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Ushaw College Archive






Ushaw College Archive












Ushaw College, Durham DH7 9RH



0191 3719637










Head of repository


Dr Jonathan Bush, Archivist







Institutional context


The purpose of the Ushaw College Archive is to collect, preserve and make available archives relating to the history of Ushaw College seminary, the wider post-Reformation Catholic world, the English College in Lisbon, and “at risk” Catholic institutions.The collection contains papers relating to the management of Ushaw College, including its financial, architectural, social and cultural history. It also includes the personal papers of nineteenth-century Catholic notables, such as St John Henry Newman, Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, and Cardinal Henry Manning, as well as the records of twentieth century lay societies and other “at risk” Catholic institutions. The archives exist in a wide variety of formats: paper records; photographs; microfilm; film; tape recordings and born digital records.


Institutional history



Ushaw College Archive and Library has always played a central role in the intellectual life of the college since its foundation in 1808. The books from Crook Hall were initially stored in a temporary room until they were transferred into a more prominent and spacious area in 1813. By 1827, the

Catholic Miscellany reported that there were upwards of 7,000 volumes as well as some rare documents of ancient date, and several illuminated manuscripts and the library continued the tradition established at the English College in Douai where the holdings were not limited to theology but also embraced classics, literature and other subjects. The library and archives have had many benefactors throughout its history, including Thomas Eyre and John Gilow (presidents), John Lingard and Michael Gibson (who served as vice-presidents), as well as smaller donations from other priests, John Bradley and Thomas Sherburne. Its main benefactor, however, was undoubtedly Thomas Wilkinson, who was an assiduous collector of books and archives and determined to recreate a library at Ushaw similar to the one he had known at Douai. In 1832, he presented 6,000 volumes to Ushaw and, in the following decade, donated a further 6,000 books on various subjects including science, literature and art. Partly as a result of the growing number of acquisitions, Mgr Charles Newsham (Ushaw's fifth president), ordered the construction of a new library wing. A.W. Pugin submitted a plan for the new library but Wilkinson, who was financing most of the building, rejected it in favour of the present design by Charles and Joseph Hansom. Various abortive attempts were made to compile catalogues of the library holdings, notably by George Errington in the early 1840s and Josef Felton between 1877-1886. The present card catalogue of the Big Library, however, was begun by Arthur

(later Cardinal) Hinsley in 1896 and completed in 1903 by Fr Edwin Bonney, with the help of students. Major revisions and improvement to this catalogue was carried out by Fr Bernard Payne, librarian from 1930 until 1977, with the assistance of others, notably Dr A. I. Doyle of Durham University Library. In the late 1980s, Fr. Michael Sharratt also compiled a card catalogue of some of the major archive collections in Ushaw College Library. Following an agreement between the college trustees and Durham University in 2011, online catalogues of the archive and printed collections are now being produced by Durham University Library staff with the intention of attracting a wider research audience.</p>


Administrative structure



Ushaw College Archive and Library is owned by the trustees of Ushaw College. The Library is currently being managed by Durham University Library.


Collecting policy



Available on request





Ushaw College Archives is housed in the complex of Ushaw College. This contains a reading room and several libraries.


Archival and other holdings



Archives relating to the history of Ushaw College, the English College in Lisbon and the wider Catholic world from the 16th century to the present day.


Finding aids and publications



Finding aids to the archives are available online https://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/localother/ushaw.htm/. Please contact us if you would like further information about these collections.







Opening times


The archive is open to researchers by appointment only on Monday-Thursday, 10am-4pm. The archive is closed over the Christmas and New Year period.


Conditions and requirements



All readers are required to register on their first visit to the archive. This involves completing a short form and providing proof of name with signature and proof of address. More information is available here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/about/info.htm/


Disabled access


There is disabled access to the reading room.





Ushaw College is situated four miles west of Durham. There is a limited bus service (52) stopping outside the College gates and a bus service (48) calling at Bearpark with a 20 minute walk to the College. Driving directions: leave the A1(M) at junction 62; at roundabout take A690 signposted Durham/Consett; at roundabout, go straight over on A690 to City Centre (1.8m); at roundabout, go straight over on A690 to Crook (0.4m); at traffic lights, go straight over on A690 to Crook (0.2m); at roundabout, take 3rd exit on A690 to Crook (0.3m); at traffic lights bear right on A690 to Crook (0.2m); at traffic lights, turn right on A167 to Newcastle / Chester-le-Street (0.4m); continue on A167 until traffic lights, at lights turn left to Ushaw College / Bearpark (0.3m); continue through Bearpark, then turn right into Ushaw College as signposted (2.6m)







Research services


Research enquiries will be answered free of charge so long as they do not exceed a maximum of one hour’s research time. There is currently no paid research service available.


Reproduction services



Photocopies or digital images of documents can be ordered as long as it is possible to do so without damaging the document. A full list of fees is available: https://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/about/asc_copy.htm/

Readers may take their own digital photographs free of charge so long as they complete a copyright declaration form and note any images they take


Public facilities



Unfortunately Westminster Diocesan Archives is unable to offer any refreshment facilities at present.







Date of creation


Last updated 19 December 2016