Durham University's archives and special collections include over 70,000 books published before 1850, medieval manuscripts, maps, prints and photographs.
The development of manuscript and book collections at Durham University began in its earliest days. William Van Mildert, Bishop of Durham, who was instrumental in founding the University, presented a foundation collection in January 1833. The University also took custody of Bishop John Cosin's Library, still housed in its original building on Palace Green. Further gifts of rare books and manuscript collections were received, and the University Library expanded to occupy rooms in the 15th century Exchequer building next to Cosin's Library.
All these collections are now housed at Palace Green Library, along with the archives of the University itself, dating back to 1832. They represent a rich resource for learning, teaching and research, and are available for anyone to consult. They also form part of the cultural heritage of Durham and in particular, its World Heritage Site.
Learn more about our range of research-led international projects and partnerships.
Museums and Collections sites
We have a number of sites across University Library and Collections, including fantastic libraries, research rooms, museums and galleries.
Barker Research Library
Our Archives and Special Collections are held within Barker Research Library, located in the historic Palace Green Library, and a peaceful place to study and work. Visit our guide for further information or use our online enquiry form.
Barker Research Library Palace Green Library Palace Green Durham DH1 3RN United Kingdom
Opening times:10am - 5pm Monday - Friday (Archives and Special Collection by appointment only)