Special Collections and Archives officially open in new home

Friday, 22 January 2016

Special Collections event

An event to celebrate the official opening of the Special Collections and Archives was held at Oxford Brookes University on Thursday (21 January) afternoon.

The event provided the chance to celebrate the collections’ move to the Library in the multi-award-winning John Henry Brookes Building and thank trustees and donors of the University whose continued support has been instrumental in the development of the collections and archives.

...many groups of students visit the collections and archives as part of their course. The opportunity to do this enriches their experience of university and fuels an increased enthusiasm for their chosen field of study.

Vice Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt

Vice Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt welcomed guests to the new home of the Special Collections and described how significant the materials are to the institution: “The University is now more research active than ever before and during the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 94 per cent of our research was judged to be internationally recognised and 59 per cent judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent. I have no doubt that our special collections and archives were an important factor in this success.

“The collections also align very closely to our teaching activities and I know that many groups of students visit the collections and archives as part of their course. The opportunity to do this enriches their experience of university and fuels an increased enthusiasm for their chosen field of study.

“I am very grateful to our donors and trustees who have donated these prominent collections, either personally or through their work with an organisation, and whose support allows our collections and archives to grow.”

Special collections 1

The Special Collections and Archives have been developing as a service provided by the Library over a number of years as research has gained importance for Brookes. The Collections fall into themed areas closely aligned to research and teaching areas in the University; Food and Drink, Art and Architecture, Publishing and Literary Prizes and Public and Allied Health, plus the Oxford Brookes University Collection which was frequently used throughout preparations for the University's 150th anniversary. The full collections list can be found below. 

Researchers outside of the University are able to use the Collections and also consider them an important source of information. Visitors have travelled from as far as Australia, Europe, India and the United States to use the materials.

Last year, as part of the University’s celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary, the National Brewing Library was used as inspiration to create the celebratory ‘John Henry’ ale. The Shotover Brewing Co used the Library to recreate a historic recipe which reflected how a premium beer might have tasted in 1865 when The Oxford School of Art first opened. 

Special Collections Food and Drink

The Special Collections and Archives at Oxford Brookes University