What are Archives? See our feature: "What are archives, and when are they happiest?"
Archives are the raw materials of history, the original documents that people and places produce as they go about their daily life and business: letters, photographs, films, drawings, paintings, file folders, diaries, ledgers, doodles, floppy disks, reports, computer drives, videos, audiotapes, and a million other things. What they all have in common is that they hold information of one kind or another, and once they are gone they are lost forever.
An Archive exists to bring all this different material in, give it a safe and secure home, help it to survive everything that Nature throws at it to try to make it decay, and then organises and describes it in such a way that people know what is there. A former child can find a file about them. A medical historian can find records of a psychiatrist's life. A family or local historian can find maps, and photographs, and manuscripts about the person or place they're interested in.
What do we have?
We hold the archives of individuals, of organisations and societies, and of schools, units and other places related to group and therapeutic environments, and progressive/alternative/democratic education.
We hold well over 200 collections, so those listed or catalogued here are only the tip of an iceberg. Check back, as more are being added to the website on a regular basis.
- If you are looking for something which is not listed here, please get in touch - we may have what you are looking for, or may be able to suggest where to look.
- And please get in touch if you are trying to find a good home for photographs, recordings, books, letters, or other documents or items. We may not be able to provide a home for the items and materials you have, but we may know an archive which can.
Access and Visiting
Much of the material we hold is of a confidential and sensitive nature, and can not be made available to the public. If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch with the archivist, here. On the other hand, a surprising amount of material can be made available. And the Library is amazing.
To arrange a visit, please see "Visiting and Using the Archive and Study Centre".