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About Us

Meet the Special Collections Team

Alison Cullingford Special Collections Librarian 5256
Martin Levy Special Collections Assistant (Tues-Fri) 6027
James Neill Project Archivist (based in Richmond) 6226
Vanessa Santos-Torres Project Conservator (based in Richmond) 6226

Need help but not sure who to contact?  Use our service contact details, to ensure your query gets to the right person.

In addition to our core staff, you may also meet the Library graduate trainees, plus placement students and other volunteers.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Our Policies

Who can use the collections?  What about making copies?  What about donations of books or archives?  Our Policies webpage has guidance on access, copyright, collection development and more.

Our History

A few Special Collections date back to the University’s origins as the Bradford Technical College, such as the College's archive and its collection of printed books on dyeing. Others were accepted after the University came into being in 1966, such as the Mitrinovic Library, J. B. Priestley Archive, and Yorkshire maps collected by Arthur Raistrick.  The University Archive was set up by Senate in 1967.

The present staffed Special Collections service was created when the University Library received access funding from the Research Support Libraries Programme in 2000. This enabled the appointment of Alison Cullingford as Special Collections Librarian, and the creation of the Special Collections Assistant post, held by John Brooker until 2011 and now Martin Levy.

Initially we concentrated on mapping the collections, and establishing policies and procedures for preservation, disaster control and collection development. Having demonstrated the value of our work, we received an extra year of funding. These two posts are now permanent parts of library staffing. The focus of our work gradually shifted towards marketing, outreach and fundraising, especially encouraging virtual engagement with the collections.  Our achievements were recognised by the Archive Accreditation Scheme: we were the first English university to receive this prestigious award.  We're now creating infrastructure to make digital collecting, preservation and access real and routine and exploring new ways to support University teaching and research.

Since establishing the service, we have acquired other exciting resources, such as the Commonweal Archives and the Jacquetta Hawkes Archive, and enriched those already here, particularly the J. B. Priestley Archive. We are very grateful for the help we have received from colleagues and volunteers over the past years. Special mention should go to the project archivists who have created wonderful resources to help users discover collections: Helen Roberts (PaxCat Project), Emma Burgham (Mitrinovic / New Atlantis Cataloguing Project), and currently James Neill (Putting Flesh on the Bones Project).