmation of grants, accounts of receipt and expenditure, confirmations of privileges, and papal letters, 1225-1444. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Leicestershire poll books

Official poll books compiled during the 1775 general election, including lists of voters. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Liberal Party

Small collections of material, including:

  • National Liberal Club and related papers (including some Gladstone family papers). A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.
  • Accrington Liberal Association. Album, 1838-1925.
  • Alfred Austin. Letters from A.J. Balfour, Joseph Chamberlain, Robert Marquis of Salisbury and others, 1881-1910.
  • Charles Geake. Letters from Lord Roseberry, H.J. Gladstone and others, 1892-1918.
  • W.E. Gladstone. Albums, letters, photographs, etc., 1829-1898.
  • Sir F.C. Gould. Cartoons, 1895-1917.
  • Home Counties Liberal Federation. Reports, 1908 & 1924-1945.
  • Liberal Central Association. Minute books, 1883-1914.
  • Liberal Council. Minutes, 1927-1937.
  • Liberal Social Council. Reports and accounts, 1904-1965.
  • Sir David Low. Scrapbooks of cartoons, 1928-1931.
  • Sir Geoffrey Mander. Miscellaneous papers, 1922-1957.
  • Derick Mirfin. Papers, 1949-1961.
  • Western Counties Liberal Federation. Minutes and accounts, 1927-1967. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.
  • Women's Liberal Federation. Minutes, accounts, correspondence, publications and centenary papers, 1888-1988. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.
  • Yorkshire Liberal Association. Minutes, correspondence, etc., 1979-1987. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.


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Bryan Little

Personal diaries and other papers, 1927-1956. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Philip Napier Miles

Autograph scores and correspondence, 1884-1951. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Moravian Church

Diaries, minute books and other items relating to the Moravian Church, Maudlin Street, Bristol, 1760-1893.

Reports of congregations and memoirs of individuals mainly related to the West Indies, 1728-1845. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Oatley Collection

Plans, drawings, letterbooks and related material from the architectural practices with which Sir George Oatley worked or was associated, including Henry Crisp, Edward William Godwin, Oatley and Lawrence, and Oatley and Brentnall, 1860s-1980s. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Paget family

Accounts, correspondence, family and estate papers, mainly relating to Somerset and Staffordshire, 1270-1920. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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William Paty

Apparently the copybook of the firm of William Paty and Son, 1740-1810. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Penguin Books Ltd

The Penguin Archive contains editorial files, historical files, Allen Lane files, Betty Radice papers, Lady Chatterley's Lover Trial papers, Eunice Frost papers, and the Penguin Book Collection. For further information go to the Penguin Archive collection page, and use the Online Archive Catalogue. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.  We have developed an interactive timeline which summarises the main events in the history of Penguin and links to the collections in the archive.

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Pinney family

Accounts, letter-books, family and estate papers, mainly relating to Dorset and the West Indies, 1650-1986. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Humphrey Repton

Correspondence, 1788-1814 (including the Red Book of Leigh Court, 1814, and other papers relating to the house and estate and its owners, the Miles family). A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Isaac Rosenberg

Material collected by Gordon Bottomley and Denys W. Harding whilst writing The Collected Works of Isaac Rosenberg, 1937. Includes works of Rosenberg and correspondence with members of his family and others, 1922-82. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Somerset Miners Association

Minutes, accounts, correspondence and other papers, 1868-1964. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Michael Stern, MP

The constituency papers and other related papers of Michael Stern, Conservative MP for Bristol North West, 1983-1997. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Steuart Family papers

Correspondence, 1786-1881. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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John Addington Symonds

Correspondence, literary manuscripts and family papers, 1884-1980. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Robin Tanner

Letters, 1920-1988, and autobiography. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Teichman Bequest

Twelve hand-coloured prints showing views of Moscow and St Petersburg in 1799, formerly in the Paschkof Palace, Moscow. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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Unitarian Congregation, Lewins Mead, Bristol

Correspondence, 1826-1834. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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University College and University of Bristol

Incomplete archives of the institution, 1876 onwards. A collection description is available from the national Archives Hub.

Includes papers relating to individuals connected with the University:

Also black-and-white original and copy photographs, colour transparencies (35mm), glass negatives, lantern slides, postcards, illustrated maps, unprinted film negatives, posters, architectural drawings, fine art prints, recordings, cassettes and films. The subject matter includes University history, architecture (exteriors and interiors), staff, students, ceremonies, royal visits (King George V and Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II), and visits by Chancellor Winston Churchill.

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Wessex Regionalist Party

Correspondence, agendas and minutes of Party meetings, local government papers, policy papers and constitutions, and regionalist newsletters, 1975 - 1996. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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West Indies Papers

Miscellaneous personal and estate records, 1663-1929. A collection description is also available from the national Archives Hub.

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