Archival Work

UEL Archives

I have been working in the Higher Education (HE) library and archives sector for over 15 years now. Having originally qualified as a librarian after completing my professional postgraduate qualification, I soon found that the lure of the Archive was too great to resist. For most of the last fifteen years I have been based at the University of East London. My primary responsibility has included the management and development of the Refugee Council Archive, but which also now includes the archives of the British Olympic Association; Eastside Community Heritage; and the Hackney Empire Theatre as well as the University of East London institutional archive.

Refugee Council Archive

The Refugee Council Archive at the University of East London represents one of the largest collections of materials relating to the study of forced migration and the refugee. It is a source of information and analysis on displacement, flight and exile; on legal, political and social issues; and on refugee community life.

The Archive contains materials on refugees in all parts of the world, with special emphasis on Britain. It was originally housed at the Refugee Council, the lead organization in Britain on refugee issues. For over 30 years the Refugee Council collected official and unofficial reports, books and journals, newsletters, conference proceedings, research documents, field reports, informal data, and working papers. It also developed an extensive library of press cuttings.  In addition to this Special Collection, the Archive also contains archival material recording the history of the Refugee Council as an organisation.  A history of the development of the Refugee Council itself can be found here.

Further refugee and migration related collections held include: The Council for At-Risk Academics Archive ; The UNHCR Audio-Visual Archive ;the Northern Refugee Centre ; Charter 87 ; and the Cambridge Refugee Support Group.

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UEL Archives Website

Eastside Community Heritage Archive

During 1999 Eastside were able to start collecting materials for their oral history and copy visual collection which was subsequently entitled the East London People’s Archive.   The Archive now contains numerous oral histories and reproductions of photographs taken from the many projects undertaken to date.  Since its inception, Eastside has been involved with a number of community projects relating to the recording and promotion of local history both in East London and the surrounding boroughs of the Thames Gateway region.  ECH have also developed an extensive and informative website entitled Hidden Histories and this can be views online by following this link:-

British Olympic Association Archive

The University of East London was chosen to host the historical archive and book collection of the BOA in the run up to the 2012 London Olympic Games.  Containing material relating to the history and work of the Association from 1906-2009, it notably includes records concerning the organization of the 1908 and 1948 London Olympic Games. The collection is open to researchers, however some sections are still undergoing cataloguing. Access is by appointment only, please contact the Archives for further information.

Hackney Empire Theatre Archive

The first accession of the Hackney Empire collection arrived at UEL during the spring of 2007. Deposited by Roland Muldoon, who had been artistic director of the Theatre, the collection contains a broad range of materials relating to Muldoon’s creative career including posters, programmes, audio-visual materials and other ephemera relating to Hackney Empire after its rebirth in 1986. The collection is presently undergoing cataloguing but some parts of it may be accessible. Please contact the Archives for further information.

In addition, we maintain the East London Theatre Archive and the Online Theatre Histories Archive digital archive portals.  These are available online at and at respectively.

UEL Institutional Archives

A relatively small institutional archive survives for the University of East London, and its predecessor institutions, although sadly much of the material appears now to be lost.

There is evidence of surviving material in relation to:

  • The University of East London (1992-2010).
  • Girls’ Commercial Secondary School, Walthamstow (1923-1937).
  • North East London Polytechnic / Polytechnic of East London (1968-1992).
  • South East Essex Technical College / South East Essex Technical College and School of Art / Barking Regional College of Technology (1936-1970).
  • South West Essex Technical College / South West Essex Technical College and School of Art (1938-1970).
  • Municipal Technical Institute / West Ham Technical College / West Ham College of Technology (1898-1970).
  • Walthamstow School of Art (1902-1908).
  • Walthamstow Technical Institute / Walthamstow Technical College (1920-1938).
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UEL Archives Room