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Library Guides

Using the University Archive: Home

This guide explains how to find and access the University's archival resources

About the University Archive

The University Archive collects material relating to the history of the University, which has been in existence since 1838. We also provide help to staff and students who would like to use archives elsewhere. This guide explains what archives are, what we have in our collection, and the types of enquiries we can help with.

What are archives?

An archive can refer to:

  • a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people; or
  • a place where historical documents are kept

Although we usually think of archives as being paper documents, they can also be digital, photographic and audiovisual. Many archive collections also include some books and objects. 

Archive items are unique and often fragile. While you will usually be allowed to handle them, you will not be able to borrow items from an archive. You will also be asked to not eat and drink while in an archive, and not to use pens, as these can all damage the documents.

Using the University Archive

The University Archive is open to researchers from within the University community and also to the general public. Due to limited seating we have available, and the small size of our team, we are currently asking everyone to make an appointment. To make an appointment please contact with details of the items you would like to see from our catalogue. Some digitised and born-digital items are also available to view remotely.

We are also continuing to offer an advice service for University of Westminster staff and students on using archival collections (not just our own).


What can the Archive team help with?

The Archive team can help you if you would like to use our own collections, or we can help you to find and use archive collections elsewhere.

The types of queries we regularly help students with from our own collections are:

  • finding plans of the University buildings
  • providing historic photographs for use in a project
  • identifying historical sources for how the University was affected by social issues or world events (e.g. LGBTQ rights or World War 1)
  • suggesting resources as a prompt for creative projects

The kind of advice we can offer for using other archives includes

  • identifying the archives which hold collections relevant to your area of research, including digitsed resources
  • tackling large scale research in an archive
  • strategies for searching archive catalogues
  • approaching institutions who do not offer regular public access to their collection

Archival research can be time-consuming so please make sure you give us as much time as possible to help you. 

Contact Us

This Guide was created by members of the University Archive who can be contacted by emailing 

or chat with us via our catalogue