UCL Library

UCL Library Services, University College London
Gower Street, London  WC1E 6BT

(020) 7679 7700
History Library:(020) 7679 3078
Main Issue Desk: (020) 7679 7792
Main Library Enquiry Desk: (020) 7679 7793


The History library is housed on the second floor of the Main Library. Access is via the main stairs or by the adjacent lift. Ancient History is adjacent to Classics on the first floor, and Nordic History is part of the Scandinavian Studies collection at the north end of the Main Library.

Hours of opening: (Main Library) 

Term, and  Christmas and Easter Vacations:

Monday - Thursday 0845 - 2230
Friday 0845 - 1900
Saturday 1100 - 2100
Sunday* 1100 - 2100
*No book loans on Sundays. Open on Sundays for existing Library card holders only.

Summer Vacation:

Monday – Friday 0930 - 1900

The Issue Desk opens at 0930 each day (1000 on Fridays). It closes 15 minutes earlier than the above times, except for Monday - Thursday during term when it closes at 1845.

NB. Opening hours are subject to alteration: please check the web site at 

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/opening.shtml or telephone the Library.


See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/joining.shtml.

Reader places:              

There are 68 reader places within the main History library.

Librarians in charge:

Subject Librarian (History)   Kieron Jones    kieron.jones@ucl.ac.uk

Subject Librarian (Ancient History)              Jes Cooban                 j.cooban@ucl.ac.uk
Subject Librarian (Nordic History)                Bess Ryder                 b.ryder@ucl.ac.uk

Staff availability:

Readers should if necessary ask at the Enquiry Desk to see the relevant Assistant Librarian; only a limited number of staff are available during the evenings and on Saturdays.


The UCL online catalogue contains entries both for books (including all those catalogued since 1982) and current journals. For older books and journals readers may still need to consult the digitized card catalogue (follow link from Catalogues on the Library Services home page).


The classification used is UCL's own scheme. The Guildhall Library scheme (with some modifications) is used for London History. Much of the material acquired before the early 1950s is not entered in the classified catalogues.


The History collections comprise some 120,000 items, of which about half are on open access. The principal emphasis, reflecting the teaching interests of the college, is on Europe (particularly Britain and western and northern Europe) and the Americas (excluding Canada). The Ancient History collection concentrates especially on the early and classical periods, but has important sections on Near Eastern history, Byzantine history and the history of the early Christian church. The two latter fields are also covered to lesser extent by the general History library.

Other subject collections with an historical content include those on the History of Art and History of Science; the history of medicine is covered as part of the Medical Sciences library.  Many other subject libraries include much historical material, for instance legal history in the Law library and historical geography in the Geography collection.

Special collections or strengths:

There are special collections on American (i.e. United States) and Latin American history. The latter includes material on the non-Hispanic Caribbean. The London History library covers secondary literature relating to Greater London, and includes about 500 maps, together with a large pamphlet collection. Other fields of particular interest to the library are Nordic (Scandinavian), Dutch and Celtic history.

UCL has the principal Egyptology collection in the University. Much of the Library of the Royal Historical Society, which has a particularly good collection of record society publications, has been merged with the History library. Other society libraries housed at UCL of particular relevance include those of the Huguenot Society and the Mocatta Library (of the Jewish Historical Society). The collections of tracts include the Halifax tracts (covering 1559-1749) and Lansdowne tracts (1679-1776). The collection of early 19th century tracts assembled by the radical politician Joseph Hume amounts to over 5,000 items. Perhaps the most important of the printed primary sources in the History library is a set of British Parliamentary Papers of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. The provision of published primary source material is essentially the responsibility of the Institute of Historical Research, but UCL is maintaining existing collections of such material, e.g. Public Record Office (National Archives) publications and the reports of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.

UCL has extensive manuscript collections. These are kept with the rare books in Special Collections. For details please see the Special Collections pages of the UCL Library Services web site.

Additional facilities:

Self-service photocopying in the Main (and Science) Libraries. Refreshments may be obtained in the refectory in the main building of the College.