Special Collections, Leeds University Library

Brotherton Library Reading Room
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Free to all visitors, the Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds holds exceptional collections on a vast variety of subjects. We welcome you to research the area of your interest in the Fay and Geoffrey Elliott Reading Room, whether for formal academic study or personal interest. There are nearly 200,000 rare books and hundreds of thousands of manuscripts to choose from, ranging from illuminated medieval manuscripts to archives of significant contemporary poets such as Geoffrey Hill. Visit our online exhibition for a taster of the collections: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/library/spcoll/virtualtour/

This library has Designated Collections of national importance.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive

Opening hours

Monday - Thursday: 09:00 to 18:00
Friday: 09:30 to 17:00
Saturday: 10:00 to 13:00
Sunday: Closed

Admission charges

Free of charge

Additional info

If you are not a member of the University of Leeds, please contact Special Collections or the University Archive to make an appointment prior to visiting.

Among the Special Collections, the English Literature Collection, the Cookery Collection, the Romany Collection and the Leeds Russian Archive are Designated Collections of national importance.

The English Literature Collection is a comprehensive manuscript and printed collection particularly strong in poetry and drama of the period 1600-1750, the work of diverse nineteenth-century authors, extensive correspondence of major literary figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, archives of twentieth-century literary magazines, and manuscripts of a wide range of later twentieth-century writers.

The Romany Collection is a printed and manuscript collection, and is a comprehensive resource for studying Gypsy history and culture from the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

The Cookery Collection is chiefly made up of printed books but with some manuscripts, covers cookery in the UK (and to a lesser extent in Europe) from the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

The Russian Archive is a major international resource for study of Anglo-Russian relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and of Russian émigrés in that period, especially literary figures. Constituents include the world’s largest archives for the authors Ivan Bunin (Nobel laureate) and Leonid Andreev, and the massive archive of the émigré organisation Zemgor.

The Feminist Archive North (FAN) holds a wide variety of material relating to the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) from 1969 to the present. Topics covered by FAN include the women’s peace movement, women’s studies, women and development, and violence against women. The Archive includes personal and organisational documentary archives, conference papers, dissertations, books, and complete runs of important WLM journals such as Spare Rib, Shrew, Women’s Report, Scarlet Woman, Shifra and Women’s Voice. There are also leaflets, video and audio tapes, posters and other ephemera - a wealth of contemporary material, much of which is unique to this collection.

Collection details

World Cultures, Social History, Literature, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
  • Feminist Archive North
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.

Feminist Activism - Education & Job Opportunities


How Leeds feminists used the 1970s equality laws to access job skills and the impact of the 1970s’ Women’s Liberation Movement on how we live today.


  • This resource was produced as part of the MLA-funded My Learning project.

Special Collections, Leeds University Library
Leeds University Library
University of Leeds
Woodhouse Lane
West Yorkshire


Special Collections


University Archive


Library Catalogue


Highlights Online


Feminist Archive North





Special Collections


University Archive




0113 343 5663


0113 343 5697

Special Collections

0113 343 5518

University Archive (Monday-Tuesday)

0113 34 35061

University Archive (Wednesday-Friday)

0113 34 35518


0113 343 5561

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.