The Archive of the Irish in Britain

Founded in 1984, this is a unique academic and community resource and the largest of its kind in Britain. It consists of documents, audio and video recordings, books, photographs, posters and ephemera cataloguing the history of the Irish in Britain from earliest times to the present day with a special focus on the last century. It is a priority of the Archive to ensure that its contents are disseminated as widely as possible.

For further information or to visit the archive, please email:

Archive of the Irish in Britain - digitisation project 2018

Timed to capitalise on the recent move of the Archive of the Irish in Britain to purpose-built facilities in the university’s Special Collections at Aldgate, this project will digitise tens of thousands of documents and other material.

Amongst the collections to be digitised are:

  • the St. Patrick's Day Programme Collection
  • the prison letters of Paul Hill of the Guildford Four
  • the papers of the late 19th century London Irish writer, Winifred M. Patton
  • the historical records of the London Irish Centre and the Irish County Associations
  • ephemera of the Gaelic League of London

Funded by the Irish government's Emigrant Support Programme, the primary purpose of the project is to ensure that the historical and contemporary records of the Irish in Britain are preserved for posterity and disseminated, as widely as possible, for the benefit of current and future generations of Irish people at home and abroad.

Digitisation will enhance awareness of Irish history, help engender better understanding of specific welfare and cultural needs and help foster a more cohesive sense of community. The contents of the Archive will be open access - and therefore accessible for members of the Irish community hitherto prevented from viewing them due to geographical distance or impaired mobility.

By protecting, sharing and celebrating the heritage of the Irish in Britain, this project will raise awareness and deepen understanding of the Irish diaspora. Digitisation of this largely untapped resource will open the Archive's contents to a much wider constituency and offer a new way for the Irish community in Britain to communicate and interconnect. It will include cataloguing of the digitised collections and online access to an extensive information base for research and study by individual researchers and community practitioners.

By raising awareness and appreciation of Irish Community history, this project will nurture a sense of pride in Ireland and Irish identity abroad and help to contribute to the strengthening of Irish-British relations now and in years to come.

For further information about the project, please contact:

Irish in Britain Archive - President's Visit
Visit to the Archive of the Irish in Britain by the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, in 2016.

London Metropolitan University gratefully acknowledges the support of the Irish government’s Emigrant Support Programme.

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