Other Special Collections

Three photos. From left to right: some periodicals, a handmade violin and a timber library.

Our Special Collections benefit from being stored in specially designed vaults which provide the correct temperature and humidity for the preservation and conservation of the material, the selection of which is based on age, fragility and/or the ephemeral nature of the material itself.

  • Age - books and periodicals over 100 years old are relocated into our Special Collections.

  • Fragility - items that have fragile paper, or damaged bindings may be relocated to our Special Collections.

  • Ephemera - some materials that need more careful storage due to their physical design, or lack of availability in other Libraries are placed in Special Collections for safe-keeping.

Other Material held by Special Collections: Documentation

  • Books and Periodicals

    Special Collections’ Books and Periodicals is a collection of old, unique or rare library material on a wide range of arts and craft-related subjects which reflect the history of the School of Art, Architecture and Design. All material in the collection is listed on the University’s library catalogue; however, as many items are unique, distinctive, fragile or rare they are not kept on open shelves with the rest of the Library stock.

    Periodicals include The Cabinet Maker (from 1882) and the Architectural Review (from 1896).

  • Trade literature

    A substantial collection of catalogues, advertising and customer technical communications with particular reference to furniture, interior design and product materials.

  • Grey Literature

    ‘Grey literature’ is defined as materials and research produced by organizations outside of the traditional commercial or academic publishing and distribution channels. Common grey literature publication types include reports (annual, research, technical, project, etc.), working papers, government documents, white papers and evaluations. Organizations that produce grey literature include government departments and agencies, civil society or non-governmental organisations, academic centres and departments, and private companies and consultants.


Two collections originate from the same precursor institution; namely, the London College of Furniture. These are:

  • a xylarium – an extensive library of approximately 650 timber samples from across the world, some of which are representative of species now extinct. A list of the contents available on request.

  • a collection musical instruments that were manufactured during the 1970s and 1980s by students of the College.

Much of the published material can be found on our catalogue.

If you have any queries about the availability of material, or wish to book an appointment please contact us via specialcollections@londonmet.ac.uk

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