Special Collections news

Researching LGBTQIA+ histories

June 2023: LGBTQIA+ Pride Month runs throughout June and is an opportunity to both reflect on and celebrate a history of social activism, personal struggle, creativity and education represented in related documents we hold in our Special Collections. For example, the 'Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers'(1976-2007) in our Trades Union Library collections.

The FWWCP was a voluntary, community-run organisation designed to allow ordinary, working-class people to share and discuss their creative writing and facilitate community self-publication. The Federation often represented groups of writers on the periphery of society, including ethnic groups, lesbian and gay groups, and members with mental health issues. Of particular interest, are collections like Northern Gay Writers, Daring Hearts Lesbian and Gay lives of 1950s/60s Brighton, and Let's be Gay! and other selected poems.

To find out more, please visit our online catalogue and search ‘Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers'.

Celebrating Community

May 2023: Each year during May, Local and Community History Month takes place across the country, and within our Special Collections we have many records that document the lived experience of individuals, alongside the work of community groups.

One in particular is the Irish Community within the UK, for which we hold over 100 rare and unique archives that span a period from the late 19th century to the present. These records tell a story of Irish settlement, documenting the places and historical events that shaped this history.

To find out more, please visit our online catalogue and search ‘The Archive of the Irish in Britain’ under Featured Collections.

Open House Festival 2022

August 2022: Library Services and Special Collections are excited to announce that the Wash Houses on Aldgate Campus will be participating in this year’s Open House Festival 2022, a two-week celebration of London’s housing, architecture and neighbourhoods. Our RIBA* award-winning building will open its doors on Friday 16 (10am to 4pm) and Saturday 17 September 2022 (1pm to 5pm) when, in addition to appreciating the many striking architectural features of the building, visitors will have the opportunity to view displays of choice items from the diverse collections contained within its walls.

The Festival Programme is set to go live on 24 August 2022; in the meantime, however, please do spread the word!

*Royal Institute of British Architects

TUC Library centenary celebration

May 2022: The TUC Library is celebrating it’s centenary this year. Founded in 1922 to support the Trades Union Congress, affiliated trade unions and the Labour Party, the library has become the major research library for the study of all aspects of trade unions, industrial relations and labour history. The University is fortunate to house the TUC Library in its Special Collections. To mark the occasion the TUC has produced a lovely badge which can be purchased from their website.

E & A Wates Collection

April 2021: We are delighted to announce that we have taken delivery of a substantial collection of archival and other material from the E & A Wates Furniture and Interior Design Company in Streatham, London. This includes recent British wallpaper and fabric samples as well as the business records of the company.

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