National Arts Education Archive Trust

venue representative image
Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

The National Arts Education Archive was established in 1985 at Bretton Hall College to provide a documentary trace of the development of Arts Education, in the UK and worldwide. It is based in the Lawrence Batley Centre, and now holds some 100 collections of children's and students' work in the Arts. The National Arts Education Archive is open to all, and particularly welcomes academic researchers and students.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Please check the National Trust website before visiting.

Admission charges


This unique facility for the Archive holds:

papers and letters
games and puzzles
audio tapes

The collections are catalogued and computerised and researchers and visitors who would like to visit the Archive are requested to make an appointment with the Centre Administrator, or the Assistant Curator. For visits by parties or for further information on the Archive it is necessary to contact the Assistant Curator.

With more than 60,000 catalogued items the National Arts Education Archive is a must for researchers wishing to view primary source material.

Collection details

Archives, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Design, Film and Media, Fine Art, Music, Performing Arts, Photography, Social History, Toys and Hobbies

Key artists and exhibits

  • The seminal collections around which the Archive is centered are those representing the Child Art Movement and the Basic Design Movement, which reflected fundamentally opposing viewpoints of art education in the post-war years. Documentary records of the 1956 Society for Education through Art (SEA) Conference at Bretton Hall and correspondance between Alexander Barclay-Russell and Herbert Read form an important research focus of the Archive. It was at this conference that the fierce debate, which was a feature of art education in this period, came to the platform. Most of the paintings, papers and artefacts illustrate the developments of both the above mentioned movements in Art Education and provide a record of the two main philosophies of Art Education in this century.
  • The Child Art Movement is well represented in the Barclay-Russell Memorial Collection, which includes work from the teaching of Marion Richardson (also in the ILEA Collection) and other teachers and educationalists associated with the Society for Education through Art. Franz Cizek in Vienna in the 1920s also had an influence on the development of progressive child-centred Art Education in the UK. In addition there is Sir Alec Clegg's personal archive of children's paintings, and the work of his advisory staff in the former West Riding County Education Service between 1945 and 1974. These West Riding collections contain a wide range of art and craft work from primary and secondary children, as well as comprehensive records and documentation of the period. They reflect the development of the Arts in Education in the West Riding Authority which had a national and international influence.
  • The Basic Design collections contain a comprehensive range of work by students on Foundation Courses at Leeds, Leicester and Cardiff Arts Schools and the Central School during the late 1950s and early 1960s. the collections demonstrate the teaching methods adopted by Victor Pasmore, Tom Hudson, Richard Hamilton, Harry Thubron and others associated with the movement, which challenged the principles of progressivists as the influence of the ideas spread from Colleges of Art into the schools.

National Arts Education Archive Trust
Lawrence Batley Centre
Bretton Hall
West Bretton
West Yorkshire




01924 832020


01924 832077

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.