Library and Archive for Anarchist and Radical History

Library and archive


If you know where we are and are able to visit during our regular opening hours (every Tuesday 11am-2pm), just drop in!

There is limited parking at the back and there are good public transport links. If you need directions and/or want to arrange for a more suitable day/time for your visit, please get in touch.

The ground floor is wheelchair accessible (via a moderately inclined concrete ramp), but please note that we unfortunately do not have accessible toilet facilities. However, St Ann’s Health Centre is just around the corner, offering good accessible toileting facilities every weekday until 6.30pm (or 1pm on Thursdays). We know that this arrangement is far from ideal and we hope to remedy this situation as soon as possible.

Please note that most materials will be stored on site but some materials may be stored off site and would need to be requested by users. If in doubt, please get in touch before visiting us.

Please note that due to privacy issues any materials which were not originally designed for publication (internal documents, correspondence, etc.) cannot be routinely accessed unless they are older than 40 years. However, please get in touch if you wish to access such materials for a specific research project, we might well be able to help you out anyway (e.g. by digitising materials for you whilst digitally blackening out names and addresses).

Using the catalogue

Since the Sparrows' Nest opened in December 2008 we have been continuously developing our ever extending collections. Aside from preservation, a key aspect of our work is cataloguing the materials to make them accessible to users.

A big thank you to everyone who has helped with this and of course many thanks to all who have donated materials to the Nest.

To access the catalogue, please download the catalogue in the file format of your choice below, search away and (where possible) hit the links to access the materials online, which should then open in your browser (your device might ask at that point whether you really want to do open the file, but if you have trusted us enough to download the catalogue, we hope you trust us with these links as well!). Search using your PDF Reader/Spreadsheet software, if in doubt, hitting the [Ctrl] and [F] together usually does the trick.

Last update 21st February 2017.

Full catalogue: Excel Spreadsheet, Open Office Spreadsheet, PDF file (23 MB)

Catalogue of digitised materials: Excel Spreadsheet, Open Office Spreadsheet, PDF file (8MB)

You will notice that we are doing our utmost to provide as much content and as much catalogue data as possible. However, you can also see that this is not the most user friendly way to access the data (we tried other things over the years, such as HTML tables, but they never worked well either). The data came out of a nice database, our problem is lack of money/know-how to also create a proper online database!. If you can help, please contact us!

Please note that despite us putting many hours of work into cataloguing our collections, there remain many parts of our collections that are yet uncatalogued, and if you have some time to spare, we always appreciate some help please!

If you have any questions, spotted an error or want to add additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you have any materials you would like to donate or to be held in the library or archive, please contact us!

Donations to help us build the collections are very welcome. Please visit our Donations page.

Some of our greatest treasures arrived looking like random heaps of smelly paper. So if you have access to potentially interesting materials, be it pamphlets, bulletines, zines, papers, letters, etc. please DO NOT throw them out, but let us know!

Symbols/abbreviations used in the catalogues

* indicating that a piece of information was not explicitly stated in the document but that it could be assumed with ample surety that the information is correct
[?] indicating an illegible word, usually used when names were (partly) illegible (e.g. ‘Al [?]’)
? unsure whether the word/information before the question mark is correct (e.g. ‘Norman Giranns ? renews a subscription’, here the ? refers to the word ‘Giranns’)
N/A depending on context meaning either ‘Not Applicable’ or ‘Not available’

Borrowing items

It is possible to borrow items from the Sparrows’ Nest. Whether or not that is possible will be decided on a case by case basis. The decision is simply based on how difficult it would be to replace the item should you decide to make a run for it.

Most books are thus available to take home for a period of up to four weeks. We will take your name and contact details when you take the item home. You can renew by email for another four weeks if you need to do so.

You are responsible to bring the materials back to us. If you do not bring items back to us and ignore our reminders, you are stopping others from accessing the materials, forcing us to spend money to replace the stuff.

Given that the vast majority of the archival materials, as well as most of the journals, pamphlets, zines, etc. are no longer in print and thus rare or even unique, you cannot borrow these items. We are however happy to digitise them and will add them to the Digital Library for you to enjoy at home.