University Archive and Special Collections

We are proud to say that our university is home to several special collections. Here you will find out what is on display and why we value them so much.

Our Role

A resource for all, the University Archive and Special Collections preserves, promotes and shares the documentary heritage, research resources and artefacts of the University, and seeks to develop collections which both support the University’s vision and foster a sense of identity and standing. The Archive and Special Collections serve the University’s staff, students and stakeholders, researchers from other institutions, and anyone in the wider community.

Our Collections

University of Cumbria Heritage Archives

Records relating to the University of Cumbria’s formation and activities, as well as the activities of legacy institutions including S. Martin’s College, Charlotte Mason College and Cumbria Institute of the Arts.

Key subject areas include: history of education; local history


Francis Carr Papers

Papers relating to all aspects of the work of artist Francis Carr (1919-2013), 1930s to 2000s. Carr founded the Landscape and Arts Network in 1993, with the aim of bringing together landscape architects, architects, artists, educationalists and ecologists in collaboration on environmental projects.

Key subject areas include: art, architecture, environment



The University Art Collection contains works by artists including Barbara Hepworth, John Bratby, Shawn Williamson, Paul Mount, Norman Adams, and Fred. Yates.

Key subject areas include: late 19th – 20th century visual art


Rawnsley Collection

Printed books and journals from the late 19th and early 20th century, donated by Willingham F. Rawnsley (1845?-1927), elder brother of Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley.

Key subject areas include: English literature, Greek drama, history


Scouting Collection

An extensive collection of printed books and journals relating to all aspects of the Scouting and Guiding Movement throughout the 20th century, donated by Kenneth Caton Jackson.

Key subject areas include: outdoor education, social history, gender studies


Rare Books

The collection comprises early editions of a range of books, and journals including The Studio: An Illustrated Magazine of Fine and Applied Art (1893-1949) and The Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society (1840-1889).


In addition, we house the library of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological SocietyClick here to find out more about the collection and request procedures.

Researcher appointments

Due to limited resources, it is essential that you book appointments at least five working days in advance. We will send an email to confirm your booking and the University campus library at which the material can be consulted. Conservation issues may limit access to some items. Please contact us at with requests for materials; to discuss items and requests; or for further research support.


Click here to read about the redisplay of Barbara Hepworth’s maquette ‘Winged Figure’ in the University’s Harold Bridges Library, Lancaster.

Click here to read about Fred Yates’ murals in the ‘Millet’ building on our Ambleside campus.

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