Archives and Special Collections

Welcome to a world of information about our Archives and Special Collections. These pages will provide you with information to Access our Archives; Discover our Collections and Inspire your Research.

About Us

Within the Archives and Special Collections at the University of Surrey you can explore over 60 collections of archives and rare books. Share the personal journey of Ernest Howard Shepard. Travelling from his Victorian childhood in London, to experiences of family life during two World Wars and finally to his retirement spent travelling; writing and reflecting. Explore the varied collections of the National Resource Centre for Dance (NRCD). Unravel the connections between dance; theatre studies; industry; psychology and movement therapy unlocking the personal papers of pioneers in the performing arts. Investigate the rich institutional collections of Battersea Polytechnic and the University of Surrey delve into papers and correspondence from key decision makers and catch glimpses into the student experience  

Archives are records that we collect for permanent preservation due to their evidentiary or historic value. They provide information, or evidence of a person or organisation’s activities, history, policies or decisions. What is, and is not, held in an archive seeks to question wider historical and social topics, highlighting what society deemed to be important or trivial at the time of the creation of the archive.

We seek to preserve and provide access to a wide range of unique primary resource materials including manuscripts; letters; diaries; photographs; artworks; periodicals; rare books; ephemera; music scores; dance notation scores; scrapbooks; costumes; objects; film; music; interviews and business papers to cultivate research both within the University of Surrey and worldwide.

Access our Archives

Researchers can connect with the Archives and Special Collections in a number of ways:

  • Discover more about the collections or discuss your individual research needs, by contacting the archivist by email, telephone or post
  • Journey to the Archives and Specials Collections research room to view archive materials, appointments can be made by contacting the archives team by email or telephone
  • Explore the enlightening descriptions of our archive material through the archive catalogues online

The research room has seating for 18 and facilities for both laptop users and those wishing to view or listen to our extensive audio-visual archives, to encourage collaboration and learning.The research room is located on the ground level  of the George Edwards Library.

Requesting material to consult

Please give us one working day’s notice of your visit to enable staff to retrieve your research material. Items requested on a Friday will be available by the following Tuesday. 

We will contact you to confirm your appointment. 

Due to the unique nature of archive material our collections can only be accessed in our research room. Items from the collections are not available for borrowing.

Volunteering in the Archives and Special Collections

Get involved

Volunteers play an important role within the Archives and Special Collections, contributing significantly to the work of the department. If you are interested in volunteering with us then we will encourage and support you every step of the way.

Why volunteer:

Volunteering with us is an excellent way for you to learn new skills, boost your CV, help other people, improve your confidence and meet new people while helping us to open up our collections to our users.

Who can volunteer?

Anyone who is interested and has a small amount of time to spare!
There is no upper age limit to volunteers and our minimum age is 16.Young people may be taken on work experience placements when sponsored through a school.

Ways you can help:

The number of tasks that you can potentially work on is endless but here are just a few examples of projects that you could be working on.
• Helping to describe the archives in a catalogue
• Transcribing and indexing
• Cleaning and numbering of records
• Working with our photographic, audiovisual and costume collections
• Assisting with outreach or special events

Please do contact us at if you would like to discover more about volunteering opportunities.

Depositing Records

We welcome all offers of donations and deposits to the Archives and Special Collections that fit within the scope of our Collecting Policies. These Collecting Policies are designed to support the research and teaching of the University of Surrey and to develop coherent collections which build on existing strengths. In considering whether the University is the right place for your collection we will look at the connection to the university, whether the records are of historical or research value and whether we have the right facilities to care for the collection in the long term.

We have modern secure storage for archives which is environmentally controlled and we manage the preservation and use of various formats including paper, photographs, audio visual material, parchment, books, journals, costume and born digital files.  

For members of staff and internal departments we actively collect records created by the University, and many of our records are transferred directly from departments, schools and services by University staff. If you are looking to transfer material to the University Archives to be preserved please contact us. If you are looking to transfer items temporarily for storage, please review the information on the Information Compliance Unit pages.

We are also interested in recording the experiences of students and staff of the University and we are actively trying to grow this area of the archive. If you have any memorabilia and papers from your time here then please do contact us.

Qualification Enquiries

Requests for confirmation of qualifications gained by former students should be directed to: 

Assessment and Awards Office, University Registry, Senate House, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH 

or by e-mail at:

Reproduction, copyright and publishing

Copying services are provided to our researchers subject to the restrictions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and subsidiary legislation. We can copy material which is out of copyright; copyright material where the requester has permission; and material covered by the library and archive exceptions. All copying of archive material is carried out by archive staff. We will only copy items which in our opinion will not be harmed by the process. We can supply a photocopy (if items are suitable for photocopying) or we may be able to offer a digital image. To submit a request for copying of material for research or private study return a signed and completed copyright declaration form for private study either as a scanned email attachment or by post. Once we have received your copying order we will send you details of the cost of the order and how payment can be made via our online store. Your requested copies will be dispatched on receipt of payment. If you need further information this can be found in our prices list; in our Reprographic policy or alternatively please discuss your requirement with us.

Most archival material that we hold is still in copyright. To publish or broadcast any of our materials (including images on our website), you must obtain the permission of the copyright holder. In some instances the archive can help to locate the copyright holder so please contact the archives for more information and to discuss your requirements.  Please note that reproduction fees might be charged. If filming at Surrey is proposed a charge might be made for the use of the facilities.

Copying and publishing charges (106.55KB - Requires Adobe Reader) Copyright Declaration (122.5KB)
Anyone is welcome to visit the Archives and Special Collections, but an appointment is necessary to view material.

The research room is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10.00am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.00pm.
From time to time it may be necessary to close the research room. Please check the Library Twitter page for our latest information.

Archives and Special Collections
University Library
George Edwards Building
University of Surrey


tel: +44 (0)1483 683030 / 689631


fax: +44 (0)1483 689500 Attn. Archives

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

More contact details
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