Camborne School of Mines Historical Records

The Camborne School of Mines, which was formed in 1888, has an extensive archive of School history including early student registers (from 1900), minutes of sports and social club committees, calendars and prospectuses, and a complete run of the School’s Magazine and Journal.  The Collection also contains a large number of photographs, mainly of School buildings and events. 

One of the most popular uses of this Collection is family history.  We are often able to trace ancestors who have attended the School, providing information about the dates attended, subjects studied and background biographical information.  However, please note that our holdings are not complete and we are limited by Data Protection legislation in the information we can provide. 

The Collection is also of great importance in the research of local history and the history of mining education. 

The Camborne School of Mines Collection is currently being listed and a catalogue will be available online in due course.  Please contact for further information in the meantime.  

Users should note that records of Camborne School of Mines are also deposited with the Cornwall Record Office. The CRO’s catalogue of holdings is available online here.  Further resources for the history of mining in Cornwall may also be found at the Cornwall Centre in Redruth.

Cornish Performance Archive

The Cornish Performance Archive is the umbrella term for the Nick DarkeKneehigh and WILDWORKS archives which together document over 30 years of performance activity in Cornwall.  Featuring a wide range of records that represent the entire artistic process – from the earliest embryo of an idea for production through to the press reviews from its opening night, these Collections offer a unique insight into the workings of Cornwall’s most famous performance practitioners.

The three Collections are inextricably linked; Nick Darke wrote extensively for Kneehigh through the 1990s, and WILDWORKS was founded by original Kneehigh member Bill Mitchell in 2005.  As such there is much in common across the three Collections and users may find relevant materials in any of the Cornish Performance Archives.  The complex interrelationships that are characteristic of the performance community in this geographically isolated peninsula are clearly documented here.
More information is available on the individual Collections’ pages, or please do Contact Us.

The Cornish Performance Archive is growing, and we hope to be adding further Collections to it soon.

Dartington College of Arts Historical Records (DCA)

Work is currently underway to develop a dynamic and robust Archive Collection that will ensure that the legacy of Dartington College of Arts lives on following the relocation of Dartington-based courses to Cornwall in 2010. 

The Archive and Special Collections Service holds those records previously housed within the Library on the Dartington Campus, including prospecti, promotional materials and course documentation, along with many recordings of student performances.  Work is currently underway to catalogue these materials, which will be available as part of our online catalogue in due course.

The records of Dartington College of Arts is a growing Collection, and we are happy to accept records from previous staff and students of the College.  If you have a diary, photographs, prospecti, programmes, memoirs or other records you would like to consider donating for permanent preservation, we would love to hear from you. 

Please Contact Us for further information.

Those interested in the history of the Dartington Estate may also like to consult the Dartington Hall Trust Archive and Collection.

Historical Records of Falmouth University (FAL)

The historical records of Falmouth University document the growth of the institution from its earliest beginnings as Falmouth School of Art in 1902.  The Collection brings together original and facsimile records such as minutes, newscuttings and prospecti which were compiled as research into the history of the University in 2010, as well as a large collection of marketing materials.  The Archive has a strong appeal to art and design students as well as those wishing to place their own creative work in historical context.

Please note that the Archive contains very little information on previous students, and we are often unable to provide extensive information for family history enquiries relating to those who attended the School.

The records are currently being catalogued and a full listing will be available online in due course.  In the meantime please do Contact Us for more information.

Ian Stern Photographic Archive (FCP5)

We are delighted to provide access to the Ian Stern Photographic Archive following a kind donation from Stern’s family and collaboration with the late Brian Stewart of Falmouth Art Gallery.  Featuring haunting images from Stern’s time as a documentary photographer in North America in the 1970s, along with his later experiments with photomontage and solarisation, the Collection offers a tantalising snapshot of a great talent.  Stern’s career was tragically cut short following his death at a young age in 1978, but despite his short life he made a significant and important contribution to documentary photography that is clearly documented by the hundreds of images in our Collection.

Further images taken by Stern are available at the Falmouth Art Gallery and a catalogue from the 2010 exhibition of his work is available via our library catalogue.

This Collection is currently uncatalogued, but a full listing will be available online in due course.  In the meantime, please do Contact Us, for further information.

Institute of Cornish Studies Archive Collections (ICS)

The Archive Collections held by the Institute of Cornish Studies document many different aspects of Cornish Life. Records include:

  • The Justin Brooke Mining Index – exhaustive encyclopaedia of research on mining companies across Cornwall
  • Charles Woolf Slide Collection – over 13 000 images of Cornish natural history and historic environment, 1950s-1970s
  • Research notes of local historian John Keast
  • Some archival records of Mebyon Kernow and liberal party activity in Cornwall
  • Records of the Cornwall Archaeology Society 1930s-1980s
  • Research papers of Adrian Lee, on Cornish nationalism and comparitive movements
  • Personal papers of Edwin Chirgwin on the Cornish language
  • Personal papers of Royston Green, Cornish historian and Communist party member
  • Records of the Falmouth and Camborne Liberal Association 1960s - 1980s
  • Research papers of Canon Adams on Cornish medieval chapels
  • a large Collection of pamphlets and publications relating to Cornish history, including those of the Cornish Biological Records Unit

These materials are currently being catalogued, after which a full lisitng will be available online. In the meantime, please do Contact Us for further information.

Kate Mount Slide Collection (DCA/KM)

The Archives and Special Collections Service holds a large collection of images by the photographer Kate Mount.  Mount was employed by Dartington College of Arts through the 1990s and early 2000s to record events such as graduation ceremonies, guest speakers, performances of student work and other events.  As such this Collection provides an invaluable insight into life at Dartingon College in the 1990s and forms an integral part of the College's important archival legacy.  We also hold a collection of Historical Records of Dartington College of Arts.

The slides are currently in the process of being listed and digitised and will be available online in due course. However, we are keen to learn more about the images, so if you think you can help us put names to faces and tell us about the events included, please do Contact Us for further information.

Kneehigh Theatre (CPA2)

Along with the papers of Nick Darke and WILDWORKS theatre, the Cornish Performance Archive also encompasses the extensive archive of Cornwall’s Kneehigh Theatre. From their earliest days performing in village halls and local schools, this varied Collection documents all aspects of  Kneehigh’s work: from preliminary set designs and inspiration books, through the production managers files documenting the logistics of a touring production, to press and publicity materials.  The industry processes which influence Kneehigh’s work are recorded in the funding applications and reports contained in the Archive, along with extensive amounts of audio visual records of the Company’s performances.  The work of local photographer Steve Tanner, who has worked extensively with Kneehigh, is also well represented.

This Collection will be of particular interest to students of theatre, at A level, undergraduate, and postgraduate level, as well as being available to members of the public who enjoy Kneehigh’s work and simply wish to know more. 

This Collection is currently being catalogued and a full listing will be available online in due course.  In the meantime please do Contact Us for more information.

Interested parties may also wish to consult Kneehigh’s website for further information

Nick Darke Archive (CPA1)

The Archive and Special Collections Service is delighted to hold of the manuscript papers of Nick Darke, one of Cornwall's best known playwrights.

The Collection contains preparatory work and scripts for his 30 plays, along with publicity, promotional material, photographs and correspondence.  Nick's work for television, film and radio is also well represented.  The Collection is broad in its appeal, documenting Nick's interest in environmental issues, music, Cornish history and culture, as well as his recovery from a stroke in 2001 and events leading up to his untimely death in 2005.

Patrick Gale: manuscripts and unpublished works (FCP1)

Following a generous gift from the author in 2009, University College Falmouth is delighted to present the professional archive of prolific local author Patrick Gale for research. Gale is best known for his 2007 Notes from an Exhibition which, like many of his novels, was set in Cornwall.

This Collection of records traces the development of Gale's novels, from inital research materials, notes on character and plot development and draft manuscripts, through to promotional materials such as book jackets and television and radio interviews. Treatments and screenplays where films based on Gale’s novels have been commissioned, but never made, are also included.

The Collection also includes journalistic work completed by Gale earlier in his career, including copius book reviews written for The Daily Telegraph and the Gay Times and features written for Marie Claire and Harpers & Queen.

Perhaps surprisingly to those familiar with his novels, Gale has also completed much work for film and television and this is also well represented in the Archive, along with Carlton Television’s 1993 Head over Heels.

An online catalogue to the Collection is now available here.  Staff, students and members of the public can access the Collection by appointment in Penryn's Learning Resource Centre - more details available here

Gale's novels are also available in the main Library Collection, listed on the library catalogue.

More information about Gale's life and work can be found on his official website Gale Warning.

The Tom Cross Archive (FCP3)

The Archive of Tom Cross, Principal of Falmouth School of Art 1976-1987, is now available for research in the Library and Information Service at Penryn.   The Collection contains some 50+ sketchbooks documenting the meticulous preparatory work undertaken throughout Cross’s 60-year career as a painter.  His extensive work as an art historian, (with particular interest in the St Ives and Newlyn Schools), along with his time at Falmouth School of Art and as lecturer at the University of Reading, his extensive travels and life-long interest in architecture, are also well documented.

The Archive is a wonderful resource, with the vast possibilities for use still to be fully explored.  There is much material of relevance to those interested in:

- all aspects of art history, particularly C20th movements in Cornwall
- Tom Cross’s own extensive work as an artist
- the history of Falmouth School of Art and University College Falmouth

as well as being of interest to those seeking inspiration for their own work.

The Collection is open to staff, students and members of the public on an appointment basis.  For more information please Contact Us.  Further information about Cross's life and work is available on the Tom Cross website and his books are available for loan via the library catalogue


Along with the papers of Nick Darke and Kneehigh, the third founding Collection in the Cornish Performance Archive is the records of WILDWORKS Theatre.  Formed by Kneehigh founder member Bill Mitchell in 2005, WILDWORKS has a reputation for distinctive site specific work, not just in the Company’s home county but in diverse locations around the world.

The Archive contains extensive workbooks from key WILDWORKS personnel that document the fascinating artistic processes that influence their work.  Records relate to the full range of  WILDWORKS productions and also include press and promotional material, photographs and reviews.  The Collection will be of particular use to those studying the process behind site specific work, as well as those who enjoy WILDWORKS performances and wish to know more.

The records are currently being catalogued and a full listing will be available online in due course.  In the meantime please do Contact Us for more information.

Interested parties may also wish to consult the WILDWORKS website for further information.

Special Collections

Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell Special Collection

Penryn Campus Library on the Penryn Campus holds an exciting collection of special and unusual books relating to film and film history, including annuals dating back to the 1940s, Hollywood picture albums, books about film stars, and a range of extraordinary novels that have been made into films. The Collection is an invaluable resource for those researching the history of film, cinema and popular culture, or for those just wanting to learn more about their favourite Hollywood star!

The Collection is freely available to researchers for loan and reference only use, and can be found on L2 of the Libary in The Reading Room.

The Collection is formed from duplicates from the wider Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell Collection held at The Bill Douglas Centre at the University of Exeter's Streatham campus. 

The Collection is listed, and fully searchable, on the library catalogue

For more information please do Contact Us.

Chris Brooks Collection of Victorian Culture

This large Special Collection features a wealth of titles relating to Victorian literature and culture, with a particular emphasis on fiction, periodicals and poetry. Selected from the private library of former University of Exeter Professor of Victorian Studies Chris Brooks, the Collection is of great interest to History, English and writing students. However, Victorian art, design and architecture are also well represented and many items are beautifully illustrated; as such the Chris Brooks Collection has a wide appeal across the many areas taught by both Falmouth University and University of Exeter's Penryn Campus. The Collection is formed from duplicates from the wider Chris Brooks Collection held at the University of Exeter's Streatham campus, which also contains a wealth of non published material.

The Collection is freely available to researchers for reference only use, and can be found on L2 of the Libary in The Reading Room.

The Chris Brooks Collection is in the process of being listed, with many items already fully searchable on the library catalogue

For more information please do Contact Us.

Cornish Poetry Collection

Cornwall has a long history of inspiring all sorts of creative writers, and the County's contribution to Poetry is no exception. Penryn Campus Library on the Penryn Campus holds a growing Collection of titles written about, in, or inspired by, Cornwall.

The Cornish Poetry Collection may be found on Level 2 of the Library, in The Reading Room.

The Collection is listed, and fully searchable, on the library catalogue.

For more information please do Contact Us

CSM Historical Library

This Special Collection offers a vast range of texts related to all aspects mining history, as collected by Camborne School of Mines.  Highlights include J C Burrow’s seminal work on underground mining photography ‘moungst mines and miners, Percy’s Metallurgy, texts on Cornish mining, and items published by CSM’s own academics.

This Collection is accessible via the library catalogue, and may be browsed in the glass cabinets in Penryn’s LRC. Items may be consulted by appointment in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room.  Please do Contact Us for more details.

Gorsedh Kernow Bardic Collection

The Archives and Special Collections Service is working with the Gorsedd of the Bards of Cornwall to develop a Special Collection of work produced by or about Cornish Bards.  The Collection currently consists of over 200 titles, many relating to Cornish language, poetry, music, performance, politics and history.  The scope of the Collection is vast and browsing is strongly encouraged to fully appreciate the incredible range of topics covered.

The Bardic Collection is now fully catalogued and available to search here.


Map Collection

The map collection is located in the silent study area, on the first floor of the Penryn Campus Library.

Main features of the collection:

  • Contains approximately 3000 maps, covering all areas of the world.
  • There are geological maps at 1:50 000 scale for most of the UK, topographic maps for Cornwall and some other areas, at various scales from 1:50 000 to 1:1250.
  • The majority of the non-UK maps are geological.
  • There are also miscellaneous specialist maps, for example seabed sediments (mainly around Cornwall), hydrogeology (Carnmenellis), soil survey (Cornwall).
  • All the maps are listed on the library catalogue, but because of the specialist nature of the collection users may find it useful to consult the library staff to find out if the library has a map which can help them.
  • All maps are available for loan, on the same basis as books.
  • Maps are also available electronically on Digimap.

For further information, contact Rachel Browning, Academic Liasion Librarian.

Roger Towe Illustrated Book Collection

This Collection collection was founded by librarian Roger Towe in 1993 and now consists of approx 800 books including:  

  • Illustrated books (also some Japanese and French material)
  • Children’s Picture books
  • Graphic Novels
  • Artists' books
  • Some photography books

This material could provide inspiration for all students within the Art and Design areas, but especially Illustration and Graphics students. 

The Roger Towe Illustrated Book Collection can be found in the Study Room at Falmouth Campus Library and is now a loanable collection.  Full details of each book are available on the library catalogue.  

For further information please contact:

Catherine Worrall - Academic Liaison Librarian - Tel. 01326 213832

The Elmhirst Special Collection

The Elmhirst Special Collection is on kind loan to University College Falmouth from the Dartington Trust.  The Collection comprises over 1300 items from the personal library of Dorothy and Len Elmhirst, founders of the Trust, and encompasses a wonderfully eclectic range of subjects from anthropology to educational theory to art history – all manner of topics that interested the Elmhirsts.

The Collection is listed on our library catalogue, and available on a reference only basis.  The books are located in the basement of the LRC at Penryn, in the Special Collections Rolling stack.  For more information please do contact Academic Liaison Librarian Rosie Enys:

Historical Journals