Special Collections & Archives

Special Collections & Archives at the University of Kent are based in the Templeman Library and contain a wealth of unique materials (over 150 different collections, if we’re being precise) for you to use during your degree. You’ll need to book an appointment to see any material, but the team are always happy to help you via email; get in touch if you have any queries or would like to know more.

Collections include:

  • Theatre collections: playscripts, ephemera, publicity material, and printed books exploring all areas of popular performance. The collections are particularly strong in Victorian and Edwardian theatre (19th – 20th centuries), pantomime and music hall.
  • British Stand-Up Comedy Archive (BSUCA): created to celebrate, preserve, and provide access to the archives and records of British stand-up comedy and comedians, BSUCA contains a wealth of material from over 30 performers, managers and fans of the alternative comedy circuit – posters and publicity material, props, scripts and notes, audio-visual recordings and much more. To find out more about BSUCA, you can watch this video.
  • British Cartoon Archive (BCA): dedicated to the history of British cartooning since the 19th century, and still collecting cartoons today, the BCA hosts artwork from over 300 artists – much of which can be viewed for free through their online catalogue. Many of the cartoons are social or political in nature and cover a wide range of topics. Of particular note is the Carl Giles Trust Collection, which contains artwork, props, studio items and correspondence from the famous 20th century cartoonist.

For more information about what you can find in Special Collections & Archives, visit their website. There’s also a guide to using archive material in your research, and a video introducing you to the world of Special Collections and Archives.