Our collections

We preserve and provide access to over 100 collections of rare books and unique primary sources available for research, study and general interest.

About our collections

Our collections include costumes from early twentieth century dance productions, original drawings by the illustrator E H Shepard, first editions of Charles Darwin’s seminal works and the oral histories of our early alumni. We also continue to grow our collections through donations relevant to our Collection Development Policy.

Our key collecting strands are:

  • The institutional collections of the University of Surrey and its predecessor Battersea Polytechnic
  • The archives of the National Resource Centre for Dance which includes the personal archives of the prominent movement theorist Rudolf Laban as well as collections from companies, choreographers, dancers, teachers and other artists
  • Collections related to illustrator E H Shephard containing some of his original drawings for Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows as well as other works from his extensive career and personal artefacts
  • A number of special collections including a Victorian gentleman’s library and subject-specific collections which support areas of teaching and research within the University.

Discover our collections

Find out more about our collections via the list below, or by searching our online catalogue.

University archives

National Resource Centre for Dance Archives

The Resource Centre aims to provide support for dance education and research, firstly through archive collections like the below list and secondly, through training courses and resources which you can find more about on the National Resource Centre for Dance site.

E H Shepard archives

Special collections

Donating and depositing to the archives

We welcome all offers of donations and deposits to help us continue to grow our collections. In considering whether our archives 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.

For members of staff, internal departments and alumni we actively collect items created by the University. If you are looking to transfer material to the archives to be preserved as part of our heritage please contact us.

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

Collections Development Policy

(318.4 KB .PDF)

Stay connected

Latest blog posts


The Head of the Lake – boats, footballs and rusty deckchairs

Our current display at the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Surrey is showcasing...


International Women’s Day #InspireInclusion

Women in Science – Babette Stern International Women’s Day takes place annually on the 8th March,...