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Due to refurbishment works in the Sydney Jones Library, Special Collections and Archives is closed to users from Monday 3 June until Monday 16 September (inclusive). We're still available for your enquiries via email.

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SC&A includes manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections.

University Archive

The Archive of the University of Liverpool includes administrative records, personal papers of former staff and students, photographs and objects relating to the history and function of the University of Liverpool.

History of the University of Liverpool

View of the Gateway to the Quadrangle, 1928, from The SphinxThe origins of the University of Liverpool may be traced back to a Town's Meeting in Liverpool Town Hall in 1878 at which it was resolved to establish a University College in Liverpool. There had been previous attempts earlier in the nineteenth century to provide higher education facilities in Liverpool, including the Liverpool Royal Institution (established in 1814) and the School of Science (established in 1861), both of which failed to develop into established colleges of higher education.

With the generous support of the business, professional and other sectors of Liverpool, sufficient funds were raised to endow professorships and thereby in 1881 to obtain a Royal Charter incorporating University College Liverpool. University College opened in January 1882 with 45 day students initially enrolled. In view of the rapid progress which the College made, in 1884 it was admitted as one of the constituent colleges of the federal Victoria University (which had been established in 1880); in the same year, too, the Liverpool Royal Infirmary Medical School (established in 1834 and based initially at the Liverpool Royal Institution) was incorporated into University College Liverpool and became the nucleus of a Faculty of Medicine.

In 1903 a further Royal Charter and an Act of Parliament were obtained whereby a separate and independent University of Liverpool was constituted in place of University College Liverpool, with the right to confer its own degrees.

University Archive Highlights

Illustration of flowers from Arthur Bulley's sketchbook

Arthur Bulley's sketchbook

Wirral-born Arthur Kilpin Bulley established Ness Botanic Gardens in 1898 and bequeathed them to the University in 1948. University Archives D761 and D693


Image of statue from Beni-Hasan excavations 1902-04

Beni-Hasan excavations 1902-04

John Garstang excavated this Egyptian burial place for officials and upper classes. Most of the tombs date to the Middle Kingdom (2040-1640BC), although some date back to the Old Kingdom. University Archives S152


Image of University of Liverpool Appeal Poster

University of Liverpool Appeal poster

Colour poster advertising the University's appeal for £1m, launched by the Earl of Derby, University Chancellor, at Liverpool Town Hall on 12 March 1920. University Archives D937