We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Libraries and Special Collections in County Durham


The region of Durham attracts researchers from across the globe who wish to study African history, politics and culture. Durham University is particularly well-endowed with research collections relating to Africa, British colonialism and the twentieth-century drive for independence. 

The collections listed on this page can all be found in the Durham University Archives and Special Collections.

The Sudan Archive

The Sudan Archive comprises over 330 individual collections of official, semi-official and private papers of British men and women who served or lived in the Sudan during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. All levels of colonial society are represented and the papers cover an extraordinary array of topics from education and medicine to military campaigns and conflict.

The Archive holds a significant amount of Mahdist material and a substantial numbers of papers relating to Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and African states bordering on the Sudan.

There are 800 boxes of papers, 50,000 photographs, 136 cinefilms, 1,000 maps, and a significant number of museum objects.

The Abbas Hilmi II Papers

The Abbas Hilmi II Papers contain the official and personal correspondence of the last Khedive of Egypt and relate to political, social and economic affairs in Egypt as well as the relations between Britain and Egypt from 1892-1914.

The papers also reflect the Khedive's involvement with the Egyptian nationalist movement after his deposition and his continued interest in Egyptian and European affairs.

The Earl Grey Papers

The Earl Grey Papers contain an abundance of material relating to military affairs in Africa as well as British imperialism and colonial politics. Of particular relevance are the Papers of Albert Henry George, 4th Earl Grey, in which South Africa, Rhodesia, Canada, imperialism and co-operation are strongly represented, and the Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale Papers, which relate chiefly to Lord Howick's career as a colonial administrator.

The Papers of Charles Robert, 5th Earl Grey and the Papers of General Charles Grey provide details of service in South Africa and travels in Egypt during the nineteenth century. The Cromer Papers relate to medical and educational work in Egypt and contain photographs of some 200 Egyptian scenes. 

The Tunstall-Behrens Papers

The Tunstall-Behrens Papers relate to Lieutenant-Colonel Tankred Tunstall-Behrens' international boundary commission work in Uganda between 1902 and1906. Tunstall-Behrens' East Africa journals include descriptions of the country and of colonial social life.

The Winterbottom Collection

The Winterbottom Collection contains a significant volume of travel literature with a particular focus on travel and exploration in Africa.

The Malcolm MacDonald Papers

The Malcolm MacDonald Papers relate to the final part of MacDonald's administrative and diplomatic career which was spent in Africa as Governor and Commander in Chief of Kenya 1963-4, and as High Commissioner for Kenya after it became independent. MacDonald was also involved in various diplomatic missions to other parts of Africa especially Nigeria and Rhodesia.

The Donald Hawley Papers

The Donald Hawley Papers chart the career of Sir Donald Hawley including his time spent in the Sudan as well as his service in Egypt and Nigeria.

The E. T. Richmond Papers

The E. T. Richmond Papers contain personal correspondence from Richmond to his wife during his deployment in Egypt as well as essays by Richmond on a variety of subjects related to his service in Egypt and Palestine.

Sudan Archive

The Durham University Sudan Archive provides an extensive and diverse record of life and administration in Sudan from about 1880 up to 1955, the year before Sudanese independence.

The Hidden Sudan

An online exhibition showcasing documents from the newly-catalogued collections of the Sudan Archive.