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Archives and Special Collections

University archive

This LibGuide provides an overview of some of the University archive materials held by the University of Exeter Special Collections. Each box  below describes a different part of the collection and includes links to the catalogues, through which you can explore the collection further.

The resources highlighted in this guide have been identified using our catalogues, but are not exhaustive. You can search our archives catalogue and library catalogue with key word searches to identify further items of interest. More information on searching the catalogues can be found on the Search our Catalogues LibGuide. If you come across any other sources within our collections that you think should be included in this guide, we would be very pleased to hear about them.

Archives and rare books held by Special Collections are available to everyone. More information about accessing the collections can be found in our Visiting Heritage Collections LibGuide. Please note that there may be some restrictions on accessing and copying (including photography) material in the archives and books held by Special Collections in line with current data protection and copyright legislation. Always make sure to check the access conditions on the archive catalogue and email Special Collections before your visit for more information about specific restrictions.

Visit by HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh to present the charter, May 1956. The Foundation Stone of the Arts Building (Queen's) was also laid. The Queen and the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire are pictured leaving the Roborough Library. EUL UA/P/3e

The University archive is extensive [over 150 linear metres] but only partially catalogued, so we have significant amounts of unsorted material. There are also gaps in the early records due to the Registry at Gandy Street being destroyed during air raids in 1942. Researchers, Alumni and members of the public are welcome to visit to research the archive and go through some of the unsorted materials. These pages show the different sections of the archive and the types of material it contains. Catalogued sections will have a reference number beginning EUL UA to help you identify them, more detailed lists of materials are available on request by contacting Special Collections.

Archive materials from the collection can be searched via our archives catalogue. See here for the catalogue entry. 

Printed materials (books, pamphlets, student publications, University publications) can be searched online via the Library Catalogue. Enter a keyword/title/author into the search box, filter the results by selecting 'Special Collections' from the list of locations on the left hand side.

See our online guide for more information on searching our catalogues.

Origins of the University

The origins of the University of Exeter lie a century before the award of university status, in the Schools of Art and Science, founded in 1855 and 1863 respectively. In 1868, the two schools moved into the Albert Memorial Museum in the centre of Exeter and, in 1893, became the Exeter Technical and University Extension College, subsequently re-named and Royal Albert Memorial College. The University College for the South West of England came into being in 1922, the same year as the inital acquisition of property on the Streatham Estate overlooking the city. Much of the university's historic archive was destroyed in air raids during 1942, in which the Registry at Gandy Street was completely flattened. Full university status was finally conferred as the University of Exeter in 1955. The previously separate St Luke's College of Education (previously the Exeter Diocesan Training College) merged with the University in 1978.

Photograph of the exterior of the Registry of the University College of the South West, damaged in the Exeter Blitz in May 1942. Most of the college records were also destroyed. EUL UA/P/1a

EUL UA/DRO/Pre-1970's

  • Pre-1970s records in the University of Exeter archive 
  • Transferred to University from Devon Record Office
  • Extent: 65.7 linear metres approx. Unsorted 
  • Box listed [list available on request]

Photograph of the interior view of the Roborough Library. Typewritten note on reverse of photograph: 'Interior of Library, Exeter University (Red Brick University, 7.30pm, 18.4.58) WEHS' EUL UA/P/1b/5

This is the main archive including pre-1970s records and other material about RAMC: Royal Albert Memorial College [pre University], UCSWE: University College of the South West of England [pre University] and the University of Exeter. Click here for an overview on our catalogue. 

Post 1990 Modern Records, EUL UA/Post 1990

Post 1990 records are managed by the Modern Records Centre, Northcote House. The Modern Records Centre has responsibility for the following materials: Court, pension scheme, finance, investment, departmental, theses, degree awards, committees, and also materials in Northcote House: Gazettes, Annual Reports, calendars, financial statements, graduate lists, Clapp history, 1955 University of Exeter Act, card index of Senate, Court and Council minutes.

Music Department staff and students, 1990s. EUL UA/P/3g

Student, staff and Alumni Magazines

Printed materials can be searched online via the Library catalogue by keyword or title. The archive contains student magazines like The Ram, The South Westerner or the most current Exposé [from 1987 onwards]. Click the next tab for a list of examples.

[some issues in additions and printed collections] 

University of Exeter photograph archive

University photographs, EUL UA/P

  • Extent: 28 boxes plus oversize items
  • c 1899-

Some photographs have been digitised and are available to view online here. However, many boxes of photographs are still uncatalogued. Alumni and members of the public are welcome to visit our Reading Room to look through some of this unsorted material. 

Aerial photograph of the University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, 1970s. EUL UA/P/1b/1

Some photographs have been catalogued and are listed on the online archive catalogue here. 

This collection contains a diverse range of photographs from throughout the history of the University of Exeter and its predecessor institutions, including photographs of St Luke's.

The collection contains photographs of staff and students from the early 20th c, and covers in great detail the mammoth building programme for the Streatham campus, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. Key events are also included, such as the presentation of the University Charter, visits by royalty and degree congregations. Student and academic life are represented, including Guild and Athletics Union activities. Coverage for some periods is patchy, perhaps in some cases due to the fact that the University Registry was bombed during the Second World War.

The photographic archive is arranged and catalogued to reflect the progression of the University from the city centre site at Gandy Street to the development of the Streatham Campus, the individuals who have shaped its history throughout this period and the various events or activities which collectively have created the University's particular identity.

Additional photographs, EUL UA/P add. 0-30

  • EUL UA/P add 0 [also known as AdditionalPhotos add. + Design Unit addition]
  • EUL UA/P add. 7 [also known as Additional Photos JB] consisting of 5 filing cabinet drawers.

Other photographs have been transferred from the Design Unit, unlisted.

University timeline

History of St. Luke's

Archives relating to St. Luke's College and campus include: EUL UA add. 6 including Rattenbury Archive, add. 9, add. 15, add. 18, add.19, add. 24, add. 27, add. 29, UA/A/7, MS 205, MS 353, MS 366, MS 430.

Some printed materials on the History of St. Luke's are listed in the next tab.

Aerial view of St. Luke's campus, which was incorporated into the School of Education in 1978. St. Luke's campus opened in 1854 and there had always been a close relationship between the University and the College. EUL UA/P/1c

Printed materials can be searched online via the Library catalogue by keyword or title.

EUL UA/Post 1970s

  • Post 1970s Modern Records from central administration
  • 1970s-1980s; some 1990s records
  • Extent: 25 metres approx
  • Box listed [list available on request]

Photograph of students in the refectory, Devonshire House, 1980s. Named after Mary, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire - the first Chancellor of the University, the building provided space for student social activities. EUL UA/P/1b/6

Post 1970s records from central administration including:

  • Central Senate and Council minutes and papers 
  • Finance and committee papers 

Includes some earlier material such as:

  • Estate records
  • Adult Education Committee
  • Northcott Theatre Committee

Minutes relating to subjects:

  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Population Studies
  • Biometric and Community Medicine
  • Applied Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Engineering Arts
  • Arts

Material relating to

  • Staff Clubs
  • Lazenby Committee
  • Institute of Cornish Studies
  • Chapel Committee
  • Halls Committee
  • Press cuttings.

The collection is box listed: more material is included on the list which is available on request.

Please note: most recent documents relating to the University are available online on the University of Exeter website, under the section ‘University Documents and Policies’

History of the University in print

Group photograph of staff and female students at the Royal Albert Memorial College, Exeter, Devon, 1906. EUL UA/P/1a


Here you will find details for printed resources from our collections on the History of the University, all of which are available on request in our Reading Room.

Printed materials can be searched online via the Library catalogue by keyword or title.

Printed materials can be searched online via the Library catalogue by keyword or title.

Printed materials can be searched online via the Library catalogue by keyword or title.

Printed resources

Printed materials can be searched online via the Library catalogue by keyword or title. Resources include official publications, books, pamphlets, periodicals and student magazines.

Click here for a complete list of University printed collection titles on the library catalogue or click the next tab to see some examples.

Examples of titles included are:

Online photo gallery

Viv Richards as an Honorary Graduate, 1986. EUL UA/P/3c

View images from our University archive collection online here.

You can search the collection by keyword or click the tags to filter images by decade, subject or location.

EUL UA additions, EUL UA/A Alumni and other archives

The archive is still growing and we receive regular donations from Alumni and other departments within the University. Click the tabs to see details of some of these additions and associated archives.

EUL UA additions [list of additions to the University archive available by request; some additions have been box-listed and individual lists are available by request] 
EUL UA add. 1-44 to date including material relating to the University and St Luke’s;
material on Halls of residence (for example Kilmorie Hall and Hope Hall [Add. 17, listed], Lopes Hall [Add. 14]) and other material relating to the University.
Additions relating to St Luke’s: EUL MS add. 6 including Rattenbury Archive, add. 9, add. 15, add. 18, add. 19 including The Exonian: the magazine of St Luke's Training College, 1913-1914], add. 24, add. 27, add. 29, add. 44; EUL MS 205; EUL MS 353; EUL UA/A/7; EUL UA/A/9

EUL UA/A Alumni [including material and photographs donated by alumni]
Finding aids: 12 additions so far, including:

  • Students scrapbooks 1970s
  • Lafrowda Hall student regulations and Guild [EUL UA/A/2] 
  • Hope Hall and Lopes Hall [EUL UA/A/3]
  • Sport and Mardon Hall [EUL UA/A/4] 
  • Exeter University Club [EUL UA/A/8]
  • St Luke’s photographs 1940s [EUL UA/A/9]
  • Birks Hall and Rag memorabilia
  • Music programmes [EUL UA/A/10]
  • Papers relating to presentation of the Charter incl. programme, menus, press-cuttings [EUL UA/A/11]
  • UCSW Rugby memorabilia [EUL UA/A/12]

EUL MS 75 Knight family papers including material relating to Thomas Hall.


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