Archives

Located near Olympia in west London, the Victoria and Albert Museum Archives comprise four units:

  • the Archive of Art and Design
  • the Beatrix Potter Collections
  • the V&A Archive
  • the V&A Theatre and Performance Archive

The Archive of Art and Design

The Archive of Art and Design (AAD) was established in 1978 to house the V&A's growing archival holdings.

It collects, conserves and makes available for research the archives of individuals, associations and companies involved in the art and design process. Particular emphasis is placed on records concerning 20th-century British design. For more information, see the Archive of Art and Design webpage.

The Beatrix Potter Collections

This major collection of material relating to Beatrix Potter has at its core the Linder Bequest. Received by the Museum in 1973, this laid the foundation for further acquisitions of individual items and groups of material. The original bequest includes correspondence, drawings, watercolours, photographs, literary MSS and other memorabilia. Natural history and landscape drawings outnumber ‘book pictures’. Also available for consultation at the archive are the 280 drawings and 40 early editions that comprise the separate Linder Collection, which remains the property of the Linder Trust. For more information, see the Beatrix Potter Collections webpage.

The V&A Archive

The V&A’s own institutional archives are also available for consultation. They provide a rich resource for the study of the history and influence of the Museum. Included in the archive are details of the acquisition and provenance of the Museum’s several million objects; its relations with major donors, collectors and lenders; its collecting policies and development; and the architectural history of the South Kensington site. Many departmental archives are also available, including those of the former Circulation department. Please note that although the archives are public records and are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data or information supplied to the V&A in confidence, may be restricted under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. For more information, see the V&A Archive webpage.

The V&A Theatre and Performance Archives

The V&A's national Theatre and Performance Collections can be accessed in the Archive & Library Study Room at Blythe House from Tuesday to Friday each week.

Access to archives at Blythe House

Material from all sections of the archive is available for consultation in the Archive and Library Study Room. Access is by appointment only. Reader tickets are valid for use in the Archive and Library Study Room, the National Art Library and the Prints and Drawings Study Room. Anyone can apply for a reader ticket, free of charge, and they are valid for three years.

Registering in person

When you arrive at the Archive and Library Study Room you will need to:

Registering online in advance of your visit

On the V&A website you should:

  • read the V&A Study Room’s Conditions of Use
  • go to the NAL Catalogue,  click on the 'My Account' tab, then 'New User'
  • fill in the online registration form
  • make a note of your Temporary Reader Number and PIN
  • remember to bring personal identification and proof of address to the Study Room to complete your registration

Acceptable forms of identification and proof of address

To complete your registration you must provide personal identification and proof of address. If a single document provides both personal identification and proof of address then this is acceptable. Otherwise you will need to provide one form of documentation from each of the lists below.

Acceptable forms of personal identification (must include your photograph or signature):

  • Passport
  • National Identity card
  • Photo Driving Licence
  • Student identity card
  • Official identification card from recognised place of work (provided it includes a photograph or signature)
  • Bank or credit card
  • British Library ticket

Acceptable forms of proof of address (must include your name and address):

  • Recent utility bill (within last 3 months)
  • Council Tax Bill (valid for current year)
  • State Pension Book
  • Recent bank statement (within last 3 months)

Renewing your reader ticket

You can renew your Reader Ticket in two ways:

  • complete a PC-based application form in person
  • follow the instructions for Registering online in advance of your visit above

There is no need to renew old style tickets to the National Art Library or Museum Archives until these expire. They will remain valid for use in the relevant reading rooms.

How to replace a lost, stolen or damaged reader ticket

A lost, stolen or damaged reader ticket will be replaced free of charge. The repeated loss of reader tickets may result in the right of registration being withdrawn.

In order to make an appointment, please contact the relevant section of the Archive:

Access and facilities for visitors with disabilities

The following guide describes access arrangements and services and facilities for disabled visitors to the Archive and Library Study Room at Blythe House, Olympia and to the National Art Library and the Prints & Drawings Study Room at the V&A South Kensington.

Download Study Room Services for People with Disabilities (PDF file, 64 KB)

Download Study Room Services for People with Disabilities - Large Print Version (PDF file, 68 KB)

Photocopying and photography

For reasons of preservation the photocopying of archival material is not allowed. Archives may be photographed for study purposes at the discretion of the archivist. For terms governing publication, commercial reproduction and copyright, please apply to the Museum's picture agency, V&A Images on tel. +44 (0)20 7942 2966,  fax +44 (0)20 7942 2482 or e-mail vanda.images@vam.ac.uk.

Opening hours

The Archive and Library Study Room at Blythe House, which serves the Archive of Art and Design, the V&A Archive, the V&A Theatre and Performance Collections and the Beatrix Potter Collections, is open Tuesday to Friday, from 10.00 to 16.30, by appointment only (Theatre & Performance Collections from 10.15).

Planned Closures for 2014

Easter
Closed from 16.30 Thursday 17th April  
Re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 22nd April

Summer Bank Holiday & Annual stocktake
Closed from 16.30 Friday 8th August
Re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 26th August

Christmas holiday
Closed from 16.30 Tuesday 23rd Dec. 
Re-opening at 10.00 on Friday 2nd Jan. 2015 

Archive of Art and Design

Tel: +44 (0)20 7603 7493 or contact us online

Beatrix Potter Collections

Tel: +44 (0)20 7602 0281ext. 212, fax or contact us online

V&A Archive

Tel: +44 (0)20 7602 5886 or contact us online

V&A Theatre and Performance Department Collections

Tel +44 (0)20 7942 2697, fax: +44 (0)20 7942 2697, email: tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk

Location

The Archive and Library Study Room is located at:
Blythe House
23 Blythe Road
London
W14 0QX

Nearby underground stations within 10-15 minutes walk are:

  • Barons Court (District and Piccadilly lines)
  • Hammersmith (District, Hammersmith and City and Piccadilly lines)
  • Shepherd’s Bush (Central and Hammersmith and City lines)
  • West Kensington (District line)

Buses 9, 10, 27, 28 and 391 go to Olympia.

London Transport Journey Planner logo

For more information click the icon for the London Transport Journey Planner.

The public entrance to Blythe House is through Gate B, the original Grand Entrance on the north side of the building. Please use the intercom by the gate to inform reception of your arrival.

 

A gift in your will

You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.

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Sat 15 November 2014–Mon 17 November 2014

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