University Archive & Special Collections Centre: University Archive

University Archive


The Centre houses a growing collection of historical archive documents relating to the University’s history. This invaluable resource comprises of bound volumes, registers, minute books, prospectuses, news cuttings and photographic material. The continuance of the University Archive is being guaranteed through the deposit of current University source books such as prospectuses, statistical handbooks and topical press cuttings.

Documenting the history of the University, the archive includes the central records of the constituent colleges, primarily those of the College of Commerce, through the polytechnic years, and up to the present day. Material held relates from the late 1800's to the present. 

We actively collect and preserve records of permanent value. These records provide an important resource for researching the history of the University, higher education institutions and the wider community.

At present the University archives are not catalogued but work is progressing to arrange and list the records we hold. The archive is open to students and staff within the university and to external researchers. 

Past Prospectuses

We can direct you to various information resources held by the University, both current and historical. These include archive material relating to the history of the University and notable individuals, past publications, and information about previous courses.

Definitive Documents

These working documents record the structure and content for courses offered by BCU and its predecessors and date from 1977 to present day.


Early Printed Books

Our early printed book collection includes Dr Johnson's dictionary; poetical works by Southey and the Literary Gazette 1817-1830.

Library Treasures

Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

BIAD (Birmingham Institute of Art and Design) is steeped in a rich history that dates back to 1843.  It’s a history that has encompassed its formative years as the Birmingham School of Art, its association with William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, through to its modern incarnation spread across various sites as part of Birmingham City University.

For over 150 years, creative talent has been nurtured at BIAD covering fields across the artistic spectrum.

The library holds a collection of rare 18th and 19th century books known as the Library Treasures that has helped inspire talent over the years.

To find out more about the collection or to arrange a visit contact

Arts, Design and Media Archives

More information about the history of the School of Art and their special collections in ADM (Parkside Building) go to: 

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Archive

Our collection of archives includes sheet music, records, books and personal papers from 1859 when the Birmingham School of Music was founded to the present. 

The University also holds a collection of historical instruments

Conservatoire Buildings


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