London Metropolitan University Research Institutes
 
 

Archive of the Irish in Britain

Founded in 1984, this unique collection of documents, audio and video recordings, books, photographs and ephemera catalogues the history of the Irish in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

The Archive is regularly consulted by researchers, students, academics and journalists from Britain, Ireland and further afield. Its primary aims are as follows:

  • Acquisition, cataloguing and indexing of new materials
  • Preservation and safe storage of the collections
  • Dissemination and widening of access to the archive


By preserving, expanding and disseminating the Archive of the Irish in Britain, the Irish Studies Centre aims to secure and safeguard the historical records of the Irish in Britain and to enhance understanding of the Irish community for British, Irish and other peoples alike. We are keen to encourage participation in its development through donation of materials, interviews, exhibitions, talks and collaborative projects.

The Archive collections consist of materials donated in a number of different media over the last twenty years. The original collections were inherited by the university from the Irish in Britain History Group in 1989 and have been substantially augmented since. The IBHG which was set up in the early 1980s began to collect documentation and oral interviews on the Irish in Britain as no other such collection existed at the time. Since moving to Irish Studies Centre, the collections have been significantly expanded and due to better access arrangements many more people have been able to use the Archive than would otherwise have been the case, in some cases from as far afield as Japan and Australia. Many visitors have remarked on the advantage of being able to access so many sources for their research under the one roof.

Examples of some the holdings we have are a copy of the first ever book-length history of the Irish in Britain by John Denvir published in 1892, a collection of St. Patrick's Day programmes produced for events in London dating back to 1922, oral history recordings of individuals' experiences of migration to Britain in the 1930s, photographs of Irish community events in the 1950s and political posters from the 1980s.

In addition to this the Archive possesses the prison letters of Guildfour Four man Paul Hill and is regularly consulted by researchers, programme-makers, historians and journalists from Britain, Ireland and further afield. Tim Pat Coogan's recent history of Irish migration 'Wherever Green Is Worn', the TV documentary on the Irish abroad 'The Irish Empire' and Clare Barrington's bibliography of Irish Women in Britain are just some of the works for which the Archive has been consulted.

In addition to visits, the Archive deals with numerous telephone, e-mail and letter enquiries requesting information, literature searches and referrals to other Irish agencies in Britain.

The Irish Studies Centre is grateful to the Smurfit Foundation for its support of the Archive of the Irish in Britain
For further information contact

Tony Murray
Direct line: 020 7133 2593
Email: t.murray@londonmet.ac.uk

Current Archive Projects and Events:
Council of Irish County Associations (London) Heritage Project.
DION (Emigrant Support Programme)
Dr Nicole McLennan in partnership with Council of Irish County Associations

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS IN LONDON:
Home Away From Home: London’s Irish County Associations 
Collaborative Exhibition with the Council of Irish County Associations.

The exhibition includes a display of documents and artefacts. 
London Irish Centre, Camden
28 February to 31 March 2011  
Opening 28 Feb –invitation only
1-31 March – Open/Free
10am til late

Home Away From Home: London’s Irish County Associations (tbc) 
Collaborative Exhibition with the Council of Irish County Associations. 
The exhibition comprises panels with text and images 
City Hall Cafe London
7 March to 25 March 2011 
Open/Free
8:00am-6:00pm Mon to Thursday
8:00am-5:30pm
Friday

For further information on this project and these exhibitions
irishinbritainarchive@londonmet.ac.uk
Dr Nicole McLennan on 020 7133 4353






 

   Company Information    Page last updated 21 January 2009     Contact Page Owner (Damhnait Rumney)