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Cambridge University Library


Cambridge University Library is delighted to be awarded the Archive Service Accreditation from The National Archives and this week we marked this special award at a certificate-giving ceremony.

Accredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of the UK’s archive heritage. Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery and achieving accredited status demonstrates that Cambridge University Library has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing, the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its entire range of users.

Collected over centuries, the archives cared for by Cambridge University Library, which celebrated its 600th anniversary in 2016, are legion. They include:

  • Papers of over 200 scientists including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and the Royal Greenwich Observatory archives.
  • Writers including World War One poet Siegfried Sassoon and novelist Margaret Drabble.
  • Cambridge University Archives from medieval charters and statutes to modern departmental records, such as those of the Cavendish Laboratory and Computer Laboratory; including records of student clubs and societies such as the Footlights; and the archives of Cambridge University Press.
  • Company archives including the diversified Asian-based group Jardine Matheson and Co, industrial firm Vickers and the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company, forebear of the ‘Cambridge phenomenon’.
  • Religious archives from the Bible Society to the Ely Dean and Chapter and Ely Diocesan Records.
  • The archive of the Society for Psychical Research (founded 1882).
  • The Royal Commonwealth Society's archival collections - important written and visual documentary resources for anyone studying the history of the Commonwealth or Britain's former colonial territories, including rich photographic collections and the papers of individuals and organisations.
  • Papers of statesmen including Prime Ministers Spencer Perceval (1762-1812) and Stanley Baldwin, (1867-1947), as well as a number of nineteenth- and twentieth-century cabinet ministers, diplomats and colonial administrators.
  • Estate papers including those of the Vanneck Family, Cholmondeley (Houghton), Hengrave Hall, the Coke Family of Weasenham and others, which, in addition to University Archives and Ely Diocesan and Dean and Chapter records, comprise one of the largest and most significant holdings of judicial and estate papers documenting social history in East Anglia outside the county record offices.
  • Twentieth-century British music including composers William Alwyn, Arthur Bliss, Roberto Gerhard and Peter Tranchell.
  • The cartographic archive of the Charles Close Society.

Dr Katrina Dean, Keeper of Archives and Modern Manuscripts commented: “Every week, if not every day, something remarkable is re-discovered by the current generation of archivists and researchers for new audiences. A well-managed archive is the engine of archival discovery and we are working with all our stakeholders to develop collections and services for the digital age, including a new online archives catalogue and digital resources.” 

The Archive Service Accreditation Panel “commended the transformative work which is under way within the archive service and the wider Library.

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a UK-wide partnership of The National Archives, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Welsh Government through its Museums Archives and Libraries Wales Division, Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), Scottish Council on Archives, and Archives and Records Council Wales.





Banner image: Sketch, Hospital ward with the head of the ?German Kaiser looking on, from Siegfried Sassoon’s Journal, 26 June 1916-12 Aug. 1916 (MS Add.9852/1/7, f. 36r)