UK Feminist Archives and Libraries

The below directory is a work in progress and consists of UK feminist libraries and archives that we are aware of. We are also aware that there are many wonderful, new projects that might not be on our radar yet. 

Archif Menywod Cymru / Women’s Archive of Wales
Archif Menywod Cymru / Women’s Archive of Wales, which was founded in 1997, aims to raise the profile of women’s history in Wales and works to preserve the documents which tell their story. We run projects to seek out and rescue the papers and other records which might otherwise be lost, and record people’s precious memories for present and future generations. The papers, photos and documents we collect are deposited in the county archives throughout Wales, and the National Library of Wales, where they are professionally cared for and are available for all to see. Our website includes a selection of images and memories. We organise events and conferences which provide a forum for anyone interested in women’s history in Wales to discover and share this great heritage. Archif Menywod Cymru/Women’s Archive of Wales is a registered charity run entirely by volunteers. We depend on our members’ subscriptions, and on donations and grants to finance our work.

Chawton House Library
Chawton House Library’s main collection focuses on women’s literature in English during the period 1600-1830, including rare early editions and some unique books.  They work to foster research and understanding of early women writers, restoring them to their rightful place in the history of English literature and enabling them to speak directly to – and inspire – future generations.

Cinenova offers distribution, as well as access to an extensive archive and advice relating to moving image work directed by makers who identify as women, transgender, gender non-conforming and gender non–binary. A key resource in the UK, in the independent film distribution sector and internationally.

Edge Hill University Archive
Edge Hill University’s archive collections are based at the university’s campus in Ormskirk, Lancashire, and include the records of the institution from its opening in 1885 as the first non-denominational teacher training college for women in England, through to its current status as a successful university. The collections have particular relevance for research relating to the history of women’s education in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Feminist Archive North and South (Leeds, Bristol)
The Feminist Archive has two locations – Leeds (Feminist Archive North) and Bristol (Feminist Archive South).

The Feminist Archive North houses collections on women, women’s movements, organisations, groups, conferences, research interviews, audio-visual and ephemera from 1969 onwards from the North of England, the UK, Europe and worldwide. It holds over 1700 local, regional and inter/national feminist newsletters, journals and pamphlets, many unique to the FAN collection. These include material on family, health, employment and other social policy issues, the arts, media, militarism and peace, lesbians, women’s studies, women’s aid, local women’s centres, criminal justice, men’s violence against women and girls, and the politics of the WLM. Our aim is to spread information and develop current and further activism.

Feminist Library, London
Since 1975, when it first came into being to support the work of the Women’s Liberation Movement, The Feminist Library in London, has continued to collect, safeguard, disseminate and produce a range of feminist literature and reference material that supports today’s campaigners and those in search of material that might otherwise have been, lost, forgotten, side-lined or suppressed.

Our Collection is a heritage asset, with around 7,000 books and 1,500 periodical titles – mostly from the period between the 1960s and the 1990s – that attracts thousands of visitors from London, across the UK, and around the world through its doors each year.

It remains at the forefront of feminism, helping set tomorrow’s agenda of activism and equality by methodically preserving the past, as well as providing an inclusive space for activist, feminist and educational activity. The Library hosted more than 20 visitor groups in 2016, including school and university groups interested in learning about and exploring the collections, as well as 23 regular user groups, utilising the space for education, project development and activism.

Feminist Webs
Feminist Webs is both an online and real-world ‘women and girls work space’ that acts as an archive and a resource for practitioners, volunteers and young women involved in youth and community work with young women. You can add your own resources.

Glasgow Women’s Library
Glasgow Women’s Library is an award-winning Accredited Museum housing a lending library, archive collections and museum artifacts that celebrate the lives and achievements of women. Set up in 1991, it is unique in Scotland and delivers several innovative projects as well as programmes of events, learning opportunities and other activities to diverse audiences all over Scotland. It also houses the national Lesbian Archives which relocated to Glasgow in 1995.

Greenham Women Everywhere
A digital audio, visual and oral/written archive of stories of Greenham women.

The Hackney Flashers
They were a women’s photography collective, was formed in 1974 and remained active until 1980. Between 1974 and 1980 the Hackney Flashers produced two exhibitions of photographs and cartoons focussing on two key areas of women’s lives: paid work, and the lack of childcare for working mothers. Their website includes both archives of documentation and photographs, as well as a list of other resources.

Looks at history from a female perspective. HerStoria web’s aim is to entertain, inform and create a community, turning a kaleidoscope on the past to uncover a different history – women’s history – and celebrate the women who made it.

Hypatia Trust, Exeter
Melissa Hardie, the founder of Hypatia Trust, has been collecting books by and about women for over twenty-five years and her book collection ‘is the Hypatia Trust’s documentary base and springboard’ providing a record and celebration of women’s history. The collection at Exeter is part of a larger collection (other parts can be found in Cornwall and America); the whole comprising of ‘books, documents and artifacts that concern women’s role in history and contemporary life’.

In Her Footsteps/East London Women Activists
An online archive of women activism in East London over the past 150+ years.

Lavender Menace
Creating a queer and LGBT+ books archive. It grew out of Lavender Menace which first opened as a lesbian and gay bookshop in Edinburgh in 1982.

London Lesbian History Group
Its online resources include recordings of talks and links to articles and papers of interest.

Nottingham Women’s Centre Library
The library at Nottingham Women’s Centre houses a collection of feminist and LGBT fiction and non-fiction including books, magazines, periodicals, pamphlets and campaign materials. It also has a collection of archive material covering the time period from 1970s onwards, mostly specific to Nottingham but also from around the country. The library, which originally started in the 1980s, is set to relaunch as a lending library and resource centre at the end of 2014 and will also have an online catalogue.

Please note that Nottingham Women’s Centre is a women only space and therefore the library is only accessible to women. 

Queerseum: A Queer Museum for London
QUEERSEUM is a collective of activists, artists and queer educators, which led a grassroots community campaign for the creation of a QUEER MUSEUM in 2016, agitating the conversation of the importance of queer histories and strengthening the call for a permanent home in the anniversary year of The Sexual Offences Act 1967. They have popped up in institutions and queered spaces and now have a creative residency in collaboration The Museum of Homelessness in the UK’s 1st Homeless Shelter & Community Centre in London’s oldest Fire station in Clerkenwell establishing a temporary museum space hosted by The Outside Project.

Pankhurst Centre, Manchester
Manchester based, part of Pankhurst Trust, in combination with Manchester Women’s Aid. It is the only place where members of the public can visit a former home of the Pankhurst family, and the only museum dedicated to telling the story of women’s fight for the right to vote.

Remembering Resistance, Lancaster
Remembering Resistance was developed by academics at Lancaster University, who spent the last couple of years collecting stories about women’s activism & mapping the places & spaces associated with protest in the North of England. The project covers the last hundred years of women’s activism in the North. Includes an interactive map of other regional collections with materials of interest to women and the women’s movement.

Rita Keegan Archive Project
Born in the Bronx in 1949, Rita is of Caribbean and Black-Canadian descent and moved to London in 1980 having studied Fine Art at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1969-1972. Her work explores memory, history, dress and adornment, often through the use of her extensive family archive – a photo- graphic record of a black middle class Canadian family dating from 1890s to present day.

Sheffield Feminist Archive
The project is working with Sheffield Archives to ensure that documents relating to Sheffield’s feminist past and present are collected and preserved for future generations. The collection is located at the Sheffield Council’s City Archives & Local Studies Library and can be accessed by registering via their website here.

Sisters Doing It For Themselves, Women’s Resource Centre
This exciting and new project will create a unique oral history archive documenting the testimonies of current and past leaders of the Women’s Voluntary and Community Sector (WVCS) which grew out of the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM). The contribution of the WVCS in advancing women’s rights is largely undocumented.  Many of the women who were involved in setting up women’s organisations and campaigning for change are now in their late 50s and 60s. Their struggles and achievements have remained largely invisible. 

Time & Tide: Connections & Legacies, London & Nottingham
A year-long project exploring the interwar history and ongoing relevance of Time and Tide, the influential feminist magazine that was launched in 1920. Founded by Welsh businesswoman and feminist Lady Rhondda, Time and Tide became one of the leading reviews of politics and culture during the interwar years, competitive with the New Statesman, and was the only woman-controlled publication of its kind.

Trouble & Strife
Trouble & Strife was an independent radical feminist magazine published in Britain between 1983 and 2002. The website holds an online archive of the back issues of the magazine.

WoLAN – Women’s Liberation & after in Nottingham
WoLAN is a history project tracing the origins of the women’s liberation movement in Nottingham through the 1960’s,70’s and 80’s. This was an extraordinary period of our history which has shaped some of the basic rights and freedoms that women enjoy today. The project captures and celebrates their stories through oral history recordings, films and art work.

Women’s Art Library, London
The Women’s Art Library began as an artists’ initiative that developed into an arts organization publishing catalogues and books as well as a magazine from the early 1980s to 2002. The main purpose however was to provide a place for women artists to deposit unique documentation of their work. WAL collected personal files that functioned together as an alternative public space to view and experience women’s art. Thousands of artists from around the world are represented in some form in this collection.

As part of Goldsmiths Library Special Collections, the Women’s Art Library continues to collect slides, artist statements, exhibition ephemera, catalogues, and press material in addition to audio and videotapes, photographs and CD-Roms.

Women Artists of the North East Library
The Women Artists of the North East Library brings together research and donated material to form a cultural resource that contributes to the history of women artists working in the North East of England.Through research, commissions and events the Library traces the influence of women artists who practiced, lived, studied, taught or exhibited in the region. The physical collection which is made up largely of donations, includes publications, audio, images and other forms of documentation that record historic and current artistic practice and programming across the North East of England.The library is currently hosted by The Northern Charter in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Women’s Liberation Music Archive
The Women’s Liberation Music Archive is a feminist, independent, not-for-profit project set up in 2011 which documents and celebrates the history, wealth and legacy of 1970 and 80s’ Women’s Liberation Movement music-making. Our collection shows the importance of culture in political activism and is a useful resource for activists, researchers, musicologists and everyone interested in the social history and the history of feminism of that era. In our digital archive you can listen to music tracks, watch videos, enjoy photos, flyers, posters, lyrics, songbooks, reviews, interviews, films, badges and manifestos. You can read about gigs, festivals, demonstrations, workshops, conferences. We include musicians, singers, bands, sound engineers, DJs, organisers, distributors, writers: everyone who created the infrastructure that made this burgeoning of revolutionary creativity possible. You can also visit our physical collection at the University of Bristol, part of the Feminist Archive South.

The Women’s Library, London
Now based at the London School of Economics, The Women’s Library history and collections date back to the stories of the suffragettes and The Library of the London Society for Women’s Service in 1926. It had two aims: to preserve the history of the women’s movement, and to provide a resource for newly enfranchised women to enter public life. The Library was renamed the Fawcett Library in 1957 and The Women’s Library in 2002. It was moved to the LSE in 2013.

Unfinished Histories
This archive includes information on oral history interviewees (biography, photos, gallery of archival images, extracts from interviews, bibliography, topics list of subjects covered in interview). It also has drop down lists of Companies alphabetically and by Areas of Work (e.g. women’s companies, community companies). A number of these Company names link to web pages detailing the history of the company: artistic policy, personal statements by originators, extracts from reviews, production lists with cast and dates where known. We hope to increase the numbers of these in the future. There are also list of Individuals, Organisations/ Events, Shows, Venues. A further section details physical archives holding material from the movement and related oral history projects. There is also an online shop, an e-newsletter and press archive and details of exhibitions, talks, readings and workshops available to book. We also have extensive additional digital resources held offline as well as a physical archive.