Archives and Manuscripts
Search for archives and manuscripts via the Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue. Use the 'Request' button to order items. View items in the Special Collections Reading Room (open weekdays, Monday to Friday, days, 10am - 4pm).
Our archive holdings contain 1,800 collections, including the University of London student and military service archives. There's a wealth of primary research material relating to politics, society, the arts and humanities.
Free access to the archives and special collections
In addition to our regular memberships, we offer a free day ticket for researchers accessing archives, manuscripts or special collections. (This ticket is not valid for accessing other areas or resources within the Library.) Proof of address and photo ID is required.
More about the Archives and Manuscripts
How it works
- Readers are advised to consult staff by email or phone before they visit.
- Archives, manuscripts and artefacts are available for consultation by appointment only, and with one full working day’s notice.
- The cut-off point for making appointments is 4pm. Any messages after this time will be dealt with the following working day (and archives therefore produced for the day after that).
- Material may be ordered in advance by email, telephone, letter or in person using request slips in the Special Collections Reading Room.
- Orders are normally restricted to a maximum of six files per fetch. Material is fetched at specific times of the day, Monday to Friday, and kept on reserve by prior arrangement.
- Your Library card will be taken in exchange for documents issued. Please do not hesitate to contact Special Collections staff if you have a query.
- Certain precautions are applied to protect unique and often fragile documents as they must be handled carefully to ensure their future preservation. All material is read under supervision in the Special Collections Reading Room where security cameras are also in operation.
- Readers are asked to leave bags in the lockers provided and to use pencils when taking notes. No eating, drinking or chewing gum is allowed. New readers are asked to complete a registration card with brief details of their research interests. These can be mutually helpful.
- Portable computers may be used unless keyboard noise proves a distraction to others.
- Photocopies can be obtained or a digital scanning service is available, providing the material is deemed fit by the member of staff on duty or the Conservator. An order form should then be filled in. Photocopying is done by Library staff and readers should allow at least 3 working days before collection.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 020 7862 8470
Senate House Library
External resource links
- AAD : Access to Archival Databases (from the National Archives and Records Administration)
- AIM25: archives in London and the M25 area
- Archives Hub
- Archives Network Wales
- Archives Portal Europe
- Digital catalogue of illuminated manuscripts (British Library)
- International Association of Labour History Institutions
- International Council on Archives
- Location register of 20th century English literary manuscripts and letters
- National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office and Historical Manuscripts Commission)
- National Archives of Ireland
- Rascal: Research and Special Collections Available Locally
- Scottish Archive Network
- Scottish Documents
- Social History Portal
- Yorkshire Quaker Heritage Project
Although we endeavour to restrict and close any sensitive information in line with GDPR and other regulations, Senate House Library does not take responsibility for, or encourage, any misuse of personal data or information which researchers may encounter. Senate House Library expects users to access our collections in good faith, and for the benefits of their research. Senate House Library does not deliberately permit, condone, or allow any actions which would:
- Cause a named living person in our collections any distress or discomfort.
- Allow a named living person in our collections to be identified without their consent.
- Any misuse of personal data discovered in our collections that could be of detriment to a living person.
Should Senate House Library understand that our collections are being misused, then a reader may lose access to our collections and facilities. Moreover, in order to process a patron request we will have to collect patron personal data which will be for staff use only and not made publicly accessible. This information will be kept no longer than 6 years. Please feel free to ask any questions or make any queries.