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Library of Bedford College

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0505 BC AL900-990
Held at: Royal Holloway, University of London
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Full title: Library of Bedford College
Date(s): 1886-1974
Level of description: Subfonds of Bedford College
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Extent: 31 boxes and 6 volumes or 0.37 cubic metres
Name of creator(s): Bedford College | Library
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Council set up the Library Committee in 1886, though Rachel Notcutt had been Librarian since 1872. The original Committee included six former students, a representative of the present students, the Secretary of Council, and the Librarian. A member of the Council and a further two present students were added in 1890, but staff were not represented until 1895, when two were allowed to sit on the Committee. At the same time, the former students were removed from the Library Committee and replaced by the Chairman and seven members of the Council. The Principal became an ex officio member, and a fourth present student was added. The 1909 Charter removed student representation altogether. The composition altered once more in 1937, and the Committee comprised all Heads of Departments, a member of Assistant staff from each Faculty, four Council representatives and the ex officio Committee members. The Librarian has throughout acted as Secretary to the Committee. After the resignation of Rachel Notcutt in 1896, volunteers held the post until 1902, when a full time Librarian was appointed. The Library staff slowly increased, and in 1926 the Librarian was assigned the status of Head of an academic department. The scope of the Committee was to draw up rules for the use of the Library, and to arrange the books.


Scope and content/abstract:

Material relating to Bedford College Library, 1849-85, notably Minutes of the Library Committee, 1886-1983; Library working files, 1918-1985, on subjects including war arrangements, grant, University libraries, estimates and expenditure, staff and salaries and departmental matters; correspondence between the Librarian and the Secretary of the Council, 1889-1950; Library correspondence relating to alterations and repairs, 1932-1954; Library lists and registers, 1849-1985, including a Visitors' Book, 1953-1985, and Withdrawals Registers, 1917-1922 and 1954-1974; papers relating to insect problems in the Library, 1951; Doris Bains's statistics book and Library Staff Book; miscellaneous literary works, [1940-1959]; University Grants Committee (UGC) liaison reports, 1964; papers relating to the reclassification of the Library stock, 1969-1970; Library Accessions Register, 1897-1971; Pamphlet Accessions Register, 1921-1971; Donations Register, 1963-1970; plans by Maxwell Ayrton relating to the Tate Library extension, 1932-1950; plans by Easton and Robertson relating to the Tate and Herringham Library extension, 1961-1963.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged according to subject.

Conditions governing access:

Administrative and Committee papers are closed for 30 years from the last date on file. Papers relating to individuals are usually closed for 100 years from the subject's birth. Users are advised to consult the College Archivist for specific details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies of open material may be supplied, subject to the condition of the original. Requests to publish original material should be directed to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

'A catalogue of the Archives of Bedford College (University of London), 1849-1985' by Claire Gobbi Daunton and Elizabeth Bennett, 1987.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The papers were transferred from the Bedford College Archives when the College merged with Royal Holloway in 1985.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Royal Holloway, University of London Archives hold other papers relating to the Library including minutes of the Committee for Alterations to the Library, 1931-1932 (GB161/2/1); Registrar's Committee papers of the Library Committee, 1971-1982, (BC AR270/3/1-2); a report on future Library accommodation in the Acland Building, 1971 (AR555/1); typescript piece by a Library Trainee entitled 'A short history of Bedford College Library', [1972] (RF121/3/1); an article on 'Library shelving' from Harvey Magazine, Dec 1964 (RF121/3/2); and various articles on the history of the Library [1953] (RF121/3/3); printing block for the Bedford College Library bookplate (RF170/7); and photographs of Jessie Paterson, Librarian from 1907-1941 (BC PH1).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

A history of Bedford College for Women, 1849-1937 (Oxford University Press, London, 1939), by Dame Margaret Jansen Tuke; Educating women: a pictorial history of Bedford College, University of London, 1849-1985 (Alma Publishers, Surrey, 1991), by Dr Linna Bentley.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with general International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Apr 2000

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