The BOA logo


The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  The BOA’s principle role is to prepare and lead the nation’s finest athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games.

It was formed in 1905 in the House of Commons, at which time it consisted of seven National Governing Body members from the following sports: fencing, life-saving, cycling, skating, rowing, athletics, rugby, football and archery.

The BOA now includes as its members the thirty-three National Governing Bodies of each Olympic sport, both summer and winter.

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. 

It contains material detailing the history of both British participation in the Olympic Games and the history and development of Olympanism as a movement. The Archive covers the period from 1906-2009, it notably includes records concerning the organization of the 1908 and 1948 London Olympic Games.

However, between 1988 and 1994, the offices of the British Olympic Association suffered a series of floods, which led to a large proportion of the library and archive collection being either destroyed or damaged, resulting in significant gaps in series.

Archive of the BOA as an Organisation – incorporating traditional primary archival materials including:

  • Correspondence
  • Minutes of meetings, and sub-committees
  • Administrative and financial records
  • Material relating to London’s hosting of the Olympic Games in 1908; 1948; and 2012.
  • Organisational records and press cuttings.
  • Photographs; Invitations, programmes and tickets; biographical materials; publicity materials
The Eastside Community Heritage logo


Eastside Community Heritage (ECH) was founded in 1993 as a part of the Stratford City Challenge Community History Project.  This project was initially coordinated by the Newham Museum Service, and in 1997 Eastside became an independent charitable organisation.

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, which can be viewed using the following link:

ECH places a strong emphasis on local and community history and this has included the development of a number of projects endeavouring to preserve and document the lives of 'ordinary' people living and working in East London.

A past example of a project entitled "Working Lives of the Thames Gateway" recorded and preserved people's stories and experiences of working in the many industries that made East London Britain’s gateway to the world.

The Hackney Empire logo


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 such as posters, audio-visual materials and other ephemera relating to Hackney Empire after its rebirth in 1986.

The Refugee Council logo


In 2002 the Refugee Council Archive was brought to the University of East London (UEL), where it is maintained and developed by the Refugee Research Centre in conjunction with the UEL Library and Learning Service (LLS).  The Archive is open to all users, both internal and external to UEL and it serves students, academics, researchers, policy makers, agencies, and in particular refugees, for whom access to dedicated materials on forced migration is often difficult.

The Archive 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.

We also have a dedicated Refugee Archives blog available online at:

In support of this, the Archive also contains:

  • The UNHCR Audio-Visual Archive
  • The Northern Refugee Centre
  • Charter 87
A wide shot of University House located on Stratford Campus


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)
UNHCR logo


During 2006, and in conjunction with the Refugee Council Archive at UEL, we were able to secure a very large donation of resources from the London Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, (UNHCR). This donation includes the UNHCR Slide and Photographic Library which incorporates over thirty boxes of slides and photographs produced by the UNHCR and covering both historical and more recent refugee issues.

In addition to this vastly important collection of images, we have also received the donation of a large selection of Videos and DVD from the UNHCR, which we have concerted to DVD.

Click here to be taken to their website to find out more.

NRC logo


In January 2007, we were very please to accept the donation of the Northern Refugee Centre Archive to our archival collections here at UEL. The Northern Refugee Centre (NRC) was established during 1983 and ran through until 2016. The Archive contains a range of published and unpublished materials including reports, conference papers publications, grey literature and press cuttings. 

OTHA logo


OTHA Background: JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) awarded UEL funding for a project which explores how digital archives are used and can be enhanced. The project has explored how a pre-existing archive, the ELTA - East London Theatre Archive, is used in teaching at three partner institutions, the Institute of Performing Arts Development at UEL and the Royal Holloway College (University of London), the University of Sheffield and the University of Nottingham.

Working with King's College London's Centre for E-Research, the project explored ways of enhancing metadata and improving resource discovery for archives, including experimenting with different approaches to user generated content and user tagging.


The Charter 87 Archive was very kindly donated to UEL in late July 2007 by a former director of the organisation.  Charter 87 was in existence between the years 1987 to 1997 and was concerned with the human rights issues pertaining to refugees and asylum seekers.  Charter 87 also sought the incorporation of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees into British Law.

The archive collection itself consists of approximately 3 feet of shelf space.  Incorporated within this are minutes of the Charter 87 Steering Group; records of correspondence predominantly with the Home Office; records of the organisation’s newsletter and occasional publications and files of press cuttings relating to asylum seekers and refugees.


Voices of Kosovo in Manchester

The voices of Kosovo in Manchester (VOKIM) Archive is a collection of oral history recordings and accompanying resources curated by the Manchester Aid to Kosovo (MaK) charity. MaK began the VOKIM project in 2014 as an oral history project to document and preserve the history of the Kosovar community in Manchester.

The VOKIM physical archive is now hosted at the Refugee Archives at the University of East London; the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre at the Manchester Central Library; the Imperial War Museum in London; and the National Library of Kosovo in Pristina.

The VOKIM website also provides online access to the oral testimonies and educational resources.

Manchester Aid to Kosovo (MaK) was founded in 1999 in response to the ethnic cleansing of Kosovan Albanians in the during the Balkan Conflict.  2,400 Kosovan refugees were evacuated to crisis reception centres in the North West of England.  MaK is now a registered charity supported by volunteers with a focus on issues of justice of justice, human rights and equality. MaK aims to support recovery and development in Kosovo through a range of engagement activities.

Following their evacuation to Manchester in 2000, some of the Kosovan children asked MaK to establish a Peace Park in Kosovo.  The 22-acre Manchester Peace Park in Podujevë, Kosovo was subsequently established in collaboration with organisations including the Eden Project.  MaK continues to engage and work on educational, sporting, art and music activities in both Manchester and Kosovo. 

Crossing the Borders

Crossing the Borders is a recent deposit of oral history project undertaken by The Wai Yin Society in Manchester.  The oral histories were deposited with the UEL Archives in October 2019.  We were very fortunate to be able to support this project on behalf of both the UEL Archives and the Oral History Society Migration Special Group from application to the Heritage Lottery Fund through to the book launch and deposit of the oral histories. A copy of the oral histories has also been deposited with the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre at the Manchester Central Library.

Crossing the Borders focused on working with first generation immigrants of Chinese ethnic origin, who had migrated to Greater Manchester after the Second World War. These oral histories have captured the first-hand testimonies of people who had migrated to Manchester from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Macau and Malaysia.

Gujarati Yatra

The UEL Archive hosted the Gujarati Yatra collection of oral histories, originally collected as part of the `Gujarati Yatra – Journey of a People’ exhibition held at the Museum of Croydon (Clocktower) from 14 November 2017 through to 14 April 2018.  Originally designed as a multi-dimensional museum installation, Gujarati Yatra looked to highlight the cultural heritage and the historical journey of the Indian Gujarati community from the state of Gujarat on the north-west coast of India.

The “exhibition tells the story of the double diaspora of the Gujarati people, many of whom left the westernmost state of India in the 19th century to develop the trade and the industry of ports in the east and south of Africa, before being forced in the 1970s to leave their African homes and communities to find refuge in the UK and other countries.”

The UEL Archives were pleased to work with the exhibition co-curators, Lata Desai and Rolf Killius to help support the long-term preservation and access to the numerous oral histories which were recorded as part of the exhibition process.  Co-curator Lata Desai highlighted the importance of Gujarati Yatra to help support the notions of identity and belonging for the project participants.

This collection of oral histories can be a lasting legacy record of the Gujarati Yatra exhibition, helping to document the Gujarati diaspora community in the UK, the interaction of people and communities in a tangible and intangible culture, the double diaspora of the Guajarati community and adaptation to life in the UK. 

`Yatra’ represents the ancient Sanskrit word for journey and this project not only documented the physical journeys of Guajarati’s but also the journey of Gujrat cultural heritage and the stories of how these communities preserved their culture through language, literature, art and religion.  It also reveals – “through its stories of everyday racism, the Grunwick strike and the extraordinary success of certain individuals – aspects of migration and settlement that will be familiar to people from different cultural backgrounds."

If you are interested in the role that oral history can play in the documentation and preservation of the life history narratives of migration, explore our Oral History Society: Migration Special Interest Group.


UEL Archives is home to a large collection of donated material relating to gender, sexualities and ethnic studies. The collection was developed by the University's MA in the subject, which aims to help students develop a theoretical and empirical understanding of the diverse ways in which gender, sexualities and ethnic divisions are structured and interrelated.

Topics in the collection include racism, multiculturalism, feminism, sexuality, religion, gender, human rights, colonialism, ethnicity, and indigenous people.


Stratford Campus Library (LLS) currently possesses a unique collection of UEL copyright slides devoted to Podiatry. The collection of approximately 3500 – 4000 slides formerly belonged to the London Foot Hospital.