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Archives in London and the M25 area

Chelsea College Library Records

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0100 KCLCA 1986/CAL, 1992/CAL, CAL/H, CAL/FP, CAL/RG, CAL/CB, CAL/RJ
Held at: King's College London College Archives
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Full title: Chelsea College Library Records
Date(s): 1895-1987
Level of description: Sub-fonds of King's College London Archives
Extent: 18 boxes and 10 volumes
Name of creator(s): South-Western Polytechnic
Chelsea Polytechnic
Chelsea College of Science and Technology
Chelsea College


Administrative/Biographical history:

Library provision at the South-Western Polytechnic was restricted to the availability of reading room space. Students were expected to use the adjacent Chelsea Public Library in order to consult books and periodicals. The inconvenience of this arrangement led to the creation of a Library Committee in 1921. The consequent library remained comparatively small until the post-World War Two expansion in provision that witnessed an increase in the number of titles from around 8000 in 1960 to 80,000 in 1970. These were divided between the Main Library, branch libraries situated on the principal College sites, and departmental collections of reference volumes. All of these were combined with the King's Library when the Colleges merged in 1985.


Scope and content/abstract:

Chelsea College Library records, 1895-1987, comprise papers collected by the College Library or describing the work of the Library on the Chelsea campus following the merger with King's College in 1985, notably correspondence with the College Secretary and departments, 1974-1980; papers relating to Library computerisation, 1979-1987; staffing and salary matters, 1978-1985; University Grants Committee papers on libraries, 1974-1982; History and Philosophy of Science Library correspondence and bibliography, 1964-1987; Chelsea Campus Libraries Users Committee notes, 1985-1987; finance, 1975-1977; concerning the College History Collection, 1965-1974; notes relating to building and planning at the King's Road site, 1971-1987; University of London merger and other papers, 1978-1983; reports on medical education in London, 1980; concerning Library private papers, 1949-1970; Library Annual Reports, 1963-1987 (1992/CAL, CAL/1986); correspondence concerning Library donors and Zoology reprints, 1967-1985 (Ref: 1986/CAL); accessions registers, 1921-1975 (Ref: CAL/RG); lists of current periodicals, 1960-1974 (Ref: CAL/RGJ); payments books for stock, equipment and expenses, 1960-1973 (Ref: CAL/CB); Library staff personnel files for leavers between 1970-1976 (Ref: CAL/FP); material concerning the history of the College accumulated by the Library, including charters, official reports, with some press cuttings, 1914-1981 (Ref: CAL/H).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection is arranged into the main series outlined in the Scope and Content section.

Conditions governing access:

Administrative records are generally closed for thirty years from the last date on the file. Personnel files are closed for eighty years.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, can be supplied to appropriate College staff. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services, King's College London.

Finding aids:

Detailed contents list is available for consultation in hard copy in the King's College London Archives Reading Room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Chelsea College Library

Allied Materials

Related material:

King's College London Library papers (Ref: KAL). The main Secretarial and Minute Book series for Chelsea College also cover the administration of the Library (Ref: CAS, CA/M); Title Deeds and Legal Documents, Press Cuttings (Ref: C/CSA, C/PC).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: H Silver and S J Teague eds, Chelsea College - A History (London, 1977). Entry compiled by Geoff Browell as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997; ISAD(G), Second edition, 2000.

Date(s) of descriptions:
March 2002

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