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Using Our Collections

Special Collections are available for everyone to use, whether they are Brunel students or staff, or external users. The collections cover a wide range of subject areas, including transport history, the Channel Tunnel, working class autobiographies, poetry, dialect and advocacy. Please see the collection descriptions for information on individual collections.

Due to relocation work our reading room is closed from Monday 5 July to Monday 4 October 2021. Our reprographics service is suspended for this period. It may be possible to supply digitised copies from the Burnett Archive, please contact us for details. For general information about Brunel’s response to the Coronavirus, advice or support, please visit our portal

Special Collections Alumni Exhibition



Diorama view




How to find items

Work to catalogue the collections is ongoing, but details of printed items may be found by searching the Library Catalogue. Collection descriptions for our archival collections may be searched on the Archive Catalogue or by reviewing one of our finding aids in the individual collections. Please email us in case of difficulty locating material in the catalogues.

Contact us

To find out more information you can contact our Special Collections department via:

  • E: special.collections@brunel.ac.uk

We also have blog, Twitter, and Instagram feeds where you can find out more about our collections and how they are used.

Code of conduct

Access to Special Collections material is subject to a code of conduct. You will need to complete a reader registration form on arrival, indicating that you have read the code of conduct, and bring your university ID card (Brunel students and staff) or two forms of ID (Brunel visitors) with you to your appointment.


For external users from participating academic institutions, wifi access is available in the reading room via Eduroam. You will need to check with your home institution and register before your visit to Brunel.

Digital materials

It may be possible to supply digital versions of items in the collections. Go to our Request copies page for more information.

New to using archival or special collections material?

If you have never used archive collections before the Archives Hub has some guidance on finding and using archives, as well as getting the most out of a research visit.

We have a blog post on How to use Special Collections, aimed at the new user.