Accessibility statement

Resources for CECS students



York has been an important political, cultural, religious and trading centre since Roman times, and is particularly rich in Georgian architecture. With a population of approximately 150,000, York is a university town that’s big enough to feel cosmopolitan but small enough not to be overwhelming.

York is centrally located in the UK, midway between the major capitals of London and Edinburgh, with excellent transport links. We’re just two hours from London by train, and well served by international airports at nearby Leeds and Manchester.

The Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the King’s Manor combines a dynamic research culture with a beautiful historic setting. The Centre’s postgraduate study room and computer facilities at the King’s Manor mean students can enjoy exploring the latest online resources from a medieval building in York city centre. You can re-enact eighteenth-century polite sociability in one of York’s many coffee-houses, visit the York Art Gallery across the square, or have lunch in the eighteenth-century York Assembly Rooms round the corner from the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies.

Eighteenth-century York


The New Walk by the river used to be a fashionable place to promenade in the eighteenth century, as you can see from this picture.

York Conservation Trust provides a timeline and walking-guide to historic York.

From the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, you can easily walk to:

  • The Assembly Rooms, visited by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
  • The Yorkshire Museum and Museum Gardens.  The Yorkshire Philosophical Society opened the Museum and Gardens in the 1830s, and you can visit them today.
  • York Theatre Royal If you’re interested in the theatre during this period, you might enjoy Mrs Jordan’s Profession by Claire Tomalin (Penguin, 1995; new ed., 2003), which is a fascinating story of Dora Jordan, an actress who actually performed in York Theatre Royal during her career. Perdita by Paula Byrne tells the story of Mary Robinson, an actress and author. You might also want to visit the Georgian Theatre Royal in nearby Richmond. In 2017 the theatre commissioned Declan McCormack to produce an introductory film for visitors to 'The Georgian Theatre Experience’.
  • Nearby Fairfax House often has good exhibitions about eighteenth-century life and culture.
  • The Treasuers's House, birthplace of Elizabeth Montagu (and likely Sarah Scott) 


Country Houses

Yorkshire is particularly rich in country houses. Easily accessible from York by bike or bus, Beningborough Hall has a history spanning 300 years, changing art exhibitions and some beautiful gardens.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu lived in Middlethorpe Hall for a while. It's now an exclusive restaurant/spa - but they also do traditional teas. It is a beautiful house, well worth a visit if you can afford it.

Castle Howard will be especially worth visiting in the summer, as the gardens are extensive, rolling and green, and there is a large walled rose-garden.

There are many other wonderful country houses in Yorkshire. The University has established a partnership with some to form the  Yorkshire Country Houses Project.

York Libraries

Libraries and Collections in York

The main University of York JB Morrell Library is situated on campus between the Raymond Burton Library for Humanities Research, which houses the Borthwick Institute Archives, and the Harry Fairhurst Building, where you can book study rooms.

The University also has a library at the King’s Manor, which houses collections relating to architecture and gardens, heritage management, stained glass and the "long" 18th Century.

In addition to its print and microfilm holdings, the University Library provides access to an impressive and exciting range of digital resources.   

Members of the School have access to a rich and expanding range of resources at York’s libraries. The university library subscribes to Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO), with thousands of digitized facsimiles of books and periodicals from the period. The university provides access also to major research tools, including Literature Online, the MLA, JSTOR and Project Muse. Access to these and many other databases are available via York metalib .

The Special Collections at the University’s Borthwick Institute holds around 30,000 books on a wide range of subjects. 18th century literature and poetry are found throughout the collection, and two collections particularly support this subject; Dyson and Heath. All items in special Collections can be found in the online catalogue via Yorsearch. More details on visiting here.

The Dyson collection is primarily English poetry with some literary criticism and biography.  Hugo Dyson was Emeritus Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and one of the Inklings, a literary discussion group that included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Publication dates range from the 17th to the 19th century although there are later editions of Roman and Greek poetry. The collection includes the first and second editions of Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800), and Coleridge’s Fears of Solitude (1798).

The Heath collection includes holdings in 18th century poetry and other genres. Women writers include Frances Burney, playwright Elizabeth Inchbald and other members of the ‘Bluestockings’ such as Elizabeth Carter, Hester Chapone, Hannah More and Elizabeth Montagu.

Staff and students have access to the holding at York’s Minster Library, which is particularly strong in period newspapers and sermons.  The Old Palace also houses York Minster Archives, which contains York Minster's manuscripts and records which can be consulted via appointment.

A regular bus service also runs from York to the British Library Document Supply Centre at Boston Spa, which provides a comprehensive collection of monographs, manuscripts and rare books.

The York Explore - Libraries and Archives may have some relevant academic works for reference or loan. It has a valuable reference collection of local history materials, including files of local newspapers since the eighteenth century (with subject index), and a collection of some 9,000 photographs of York over the past hundred years. It also has the Sir John Marriott Memorial Library, specialising in modern European history, 1789-1945.  The York City Archives contain not only civic records for York from the medieval period onwards, but also numerous other private and institutional deposits relating to the history of York and its people.

York and North Yorkshire includes a diverse collection of resources for researchers that reflects the area’s cultural and commercial importance during the period. These include Fairfax House, with strong holdings in furniture, domestic artefacts and annual exhibits; the Castle Museum, with good holdings in textiles and costume; Beningbrough HallShandy Hall (Laurence Sterne’s home); The Bowes Museum, with strong collections of paintings and decorative arts; and many other nearby country houses (such as Harewood House). 

Yorkshire Country House Partnership Libraries Project

The University Library and six houses in the Partnership (Brodsworth Hall, Burton Constable, Castle Howard, Harewood House, Lotherton Hall, and Temple Newsam) collaborated in a project to review and create a brief catalogue of their library collections.

Other Libraries

Access to Libraries outside York

From York there are excellent communications by road and rail with the rest of the country. London is only two hours away by train and most major provincial cities can be reached by mid-morning at the latest.

Boston Spa Reading Room
York is  the nearest university to the British Library document supply centre at Boston Spa, the central national repository for the UK inter-library loans service and the largest lending library in Europe. The University provides a free minibus service to the BLDSC on alternate Wednesdays and Fridays, on a pre-book basis through the library's lending services.  Items for consultation at BLDSC should be booked six working days in advance of a visit. A trip to Boston Spa can often save you time and money.

British Library London
The British Library is the world's largest library and one of the world's major research libraries, holding over 150 million items in all known languages and formats. You will need to apply for a reading ticket if you wish to use the London reading rooms.

Library Hub Discover UK & Irish academic and research library catalogue. The most useful way to search for material not held by York libraries.

Sconul Access

SCONUL Access is a reciprocal access scheme, granting borrowing privileges to many types of library users working or studying at participating higher education libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland. (N.B. While it will enable you to use many key libraries, Sconul does not give you access to the British Library, the Bodleian or Cambridge University Library: you will need to apply for separate reader passes for these libraries, so remember to check that SCONUL covers the library you need to use before setting off anywhere! Remember too that some libraries need letters of support/ verification from academic staff, so check on the library websites and ensure you have all the supporting documents you need well in advance.)

Some other northern libraries you might like to explore

University of Hull

University of Leeds

University of Liverpool

University of Manchester Click here for information on the beautiful and extensive John Rylands Library at Manchester

Great North Museum Library (Newcastle Upon Tyne) Including the Library and Archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria, the Library of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (formerly at Black Gate), and Newcastle University’s Cowen Library.

Sheffield University Library

Other useful specialist libraries 

History of Medicine


  • The Bar Convent in York  The Bar Convent Library specialises in Church History, with a focus on the history of the recusancy period in England and the 19th century Catholic revival. There is also an important collection of about 1,300 antique books dating from 1508 to 1850. The Bar Convent Archives house the records of the Bar Convent’s 300 year history, with earlier Mary Ward documents.
  • Catholic Archives Society 
  • Catholic National Library is located at the University of Durham. The Catholic National Library has over 70,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals including theology, spirituality and related subjects, biography, history (including Catholic Family History), and many works not freely available elsewhere. There is also a rare collection of Catholic fiction.
  • Dr Williams's Library is the pre-eminent research library of English Protestant nonconformity. Established under the will of Dr Daniel Williams, the Library is one of the oldest open to the public still conducted on its original benefaction. It has never received any government funding.
  • Lambeth Palace Library  Founded in 1610, the Library is one of England's oldest public libraries, and has had a rich and varied history.
  • Gladstone’s Library at St Deiniol’s specialises in Theology and Victorian Studies.
  • Manchester Wesleyan Research Centre The Manchester Wesley Research Centre promotes and supports research on the life and work of John and Charles Wesley, their contemporaries in the 18th century Evangelical Revival, their historical and theological antecedents, their successors in the Wesleyan tradition, and contemporary scholarship in the Wesleyan and Evangelical tradition.
  • Quakers
  • The Library of the Religious Society of Friends The Library is one of the largest collections in the world relating to Quakers and their activities. It is an inspiring resource for understanding peace, prison reform, humanitarian assistance, and the anti-slavery movement as well as Quaker history, faith, thought and practice.
  • Woodbrooke Quaker Studies Centre

Women’s writing

Museums/Art Galleries

British Museums and Art Galleries

York City Art Gallery


The British Library, London

The British Museum, London

The Cartoon Museum, London

The Foundling Museum, London

The Garden Museum, London

Hunterian Museum and Archives at the Royal College of Surgeons 

The National Gallery, London, with links to the Collection and the Collection Online

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

The Natural History Museum, London

The Museum of London

The Paul Mellon Centre for British Art

The National Portrait Gallery, London

Royal Academy of Arts, London

The Royal Holloway Collection (An Introduction to the College Picture Collection)

The Science Museum

Sir John Soane's Museum

The Tate Gallery, London, with a link to the Tate Collection

University College London Art Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Wallace Collection, London

The Wellcome Trust Collection, London


Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria, with a link to the Collection

Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, Oxford

Birmingham Museums and Galleries

Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham

Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby

Derby Museums and Galleries

Fashion Museum, Bath

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, with a link to the Collections

Lady Lever Art Gallery, with a link to Collections

Leeds Art Gallery

Liverpool Walker Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery

National Conservation Centre

The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro

Shandy Hall, Coxwold, North Yorkshire, maintained by the Laurence Sterne Trust, holds the world's largest collection of material relating to Laurence Sterne.

Sheffield Museums and Galleries

The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (UK)

Wilberforce House, Hull  

World Museum

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath


Aberdeen Glasgow Museums

The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery (University of Glasgow), Glasgow  

Marischal Museum (University of Aberdeen)

National Galleries of Scotland, with a link to the Online Collection


National Museum & Gallery of Wales, Cardiff

Other useful art websites


Online Resources

Useful eighteenth-century resources

National Archives
The UK government's official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. Also includes the ARCHON online directory.

Jack Lynch's excellent  Eighteenth-Century Resources and the Voice of the Shuttle's Eighteenth Century & Romanticism pages include comprehensive lists of links. Also useful is the IHR's searchable database of internet history resources, Connected Histories History Online. Art History Resources on the Web  has useful links to museums and art galleries world-wide.  

Some major & generally reliable online archives of electronic texts include

  • The University of Virginia's  Electronic Text Centre
  • Sydney's scholarly text and image service SETIS  
  • Alex at Berkley 
  • UPenn's  Online Books
  • the online texts at Bartleby.
  • Jack Lynch's Electronic Texts page is by far the most comprehensive listing of e-texts across the disciplines over the long eighteenth century
  • See also  BCMSV, a searchable database of seventeenth and eighteenth-century verse from the Brotherton Library at Leeds.

Don't forget the manuscript and text collections availabe via Metalib

  • 19th Century British Library Newspapers
  • American Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
  • American National Biography
  • Archive of Americana
  • Bibliography of British and Irish History (Brepolis)
  • British Literary Manuscripts Online, c.1660-1900
  • British Periodicals Collection (ProQuest)
  • Cambridge Companions Online: Literature and Classics
  • Carlyle Letters Online
  • Early English Books Online (EEBO)
  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
  • Empire Online
  • English Poetry Full-text Database
  • Gerritsen Collection - Women's History Online 1543-1945
  • Grand Tour
  • Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003
  • LION - Literature Online
  • Literary Manuscripts: 17th and 18th Century Poetry from the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds
  • Literary Manuscripts: Victorian Manuscripts from the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library
  • London Low Life
  • Past Master - English Letters
  • Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers, 1500-1700
  • Project MUSE
  • State Papers Online Domestic & Foreign, 1509-1985
  • Times digital Archive, 1785-1985
  • Victorian Popular Culture


  • The Corvey Project 
  • H-Net, Humanities and Social Sciences Online - an excellent site covering most aspects of interdiscipinary study, including new publications, reviews, call for papers, conferences, jobs etc.

Research Resources by Subject   

American History
Art History
Architecture and Landscape
British History
France & French Revolution

The VOS's  French Revolution section
Mark Olson's  French Revolutionary Pamphlets
Napoleon Bonaparte Internet Guide

Gender, Women's History & Writing
History of Science & Medicine
Newspapers & Journals
Political Economy
Scottish Enlightenment

Slavery and Abolition


Slave narratives and related writings