Palace Green Library

Image of the entrance to Palace Green Library, with Durham Cathedral in the background
Guided tours icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Visual disability facilities icon

Founded in 1833 and occupying listed buildings within the Durham World Heritage site, the Palace Green Library of Durham University houses archives, early printed books and other special collections. The Library has two exhibition spaces: the Wolfson Gallery, which regularly exhibits treasures from all of the university's heritage collections and the prestigious, newly opened ( June 2012) Dunelm Gallery.

There are: Over 70,000 books printed before 1850 including 300 incunables; over 100 Medieval manuscripts; 3,400 metres of archives and artefacts; over 30,000 maps and prints and 100,000 photographs. We are open to anyone needing to consult our collections. New users will be required to fill out a short registration form.

Two of the University Library's special collections, the Bishop Cosin's Library and the Sudan Archive, were awarded Designated Collection of national importance status in 2005 in the first round of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Designation Scheme.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive

Opening hours

Library Term time
Mon 9.00-18.00
Tues 9.00-18.00
Weds 9.00-18.00
Thurs 9.00-18.00
Fri 9.00-18.00
Sat CLOSED
Sun CLOSED
Bank Holidays: please check library website

Library Vacation time
Mon 9.00-17.00
Tues 9.00-17.00
Wed 9.00-17.00
Thurs 9.00-17.00
Fri 9.00-17.00
Sat CLOSED
Sun CLOSED
Bank Holidays: please check library website

Gallery (Term and Vacation)
Mon 12.00-17.00
Tues 10.00-17.00
Wed 10.00-17.00
Thurs 10.00-17.00
Fri 10.00-17.00
Sat 10.00-17.00
Sun 12.00-17.00

Admission charges

Exhibitions admission charges:
£4.50 Adults
£3.00 Concessions
Campus Card Holders - free
School/pre-booked group of over 10 people £3.00
Joint ticket - Castle Tour and Galleries £8.00

Durham Castle Tours:
Adults £5.00
Concessions/chilldren £3.50
Children aged 5 and under - FREE
Family ticket £12.00

Additional info

Wheelchair access to all public areas ,though subject to disruption from ongoing building work. Please check Library website: pg.library@durham.ac.uk or call 191 334 2932 on the day you intend to visit.

The Bishop Cosin's Library and the Sudan Archive are Designated Collections of oustanding national and international importance.

The Bishop Cosin’s Library is still housed in its original building and, as an integral element of the World Heritage Site, has significance for the history of libraries and for ecclesiastical history both locally and nationally.

The Sudan Archive is indispensable to the study of the Sudan in the period of British administration. It is significant to British national life through its illustration of the impact of the colonial power on the country at many levels of administration.

The Special Collections at Palace Green Library also hold many other important national and regional collections, including:

Durham Diocesian Records
Durham Cathedral Muniments
Local Records, Maps, Plans and Photographs
Manorial Records
Earl Grey Family Papers
Antiquarian Papers
Literary Papers
Durham University Records

Collection details

World Cultures, Social History, Religion, Literature, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
  • Sudan
  • Cosin
  • County Durham
  • Bishop
  • Cathedral
  • Dean and Chapter
  • Earl Grey
  • University
  • Archives
  • Books
  • Manuscript
  • Printed
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
painting of durham

Living on the Hills - 10,000 years of Durham

  • 26 July 2014 — 26 July 2016 *on now

This permanent exhibition uses objects from Museum of Archaeology, alongside objects from across Durham University and other regional museums to explore the last 10,000 years of Durham.

In July 2014, Palace Green Library’s Wolfson Gallery will become the new home for displays from the Museum of Archaeology. This permanent exhibition uses objects from Museum of Archaeology, alongside objects from across Durham University and other regional museums to explore the last 10,000 years of Durham.
Over the last few months, visitors to the Wolfson Gallery have been able preview a taster exhibition, unearthing the stories of how people have lived and worked in Durham for over 10,000 years.
Living on the Hills investigates the lives of people who have lived and visited Durham through the tools and everyday objects they used, and the art and architecture they left behind to be rediscovered. Discover Prehistoric objects found by chance at the turn of the century, Roman objects uncovered by Victorian antiquarians and Medieval objects found during 1970s archaeological excavations.
Included in the gallery is a community archaeology space which will showcase the work of local archaeology and history groups from across the region.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Somme 1916

Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front

  • 25 March — 2 October 2016 *on now

During the First World War, battle after battle was fought by the British Army on the Western Front in Belgium and France.
A century later, the Battle of the Somme stands out as one of the largest offensives of World War I. With over 1 million casualties, the popular view of the offensive is of brave young soldiers and callous generals, doomed attacks and senseless slaughter.
But is this view mistaken? What really happened in 1916?
Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front tells the stories of the people from County Durham caught up in the battle: the men who fought and died on the battlefield; the women who nursed the wounded and comforted the dying; and the workers who toiled in factories, mines and shipyards across the county to support the war effort.
Durham University is working in partnership with Durham County Council on this exhibition, which will showcase items from the Durham Light Infantry Museum and Archive collections.

County Durham has been officially twinned with the Somme region in France for over 30 years. For more information about County Durham’s First World War centenary commemorations, visit the Durham at War website.

Admission charges apply for this exhibition. Please check the Palace Green Library website for further information on how to buy tickets.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Admission charges apply for this exhibition. Please check the Palace Green Library website for further information on how to buy tickets.

Website

http://www.durham.ac.uk/palace.green

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front

Somme 1916: Talks Programme

  • 30 June 2016 1-2pm

Canon Professor Michael Snape, of Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion, will present a talk entitled 'Faith on the Somme: The Churches and the British Soldier in 1916':

"It is often supposed that the shattering experience of the First World War discredited organised religion and led to a widespread loss of faith in British society. Taking the experience of the British soldier in the 1916 Battle of the Somme, this lecture questions this common assumption. By looking at the role of army chaplains and church welfare agencies, as well as at the faith of soldiers themselves, this lecture illustrates the resilience and importance of religion amidst the bloodiest battle of the First World War."

This talk will be free of charge. Booking is essential for all talks.
To book online, please visit: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=604

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/events/somme1916/

Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front

Somme 1916: Talks Programme

  • 1 July 2016 6-7:30pm

Alastair Fraser of Palace Green Archives and Special Collections, Durham University, will present and provide a commentary to a special screening of the film "The Battle of the Somme":

""The Battle of the Somme" was shot on the battlefield in 1916 and is now the nearest thing we have to a living eyewitness, but what are we really looking at and how much of it is genuine? Who were the cameramen and what were the technical challenges they faced? The film will be shown with a commentary describing who is in the film, where they are filmed and in some cases what they are saying. It is a film as powerful today as it was to audiences in August 1916."

This talk will be free of charge. Booking is essential for all talks.

To book online, please visit: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=605

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/events/somme1916/

Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front

Somme 1916: Talks Programme

  • 4 July 2016 6-7:30pm

Rosemary Wall, Lecturer in Global History at The University of Hull, will present a talk entitled 'The British Red Cross and the Battle of the Somme':

"In 1916, the British Red Cross (BRC) faced crises. Firstly, a third of Voluntary Aid Detachment members were male, and the Military Service Acts meant that many of these men were conscripted leading to a recruitment drive for more female members. Within months, the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 led to nearly 20,000 deaths amongst British soldiers, and a further 40,000 wounded. The offensive continued until November, resulting in 420,000 Commonwealth casualties. BRC members were not only involved in transporting and caring for those who survived, but had the responsibility of searching for the many Missing and Wounded through hospitals at home and abroad and in rest camps. This talk examines how the BRC coped with the events of 1916."

This talk will be free of charge. Booking is essential for all talks.

To book online, please visit: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=608

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/events/somme1916/

Somme 1916

Somme 1916: Talks Programme

  • 13 July 2016 6-7:30pm

Jeremy Banning, military historian and Historical Consultant for the BBC, will present a talk entitled 'Tunnellers on the Somme: La Boisselle - a case study':

"In 2011 a team of military historians commenced a long-term study of a unique piece of First World War battleground. Bordering the village of La Boisselle at the heart of the Somme battlefield the sector was known to the British troops as the ‘Glory Hole’. Having lain practically undisturbed since 1918, archaeology has revealed a host of features including evidence of French, British and German occupation spanning the evolution of trench warfare. The ground was also extensively undermined, forming one of the most important and labyrinthine tunnel systems on the Western Front. Using the sector at La Boisselle as an illustration, this talk will assess the role of the military miner and specialist Tunnelling Companies of the Royal Engineers and the effect their endeavours had on the Somme offensive. The talk is liberally illustrated with unique images of underground exploration and archaeology carried out by the team."

This talk will be free of charge. Booking is essential for all talks.

To book online, please visit: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=606

Enquiries regarding bookings should be made to Event Durham on 0191 3342887. Enquiries regarding the talks themselves should be made to Palace Green Library on 0191 3342976.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/events/somme1916/

Somme 1916

Somme 1916: Talks Programme

  • 20 July 2016 1-2pm

The taking of souvenirs from the enemy was a popular activity during the Great War. What items was the British soldier keen to acquire, how and why did he go about it and what do his collecting habits tell us about the way he saw his war?

This talk will be free of charge. Booking is essential for all talks.

To book your place, please visit: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=640

Enquiries regarding bookings should be made to Event Durham on 0191 3342887. Enquiries regarding the talks themselves should be made to Palace Green Library on 0191 3342976.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/events/somme1916/

Somme 1916

Somme 1916: Talks Programme

  • 25 July 2016 1-2pm

Emma Hanna, Research Fellow at the University of Kent, will present a talk entitled ''Whatever cheers the warrior helps to win the war': Music and Morale in the First World War':

"Musical entertainment was deemed to be an essential part of the war effort. Music of all kinds was provided for British servicemen wherever they were stationed, right up to the lines of communications and the fighting fronts in Europe and beyond. With material taken from the archives of a number of voluntary organisations such as the YMCA, and military units covering the Army, Navy and Flying Corps/RAF, Emma Hanna will show how all types of musical performance were vital maintaining the morale of British servicemen on all fighting fronts 1914-18."

This talk will be free of charge. Booking is essential for all talks.

To book your place, please visit: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=633

Enquiries regarding bookings should be made to Event Durham on 0191 3342887. Enquiries regarding the talks themselves should be made to Palace Green Library on 0191 3342976.

Website

https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/events/somme1916/

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Remembering Slavery

http://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/indexpages/citizenship.html

A schools workshop that challenges students to think about the transatlantic slave trade and the impact that it has had. The session is based on printed, manuscript and pictoral sources from our collections but also makes use of our slavery-related handling collection and life-sized print of the slave ship Brookes. The session can take place at our Library or in school and can be adapted to suit any Key Stage.

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collections

How to obtain

Information about the session and supporting resources can be found on our website. Please contact 4schools@durham.ac.uk for further information.

Family Records Guide

http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk

This site contains links to our resources, guides and projects that are most likely to be useful for those undertaking family history and also local history research, or wanting to study individuals and families from the archives held by Durham University Library.

Publisher

  • Durham University Library Special Collections

North East Inheritance

http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei

The North East Inheritance project is creating of an online digital image catalogue of over 150,000 wills and related archives from across County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. These will provide an invaluable insight into north-eastern people and communities, their family relationships, trades and lifestyles. The wills date from the 16th Century to the mid-19th Century and many are accompanied by inventories of the goods belonging to the deceased, bonds, accounts, and a variety of associated documents.

Publisher

  • Durham University Library Special Collections

Remembering Slavery

http://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/indexpages/citizenship.html

A collection of online resources which use printed and manuscript material to look at the history of the transatlantic slave trade. Included are a series of e-learning resources which are ready for use in the classroom; an online exhibition focusing on various aspects of the slave trade; and a number of resources designed for use on interactive whiteboards.

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collecions

Publisher

  • Durham University Library

Victorian Durham

http://www.dur.ac.uk/4schools/victoriandurham/default.html

An online resource looking at aspects of Victorian life with particular reference to Durham. It is accompanied by a specially designed walking trail for schools which takes pupils on a tour around the World Heritage Site on a quest for clues about the city's Victorian past.

Creator

  • Durham University Museums and Special Collections in collaboration with students on the MA Museum and Artefact Studies course

Publisher

  • Durham University Library

Palace Green Library
Durham University Library
Palace Green
Durham
DH1 3RN
England

Website

www.dur.ac.uk/library/

E-mail

pg.library@durham.ac.uk

Telephone

0191 334 2932

Fax

0191 334 2942

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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