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 180,000, 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 the King’s Manor Refectory or in one of York’s many coffee-houses, visit the City 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.
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:
Yorkshire is particularly rich in country houses. Easily accessible from York by bike or bus, Beningborough Hall (linked to the National Portrait Gallery) has some Kit-Kat Club portraits and prints, and also has 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 which is behind a module we run at MA level on Country Houses.
The main University of York Library is the J.B. Morrell Library. It 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 King’s Manor: here you will find book and microfilm holdings relating to architecture and gardens, the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Centre for Medieval Studies, and Archaeology.
In addition to its print and microfilm holdings, the University Library provides access to an impressive and exciting range of digital resources.
Key resources include the superb collection of texts available via Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO); access to this and many other databases is available via York metalib .
The University Library’s Special Collections include the Dyson collection at Heslington campus (which contains many eighteenth-century first editions) and the Stephen Copley collection at The King's Manor. The Library also provides a free bus minibus service to the British Library BLDSC Reading room at Boston Spa.
The King’s Manor Library
The Stephen Copley Collection at the King’s Manor Library is an invaluable resource for those studying the long eighteenth century. King’s Manor Library also holds some fascinating eighteenth-century microfilm collections. See http://www.york.ac.uk/library/libraries/universityofyorklibraries/#whinfieldfor opening times and contact details.
The Borthwick Institute for Archives is one of the major archive repositories in Britain. It holds the records of the Archbishopric of York from the early thirteenth century onwards, and specialises in the study of ecclesiastic institutions. Special deposits include the Rowntree Papers, the Tuke Papers on the Retreat Hospital, part of the Elton Library, an important collection of Southern African holdings, and, for both religious and political historians, the family papers of the Lords of Halifax since the eighteenth century. The Institute is in new purpose-built premises next to the JB Morrell and Raymond Burton Libraries. The entrance to the Institute is through the main Library entrance.
The York Minster Library has particular strengths in liturgical writings, literature, iconography and art history. It contains a large and important local history collection for York and Yorkshire in all periods and holds the archives of the Dean and Chapter. Some of its holdings are borrowable and there is a pleasant reading room looking out onto the city walls.
The City of York Public Library 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 (adjacent to the King’s Manor, within the City Art Gallery building) 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.
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. http://www.york.ac.uk/library/libraries/yorkshirecountryhouselibraries/
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.
COPAC The most useful way to search for material not held by York libraries
The Copac® library catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of many major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library.
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.
SCONUL Access provides borrowing privileges for most:
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.
History of Medicine
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 Maritime Museum, Greenwich
The Natural History Museum, London
The National Portrait Gallery, London
Royal Academy of Arts, London
The Royal Holloway Collection (An Introduction to the College Picture Collection)
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Wallace Collection, London
The Wellcome Trust Collection, London
Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham
Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby
Fashion Museum, Bath
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.
The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (UK)
Wilberforce House, Hull
Victoria Art Gallery, Bath
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery (University of Glasgow), Glasgow
Marischal Museum (University of Aberdeen)
National Museum & Gallery of Wales, Cardiff
Other useful art websites
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
Don't forget the manuscript and text collections availabe via Metalib
Slave narratives and related writings