Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections are housed in Lancaster University Library. There are over 15,000 rare books, thousands of postcards and photographs and archives on a variety of subjects. They are available to anyone by appointment, and some are available digitally through Lancaster Digital Collections. Special Collections aim to support the needs of all staff, students and external users in the research, teaching, learning and engagement with the materials within Special Collections in the most appropriate way.
This atlas was published by Bowles and Carver in the 1790s. It consists of 39 maps from the period with the place names as they would have been known at the time. This particular map is of South America. It is part of our general Rare Book collection of items dating from pre-1810.
Jack Hylton Programmes
These are a selection of theatre programmes from the Jack Hylton Archive. Jack Hylton was a band leader from 1920s through to 1940s. Due to his band being called up for service he diversified into general entertainment as an impresario and created productions for theatre, musicals, along with early television. The archive spans his career from 1920 through to 1965 when he died and includes many famous stars such as Morecambe and Wise and Shirley Bassey.
This is a collection of pamphlets from the Patten Collection. It is predominantly pamphlets from the Second World war, mainly those issues by various government departments but also other informative pamphlets. It also includes sheet music of the time and various armed forces newspapers and magazines.
CMDA Pyramid Theatre
This photograph is of the Pyramid Cinema in Greater Manchester and was taken by Douglas Randell. The Cinema Memory Archive contacted people who went to the cinema in the 1930s to reminisce about their experiences. The interviews and questionnaires were part of an oral history project running from 1970s through to 2000.
Foxe, John. The ecclesiasticall historie, conteining the acts and monuments of martyrs London 1583. Fox started the work in Latin and made the first English edition in 1563. It was published early in the reign of Elizabeth I and an affirmation of the English Reformation noting the various Christian martyrs over time. The library has a vast Quaker collection including various Friends Meeting house papers and documents.
Swansea Bye Election
This is a canvassing flyer for Counsellor David Williams JP asking for votes for the Swansea East Division Bye Election for the Labour Party on 10th July 1919. This is part of our Socialist Pamphlet Collection with over 2,000 pamphlets relating to the Labour Party and the Socialist Movement both in the UK and abroad between 1818-1997. There is also an almost complete set of the Left Book Club publications published between 1936-1948.
Rare books and Special Collections in General
There are over 15,000 rare books, thousands of postcards and photographs and archives on a variety of subjects. Those catalogued in our library OneSearch can be viewed via the link below. See the other individual collections below for details on individual collections which are not all on OneSearch.OneSearch: Rare books and Special Collections
Rare books and Special Collections accordion 1 Accordion
Austin and Langshaw Archive
This archive covers the family history of these local architects. The archive contains drawings, plans and photos of local buildings designed by Austin. There are various papers relating to Heversham House and family documentation of the Austin and Langshaw families, including diaries, wills, letters, family trees, records of investments, career documents relating to HJ Austin, documents relating to EG Paley and 1851 plans of Lancaster.
The archive also contains interesting artefacts such as letters, photos and documents relating to Sir Richard Owen, a local celebrity who originated the term ‘dinosaur’.
Tags: Architecture; Richard Owen; Sharpe Paley Austen
Beetham Vestry Library
The Beetham Vestry Library contains 350 books dating from the sixteenth to early twentieth century. The volumes were mainly collected by the Reverend William Hutton, Vicar of Beetham, 1762-1811 and placed by him in the Vestry in 1795. The collection was subsequently augmented by various donations, especially that of Alfred John Balleine, Vicar of Beetham from 1907 to 1929. They were deposited in the University Library in 1987.
Standard works of Anglican theology form the largest category, but there are also volumes on science and on British antiquities, and works by Latin authors, as well as some volumes by French Protestant theologians.
Tags: Christianity; Theology; History of science; British Antiquities
View Beetham Vestry Library records on OneSearch
Burnley Grammar School Library
Around 1,000 books dating from the sixteenth to mid-eighteenth century. The greater part of the library consists of books bequeathed by the Reverend Henry Halsted (1641-1728), a member of a prominent local family and a former pupil of the school. Reverend Edmund Townley, Rector of Slaidburn, augmented the library. Although the collection contains works on history, politics, medicine, and the law, as well as works in Latin and Greek, the major part consists of works on religion, and especially the defence of Anglicanism against Catholicism.
Tags: Christianity; Theology; History; Politics; History of Medicine; History of Law; Classics.
View Burnley Grammar School Library records on OneSearch
Cartmel Priory Collection
The collection contains approximately 300 books dating from the sixteenth century which formed The ancient library in Cartmel Priory Church. The precise date of the foundation of this library is unknown but is likely to have been before 1629. The greater part of the library was added in 1696-7 on the death of Thomas Preston of Holker. Many of the books contain hand-written notes. The books are mainly theological but there are also a number of Latin and Greek classics, works on natural science and a few English non-theological books.
Tags: Christianity; Theology; Latin and Greek Classics; Natural Science
View Cartmel Priory Collection records on OneSearch
Born Egerton St John Pettifor Catchpool (Jack Catchpool 1890-1971) he lived in Guernsey, brought up as a Quaker. He trained in Social Work and also trained as a first aider. As a pacifist he joined the Friends Ambulance Unit in 1915 volunteering in French hospitals. He returned to London in 1916 and had a tribunal as a conscientious objector. He worked for the Friends German Emergency Committee helping Germans stranded in the UK. In 1916 he helped Russians get to Moscow and became friends with the Tolstoy family. He helped in the hospital at Andreekva and then on to Armenia. During the Russian civil war he returned to Moscow and helped the homeless. He rescued a colleague from Japan and returned via Vladivostok, China and Jerusalem.
He worked at Toynbee Hall which created the Workers Educational Association and Workers Travel Association. in 1927 he visited Germany seeing the hostels over there and set up the first one in Welwyn Garden City and was the first secretary of the Youth Hostel Association. In 1938 he became president of the International Federation of Youth Hostels and retired in 1950 helping create hostels abroad. This archive contains his papers relating to his career.
Tags: Quakers; Russia; World War 1914-1918; Friends Ambulance Unit;
The collection was donated by the family of John Chambers, the chief designer at Pilkington Tiles, who was responsible for all the artistic work carried out in the factory. The collection contains books, journals, pamphlets and designs relating to pottery. The collection complements the bequest to the Peter Scott Gallery, by Miss Mary Chambers, of illustrations, designs, photographs and ceramics.
Tags: Pottery; Design; Botanical; Children’s Literature
View Chambers Collection records on OneSearch
Changing Faces Archive
The Changing Faces project tracked policy initiatives stemming from the 1970s Adult Literacy campaign up to the launch in 2001 of the Skills for Life campaign as part of the National Literacy Strategy. Archive items include papers and documents from campaign groups, minutes from meetings, local and national policy initiatives and programmes, media campaigns; dissertations and theses that cover this area and histories that have been written about specific groups, organisations, policy or geographical areas.
Tags: 1970-2000; adult literacy; adult numeracy; ESOL; Adult Education; policies; resources;
View Changing Faces Archive records on OneSearch
Cinema Memory Archive
The CCINTB Archive comprises materials gathered in the course of a large-scale, ongoing, research project conducted by Professor Annette Kuhn. The project began in 1991 and was funded between 1994 and 1997 by the Economic and Social Research Council. It involved depth interviews conducted with, and questionnaires completed by, several hundred men and women living in various parts of the UK who were cinemagoers during the 1930s, as well as collection and analysis of primary source materials on cinema going and cinema culture in Britain during the interwar years.
Tags: Media; 1930s; Cinema; Movies; Social History; Oral History
Foot and Mouth Archive
The Health and Social Consequences of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic in North Cumbria archive contains diaries and interviews from a study carried out by the Institute for Health Research, Lancaster University between 2001 and 2004. The diaries were written over a period of 18 months by a diverse panel of 54 rural residents who experienced the crisis in different ways. Their contributions describe how their lives were affected by the crisis and also the process of recovery they observed taking place in their communities. The archive contains paper transcripts and audio CD.
Tags: Foot and Mouth Disease; Social history; oral history
Ford Railway Collection
The collection was the gift of a local railway enthusiast, Mr R. C. Ford of Bentham, in the early days of the University. It contains books and journals on railways, with a special emphasis on railways in the North West of England.
Titles have been added to the collection since it was acquired.
Tags: Railways; Trains; Maps
View Ford Railway Collection records on OneSearch
These are microfilm copies of the original archive which is housed in Westminster Archives in London covering the Gillows firm from 1731-1932. Gillows was a local furniture makers trading in Lancaster. They took advantage of the wood coming in to Lancaster as ballast on the ships coming from the West Indies. The Archive includes Waste books, cash books, bill books, ledgers, mill books, salaries, orders, estimate sketch books, upholstery and decoration estimates, cabinetry sketch books, account books, letter books, memos.
Find the Gillow Archives on OneSearch.
Jack Hylton Archive
Jack Hylton was born in Great Lever, Bolton on 2nd July 1892. He came from a working class background and, as a boy, performed as the "Singing Mill-Boy".
After the First World War he went on to play with the Queen's Dance Orchestra where he wrote arrangements of popular songs. In the 1920s the band developed into an orchestra, under Jack Hylton’s name, and toured America and Europe. It continued until the 1940s when the orchestra disbanded due to members being called up for war service.
He then became an impresario discovering new stars and managing radio, film and theatre productions. He dominated the London theatres with shows including "The Merry Widow", "Kiss Me Kate" and "Kismet".
Some of the stars he managed, who appeared in his productions or whom he discovered include Shirley Bassey, Maurice Chevalier, Ernie Wise, Eric Morecambe, Arthur Askey, the Crazy Gang, George Formby, Diana Dors, Thora Hird, Liberace, Noele Gordon and Sid James.
Jack later went on to work in TV as the Advisor of Light Entertainment for the new ITV channel, Associated-Rediffusion, where he was able to promote his stage discoveries as TV stars. He worked in this role until 1959, producing stage shows at the same time. He was instrumental in organising various Royal Command Performances and continued producing theatre until his final show, “Camelot”, which he was working on when he died in 1965.
The archive contains Band Parts, Press Cuttings, Programmes, Photos, Scripts, Stage Designs, Flyers, Posters, Adverts, Recordings, and other memorabilia relating to Jack Hylton.
Tags: Music; Media; Theatre; 1920-1965; TV; social history
Lancashire Textile Project
The Lancashire Textile Project contains an oral history of spinning mills in Lancashire, predominately those of Bancroft Mill in Barnoldswick and Spring Vale Mill in Haslingden. Local and personal histories are featured as well as details of spinning, weaving and machine maintenance. Interviewees also contribute details on both general mill life and the home-life of the period. The collection consists of 6 volumes of photos, index cards, oral history tapes and tape transcriptions.
Tags: Barnoldswick; Mills; Spinning; Weaving; social history
Ninian Smart Archive
In 1967 Ninian Smart (1927-2001) founded the First British Religious Studies Department at Lancaster University and his archive was donated by his widow on his death. This includes a detailed bibliography of all his publications.
Tags: Religious studies
The majority of the collection consists of pamphlets issued by government ministries during the Second World War. These informed the public, members of the Forces and volunteers of how to cope on rations, what to do in an air raid etc.
Tags: World War 1939-1945
View Patten Collection records on OneSearch
Lancaster and Lancashire were prominent in the early history of the Quaker movement. As such, many Quaker materials have been donated to the Library from the Society of Friends and various other donors to form a large extensive collection on the subject. These can be found in the main library and Special Collections.
Tags: Society of Friends; Quakers;
View Quaker Collection records on OneSearch
Hans Ferdinand Redlich (1903-1968) was the son of Professor Joseph Redlich who was Finance Minister, Privy Councillor and University professor of Law in Austria. He studied music with Paul Weingarten, Hugo Kauder and Carl Orff. He was conductor and repetiteur at Charlotteburge Opera House in Berlin then Mainz Stadttheatre. He was a freelance composer, conductor, critic and article writer. He emigrated to UK in 1939 due to being a Jew and lectured at Cambridge and Birmingham.
Tags: Music; Austria policies pre-1939; Social history
Ribchester Vestry Library
In 1684, Mr Hayhurst, Minister of Macclesfield, left his library to St. Wilfred’s, the Parish Church of Ribchester. The remains of this library consist of 8 volumes dating from 1544-1811 of a theological nature.
Tag : Theology; Ribchester.
View Ribchester Vestry Library records on OneSearch
- Socialist Pamphlet Collection
SS Uganda, Falklands Collection
The SS Uganda was a Cruise liner built in the 1950s which was a schools cruise ship till the 1980s and then commandeered by the government and converted into a hospital ship for troops during the Falklands conflict in 1982. This archive consists of photographs, diaries and other materials collected from the time by the 2nd chef of the SS Uganda.
Tags: Cruise ships; hospital ship; Falklands war 1982;
Rare books and Special Collections Continued Accordion
Stan Lawrence Archive
Stan Lawrence was a headmaster and local historian in the Burton-in-Lonsdale area. He collated materials relating to the history of Burton-in-Lonsdale from various sources including maps, tithe maps, manor records. He donated his collection in 2000 and it was added to over the years by himself.
Tom Milne Collection
Tom Milne was a highly regarded film critic who joined the British Film Institute as an associate editor. His collection was donated to the University Library by Nigel Algar, Senior Curator (Fiction) of the British Film Institute. They are novels of mainly 20th-century Fiction and Crime Fiction.
Tags: Popular 20th Century Fiction; Crime Fiction; Westerns;
View Tom Milne Collection records on OneSearch
Trinity College Collection
This collection was received from Trinity College Cambridge in 1978 due to negotiations with the Religious Studies department at Lancaster. They are mainly pre-World War I theological books.
Tags: Miscellaneous religions; history; geography; classics
View Trinity College Collection records on OneSearch
Contact information: For further information, enquiries, digitisation requests, research requests, teaching requests, virtual appointments and physical appointments please contact us.
If you are unable to use email then you can phone the main library on 01524 592516 and leave a message with your contact details and nature of your enquiry and we will get back to you. Alternatively, you can write to:
Special Collections and Archives, Lancaster University Library, Bailrigg, Lancaster, Lancashire. LA1 4YH.
Appointments will need to be made in advance and we will contact you to arrange a suitable time. We will aim to answer any enquiries as soon as possible within our staffing constraints. We do not have the facilities to take on lengthy research but will provide up to 1 hour of research free of charge. Any personal data will be held in accordance with GDPR purely for the records of Special Collections. Offers of donations will be on a case-by-case basis. Please refer to our Special Collections policy for further details.
Special Collections is within Lancaster University Library at the end of the atrium (click here for directions to Special Collections) and can be visited by prior appointment.
If you are unable to find what you are after from our webpages and wish to find out more information then please contact us for further information.
We can support you in using the Special Collections either with face-to-face visits, virtual visits where you can see the items in real-time remotely on your computer or digitisation where possible. We can also arrange for items to be used in research, teaching and learning in your department. Contact us if you wish to consult with us on ways of using our Special Collections.
Facilities offered both virtually and in person subject to availability are:
- PowerPoints and Films on various topics relating to the collections including:
- Book History
- Use of Special Collections and Archives
- In-person and hybrid sessions using resources chosen by academics. Past topics include:
- William Blake
- Lake District
- Local History
- Beginning of books e.g. title pages, dedications, bindings etc.
- Early Modern Bodies
- Gender during World War II
- Critical Editions
- Help to prepare content to be ingested into Lancaster Digital Collections.
- Work Experience including:
- Placements (both UG and PG);
- Schoolwork experience;
- Overview of work;
- Experience for those applying for Library or Archival courses;
- Additional Needs work experience.
- Help to locate items in collections relevant to research and teaching along with support and advice related to those items.
The University Special Collections and Archives does not include the following which are separate entities on campus and can be contacted directly: