University Heritage Collection


The University Heritage Collection is made up of objects relating to the institutional history of the University, significant figures and the lived experiences of campus life.

Shrapnel and incendiary bomb, c.1940

Shrapnel and incendiary bomb, c.1940 

Architectural features across campus chart the University’s development and form an integral part of the Heritage collection. This includes objects which relate to the founding of the University such as the ceremonial key created for the Royal opening of the University in 1909. The carved heraldic shields from the University’s precursor, Mason College, are installed outside the west entrance to the School of Law. 

Material from University House, and its first warden Margery Fry, explore the significant historical moment when the first women’s Hall of Residence in Britain was established. There is material relating to both World Wars, including a cloth embroidered by soldiers convalescing in the Great Hall when it was used as a military hospital, and shrapnel found by students after an air raid in 1940.

Other ephemera explore stories of extraordinary achievement and innovation including the small Union Jack taken on the Challenger Space Mission in 1985 which carried a telescope built by the University into earth orbit.

The collection includes artefacts that relate to the University’s manuscript and archive deposits held by Cadbury Research Library, such as personal effects of Joseph Chamberlain and Lord Avon, among others.

For further collection history, see our Collections Development Policy.