The Turner Collection was gathered by Father John Turner (1765-1844), a member of the Community of English Benedictines in France during the Revolution. He was personally involved in events in Paris, taking the Civic Oath, and suffering imprisonment in Sainte-Pélagie 1793-5. It was placed on permanent deposit in the University Library, by the Abbot and Community of Douai, in July 1966.

This highly important Collection is shortly to be re-housed, along with other books, papers and archives which form part of the University Library's Special Collections, in a purpose built store at the Museum of English Rural Life, adjacent to the London Road Campus. The new facilities are part of a £10 million redevelopment of the site, and is funded jointly by the University and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The move will have a number of benefits for scholars wishing to consult the Special Collections:

  • Improved environmental conditions for the long-term preservation of the collections
  • Improved security for the collections
  • Improved study environment and research facilities
  • A more professional and coordinated service through the closer collaboration of MERL and Special Collections staff
  • Exhibition, conference and seminar facilities
  • Additional opportunities to secure external grant funding
  • Increased awareness and usage of the collections

Construction of the new store building is expected to be completed in March 2006.


The Centre for the Advanced Study of French History has access to the major Anglo-American and French Journals, including including French History, Modern and Contemporary France, Annales, Annales Historiques de le Révolution Française and French Historical Studies. The Centre also subscribes to many of the major French Newspapers, such as Le Monde, Paris Match and Figaro. And it stocks the Bibliographie Annuelle de l'Histoire de France, an invaluable tool for researchers into all periods of French history.

The centre recently acquired bound copies of La France Libre, a second world war publication; and the collected documents on Conditions and Politics in occupied Europe.

Things to do now

  • For further information please contact the Co-Directors:
  • Dr Frank Tallett

  • Dr Joel Felix


  • Or contact the School Postgraduate Administrator (Amanda Harvey)



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