The story of the British Council’s development is a unique and fascinating one, and we encourage any interest in our past activities.
Our archives are records which have been selected for permanent preservation because of their historical significance.
We do not hold our archives. They are transferred to repositories with better facilities for providing access to researchers. We do not provide research facilities ourselves.
Below is a list of UK repositories where our records are held and a summary of the type of material available. Most of these repositories have searchable online catalogues where you can find information about our archives.
- The National Archives is the main repository of British Council records. Here you can find policy records, committee minutes, and reports on activities overseas and in the UK.
- Tate Archive holds the archives of our Visual Arts teams (formerly called Fine Arts).
- The British Library collects our publications, including the annual report.
- British Library Sound Archive holds the work of our Recordings Unit from the 1940s onwards, and the recordings of a staff Oral History project.
- The British Film Institute (BFI) holds a collection of films produced and sponsored by us in the 1930s and 1940s. These are available to watch on our Film Department website.
- The Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick holds the archives of our Staff Association and Trade Union Side.
- The Special Collections of the University of Reading holds a collection of letters between notable British authors and our Literature department.
If you need further assistance in locating the archives you need, please contact our records and archives team.