UEL’s archives and special collections hold important archival collections related to academic disciplines including theatre studies, refugee and forced migration studies, and sports science. Our collections include the British Olympic Association Archive, Hackney Empire Theatre Archive and the Refugee Council Archive.

We have collections both at Stratford and Docklands, though the majority of our collections are at the Docklands campus.

*** Please Note that due to current restrictions, the UEL Archives are currently CLOSED.  Please contact the UEL Archivist Paul V. Dudman on library-archives@uel.ac.uk for further information ***

Archive Information

Archive Collections

UEL Archives is home to a large collection of donated material that is available for access to staff, students and members of the public.

Discover UEL's archival collection

Library Archive Partnerships

British Olympic Association (BOA)

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.

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. Descriptions for all current BOA Archive can be found on both the Archives Hub and AIM25 websites.

BOA

East London People’s Archive

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 and this can be views online by following this link below.

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 from and who are living and working in East London.

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

Descriptions for all current UEL Archival Collections can be found on both the Archives Hub and AIM25 websites.

Hidden Histories

East London Theatre Archives

The East London Theatre Archive (ELTA), a database of East London theatre ephemera provided by the Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre Collections, East London theatres and UEL archives. ELTA's collection ranges from 1827 to the present day, including playbills and programmes to press cuttings and photographs. It also has themed essays to contextualise the material and maps showing theatre locations. Included within this online resource, are collections of materials from the following organisations: 

ELTA’s collection ranges from 1827 to the present day, including playbills and programmes to press cuttings and photographs. It also has themed essays to contextualise the material and maps showing theatre locations. For any guidance or help visit our FAQ page or contact us at elta@uel.ac.uk

East London Theatre Archives (ELTA)

Hackney Empire 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, audiovisual 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.

Descriptions for all current UEL Archival Collections can be found on both the Archives Hub and AIM25 websites.

Hackney Empire 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.

We also have a dedicated Refugee Archives blog available online

In support of this, the Archive also contains: 

  • The UNHCR Audio-Visual Archive: 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 are currently concerting to DVD. 
  • The Northern Refugee Centre: The Northern Refugee Centre was established during 1983 and is now based in Sheffield. The Archive contains a range of published and unpublished materials including reports, conference papers publications, grey literature and press cuttings. 
  • Charter 87: The Charter 87 Archive was very kindly donated to UEL in late July 2007 by a former director of the organisation. 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.

Descriptions for all current UEL Archival Collections can be found on both the Archives Hub and AIM25 websites.

Refugee Council

UEL Institutional Archive

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).

Descriptions for all current UEL Archival Collections can be found on both the Archives Hub and AIM25 websites.

Refugee Council