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Archives of Cambridge University Library, 1424 - 2019

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/ULIB

Scope and Contents

The records relate to the development and management of the Library's holdings, buildings and staff.


  • Creation: 1424 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

Records of governance and finance are restricted for 50 and 30 years respectively by order of the Library Syndicate. Records containing personal data restricted for 80 years under data protection legislation. Restrictions are clearly indicated in catalogue entries.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to publish text should be addressed to the Keeper of University Archives, photographs to the Head of the Digital Content Unit. Both are at Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR.

Biographical / Historical

The Library was housed in the Schools buildings and vicinity from about 1350 until 1934 when it moved to new, purpose-built accommodation west of the river, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. For preliminary information, see J.C.T. Oates Cambridge University Library: a history. From the beginnings to the Copyright Act of Queen Anne (CUP: Cambridge, 1986) and David McKitterick Cambridge University Library: a history. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (CUP: Cambridge, 1986).


c. 200 linear metre(s) : paper, photograph, negative, wood, metal

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The archive is generally in a good physical condition throughout. However, certain Stationers' Hall lists and other volumes associated with legal deposit have broken and fragile bindings.

Other Finding Aids

Material relating to the Library among the records then held in the Registry, chiefly in the series known as Registry volumes (CUR 31.1-4), University Papers (UP) and administrative collections (Collect.Admin.4) were catalogued by the then Registry H.R. Luard and published in A chronological list of the graces, documents and other papers in the University Registry which concern the University Library (CUP: Cambridge, 1870). A hard copy of the catalogue, completed in 2001, is available in the in the Reading Room of the Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (reference: UA In.30).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive was assembled in the Library from the seventeenth century onwards. It was brought down from Tower 9 to join the University Archives in January 2000 and regular additions to series from departments throughout the Library have been made ever since. The archives are a permanent transfer to the University Archives.


Certain voluminous ephemeral series were destroyed, Jan. 2000, keeping one item only from each as example of administrative practice.

Related Materials

Certain library archives, in particular early catalogues, are among the 2 letter and Additional Manuscript classes.


This online catalogue was completed in 2001 and has been regularly updated to record later archival additions.

Date information

DateText: start date is of a photocopy, made in the 1970s, of the earliest extant catalogue; original records are dated 17th-21st centuries.


Cambridge University Library

Finding aid date

2000-07-07 16:56:27+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom