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Library Services

Archives and Special Collections

The Archives holds a wealth of fascinating institutional, personal archives and rare prints, dating from the 17th Century to the present day. The collections document the rich history of the College, and provide vital evidence for research in the arts, humanities and social science. See the blogs below to find out more about our collections or follow us on Instagram qmarchives.

Alfred Jonas photographic portrait smoking a pipe Remembrance Day 2023: Stories Behind the Names
9 November 2022

At this year’s Remembrance Day service passages from the Roll of Honour books held in the University Archives will be read. These books record the names of Queen Mary students who died in military service during World War 1 and World War 2. The stories of three students will be read this year and we have used other student records in the archives to fill in details of the lives beyond their military service. 

Portrait of Percivall Pott Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1723 – 1792, English Painter
21 July 2023

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted a portrait of Sir Percivall Pott the eminent Surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital which is still displayed at the hospital. In this blog Anne Marie Mcharg, Rare Books and Special Collections Assistant, will explore the life of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Ticket reading A Swimming Pool on Campus
15 September 2023

All this good weather had us thinking about how nice it would be to have a swimming pool on campus. But did you know we once did? It was built in 1888 and entertained and cooled generations of East Londoners until World War 2 when it suffered serious bomb damage. But the building of the former People’s Palace Swimming baths, bought by the university, hung around until 2011.

Illustration from William Blake's Book of Job Designs William Blake
21 July 2023

After finishing the articles about our distinguished English poets and Greek philosophers who are featured in the old Octagon library, I discovered in our rare book collection another English poet many of you will know doubt know, especially if as a child you read his famous poem The Tyger. Well, I found Blake sitting on a shelf looking down on an old furniture Bible. I would like to talk about the two together and the importance they bring to our literature, and to show another side of William Blake and his works. A blog by Anne Marie Mcharg Rare Books and Special Collections Assistant.

Page of annotated King Lear Samuel Phelps: Actor, Theatre Manager & Tragedian
7 July 2023

In the last couple of months, I have been beavering away amongst our rare book collection cataloguing and updating records. Tucked away on the bottom shelves I found prompt copies for Samuel Phelps of Shakespeare’s tragedies, histories and one comedy. This small collection is printed copies from microfilm of originals held by The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. So, my thoughts turned to wondering, who was Samuel Phelps? A blog by Anne Marie Mcharg Rare Books and Special Collections Assistant.

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