Archive Collections

The Museum of English Rural archive collections can be roughly divided into the following groups.  The best way to search through the collections is use our A-Z index of Museum of English Rural Life collections or search our online database.

Business records

Records of firms involved in agricultural engineering, processing, and farm and garden seed production.  Major examples include Suttons Seeds and Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies.

Agricultural Organisations (Society) Records

These are records of major organisations connected with agriculture and the countryside.  Examples include the CPRE and the National Farmers Union.

Agricultural Co-operative Records

Records of agricultural trading co-operatives.  Examples include the Land Settlement Association.

Farm Records

The Museum has an extensive collection of farm business records relating to farms throughout England, collected from more than 1,000 farms. 

Document Collection

Collections of records relating to crafts and rural industries, personal papers and agricultural research. Examples include the National Institute for Research in Dairying and the Hugh Macdonald Sinclair Collection.

Photographic and audio visual collections

There is also an extensive collection of photographs 


Searching the MERL archives

You can explore the MERL collections using our online database. Many of our archive catalogues have been digitised and are available to view in full from the Access to Archives website. 

You can also search our A-Z index of collections or search the archive descriptions by subject area. These are in-progress lists. We are working to finish adding all our collections and to expand the descriptions.

Access and study

Our archive collections may be consulted for free in our Reading Room.


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