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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
CHELSEA COLLEGE: Library Records
Level of description
Sub-fonds of King's College London Archives
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
18 boxes and 10 volumes


Name of creator(s)

South-Western Polytechnic, Chelsea Polytechnic, Chelsea College of Science and Technology, Chelsea College

Administrative / Biographical history

Library provision at the South-Western Polytechnic was restricted to the availability of reading room space. Students were expected to use the adjacent Chelsea Public Library in order to consult books and periodicals. The inconvenience of this arrangement led to the creation of a Library Committee in 1921. The consequent library remained comparatively small until the post-World War Two expansion in provision that witnessed an increase in the number of titles from around 8000 in 1960 to 80,000 in 1970. These were divided between the Main Library, branch libraries situated on the principal College sites, and departmental collections of reference volumes. All of these were combined with the King's Library when the Colleges merged in 1985.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Chelsea College Library

Content & structure

Scope and content

Chelsea College Library records, 1895-1987, comprise papers collected by the College Library or describing the work of the Library on the Chelsea campus following the merger with King's College in 1985, notably correspondence with the College Secretary and departments, 1974-1980; papers relating to Library computerisation, 1979-1987; staffing and salary matters, 1978-1985; University Grants Committee papers on libraries, 1974-1982; History and Philosophy of Science Library correspondence and bibliography, 1964-1987; Chelsea Campus Libraries Users Committee notes, 1985-1987; finance, 1975-1977; concerning the College History Collection, 1965-1974; notes relating to building and planning at the King's Road site, 1971-1987; University of London merger and other papers, 1978-1983; reports on medical education in London, 1980; concerning Library private papers, 1949-1970; Library Annual Reports, 1963-1987 (1992/CAL, CAL/1986); correspondence concerning Library donors and Zoology reprints, 1967-1985 (Ref: 1986/CAL); accessions registers, 1921-1975 (Ref: CAL/RG); lists of current periodicals, 1960-1974 (Ref: CAL/RGJ); payments books for stock, equipment and expenses, 1960-1973 (Ref: CAL/CB); Library staff personnel files for leavers between 1970-1976 (Ref: CAL/FP); material concerning the history of the College accumulated by the Library, including charters, official reports, with some press cuttings, 1914-1981 (Ref: CAL/H).

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged into the main series outlined in the Scope and Content section.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Administrative records are generally closed for thirty years from the last date on the file. Personnel files are closed for eighty years.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, can be supplied to appropriate College staff. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services, King's College London.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

Detailed contents list is available for consultation in hard copy in the King's College London Archives Reading Room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

King's College London Library papers (Ref: KAL). The main Secretarial and Minute Book series for Chelsea College also cover the administration of the Library (Ref: CAS, CA/M); Title Deeds and Legal Documents, Press Cuttings (Ref: C/CSA, C/PC).

Description control

Archivist's Note

Sources: H Silver and S J Teague eds, Chelsea College - A History (London, 1977). Entry compiled by Geoff Browell as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions

National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997; ISAD(G), Second edition, 2000.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

March 2002

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  • Academic libraries
  • Accessions lists
  • Bibliographies
  • Biology
  • Books
  • Catalogues
  • Communications media
  • Economics of education
  • Educational finance
  • Educational history
  • Educational sciences
  • Educational supervision
  • Governing bodies
  • Government
  • Guidebooks
  • Guides
  • Health services administration
  • Higher education institutions
  • Information sciences
  • Information/library administration
  • Information/library facilities
  • Information/library personnel
  • Information/library planning
  • Librarians
  • Libraries
  • Newspaper press
  • Organization and administration
  • Personnel management
  • Press
  • Press cuttings
  • Public administration
  • Publications
  • Secondary documents
  • Universities
  • University governing bodies
  • Wages
  • Zoology

Corporate names

  • Chelsea College
  • Chelsea College
  • Chelsea College of Science and Technology
  • Chelsea College of Science and Technology
  • Chelsea Polytechnic
  • Chelsea Polytechnic
  • King's College London College Archives
  • South-Western Polytechnic
  • South-Western Polytechnic
  • UGC, University Grants Committee
  • University of London

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