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Explore your archives

Posted on 22 November 2020

Add value to your assignments and research by exploring the unique resources, only available here at York, relating to a wide range of academic subjects, held on campus at the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

You already use the University Library to support your studies and research, but how often do you turn right rather than left once you’re through the turnstiles?

In the Raymond Burton building, you’ll find the Borthwick Institute for Archives with a searchroom and microform room currently open by appointment Monday to Wednesday, 10am - 4pm. The collections available to our students cover nearly 1,000 years of international history, but it’s not just a resource for historians…

If you’re interested in the history of the University, York, or Yorkshire, you’ll find a wealth of information in the University’s own archives, as well as the archives of local businesses (including Rowntree’s, Terrys, and Vickers Instruments), and of prominent local families (including the Earls of Halifax, the Yarburgh family of Heslington Hall, York, and the Earls of Harewood).

The Borthwick cares for the archives of York NHS Trust. These include the fascinating records of York’s Victorian and Edwardian psychiatric hospitals, such The Retreat and Bootham Park, opening a window into a hidden area of public health over the past 150 years, and giving glimpses into the personal tragedies and recoveries of York citizens.

We hold the archive of the Archbishop of York, which dates from the medieval period to the present and include some half a million wills, as well as parish registers for York and the surrounding area.

You can explore a vast collection of architectural archives, including the files, plans and drawings of the York-based firm of Atkinson Brierley, the archive of Pace and Sims - designers of many 20th century churches - and of James Russell, a leading 20th century garden designer and horticulturalist.

The Borthwick also holds records collected by the University's former Centre for Southern African studies, including papers relating to South African writers, activists, churchmen and politicians.

The Samuel Storey writing and performance collection is a growing collection of playwrights’ papers, including those of the dramatist Sir Alan Ayckbourn, comedy writer and broadcaster Barry Took, the TV comedy writers Marks and Gran, and the TV and film screenwriter Charles Wood.

The Archive’s growing environmental holdings include the archive of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, York and District Field Naturalists Society and Yorkshire Philosophical Society.

The team of Archivists and Archive Assistants can help you find the resources relevant to your work, and enable you to access them. Explore the full extent of our holdings, and find out how you can use them: