From Medieval manuscripts to the Brunel bridge construction – take a virtual tour of the Special Collections

The University of Bristol Special Collections team has been hard at work to make finding items in the collection and researching them easier.

The collections, which make up the Cultural Collections together with the Theatre Collection, holds more than 5km of books, archives, photographs, and artefacts dating from the eleventh to the twenty-first century.

A view of Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, from St Vincent’s Rocks, showing the piers under construction. One of many images held as part of Special Collections at the University of Bristol.

The new University Library building, proposals for which are currently submitted to Bristol City Council for planning consent, will for the first time bring both collections together in one, more accessible, space.

Here are some top tips for accessing the collections:

  • Use the library catalogue to find out about our book holdings. Some may only be for University of Bristol people, but there is a wide variety of material available for all.
  • Take a digital tour of our Online Archive Catalogue, where you’ll find a wealth of digitised materials you can investigate.
  • Remember if you need advice, or want to find out more, do email the team at and we will try and help.

For some inspiration of the kinds of things you might find, visit the latest Special Collections blog.