Special Collections Services

Special Collections Service reading roomSpecial Collections Services give access to the University of Reading's collections of rare books, archives and manuscripts, and the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) library and archives.

The collections are located in the same building as the Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Road adjacent to the London Road Campus of the University. They can be consulted in the Reading Room.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to essential maintenance works, we regret to inform you that The MERL periodicals will be unavailable from Monday 13th February 2017 until further notice.

During this time some journals will still be accessible through a member of staff. A list of available journals can be found through the link below:

List of accessible journals

The Special Collections Services and the  are housed in a Grade II listed building, which was originally known as East Thorpe, the home of Sir Alfred Palmer of the Huntley and Palmers biscuit company.

East Thorpe was designed and built by the architect Alfred Waterhouse between 1880–1882. This building was later acquired by the University, and was extended to form St. Andrews Hall, a University hall of residence. The hall closed in 2001.

This online exhibition provides more information about the history of the building.

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