Visit us

Visit Us

The Museum is now fully open, following a major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Free Admission

The Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading

Redlands Road



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The library at the MERL is the most important in the country for the study of the history of British agriculture, the countryside and rural society. Our very wide-ranging collections embrace farming through the ages, agricultural technology, the history of food and diet, perceptions of the countryside, the social history of the countryside, garden and landscape history, the politics of land use, conservation issues, local history, estate management, and rural crafts and industries.

There are uniquely accessible, extensive runs of historically significant journals from the nineteenth century onwards. We have a large number of rare books and specialist collections including herd books, a Milling and Baking Collection, a Dairy Collection and the Robert Dawson Romany History collection. We also hold the libraries of the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), the Tools and Trades History Society and the Landscape Institute.

A selective list of journal and book articles relating to agrarian history, as published as the Annual List of Publications on Agrarian History between 2001 and 2015 in the Agricultural History Review is available.