Special Collections & Archives

In this section


Photograph of Daphne Oram at the Oramics Machine in Tower Folly. Daphne Oram Collection, Special Collections & Archives, Goldsmiths, University of Lon
Photograph of Daphne Oram at the Oramics Machine in Tower Folly. Daphne Oram Collection, Special Collections & Archives, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Special Collections & Archives includes the Women's Art Library, Goldsmiths Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery, Daphne Oram Archive, and numerous other unique special collections that find the particular focus on music, theatre and the performing arts.

Our collections are reflective of Goldsmiths' influential position in the creative and performing arts, and involvement with the culture of the local communities as well as broader society in contemporary Britain.

We hold workshops with students and local school children, and also run a busy exhibitions and events programme in the Special Collections & Archives reading room (located in the library) and at the Constance Howard Gallery (located in Deptford Town Hall).

There is a supervised study area with listening and viewing facilities, and a digital piano is available. Group visits can be accommodated and Goldsmiths staff and visitors are welcome to get in touch about organising a seminar or workshop using material from the Special Collections & Archives. Copying of materials is often permitted, subject to copyright permissions and usage.

The Special Collections & Archives reading room is open to post-graduates for quiet study during the Special Collections & Archives opening hours (please see below).

The Library building is open Monday-Friday for click and collect borrowing and pre-booked individual study.
See our guide to accessing online Library services and information.

Main Collections

Description of image
Slide case. Women's Art Library, Special Collections & Archives, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Women's Art Library

The Women's Art Library began as an artists' initiative that developed into an arts organization publishing catalogues and books as well as a magazine from the early 1980s to 2002. The main purpose however was to provide a place for women artists to deposit unique documentation of their work. WAL collected personal files that functioned together as an alternative public space to view and experience women's art. Thousands of artists from around the world are represented in some form in this collection

Women's Art Library homepage
Women's Art Library CALM catalogue

Future Histories

Future Histories is a leading cultural heritage organisation for African, Asian and Caribbean performing arts in the UK. It was established in 2001 by Dr. Adla Terrecciano to collect and promote material from relevant groups such as Black Theatre Forum (BTF), Nitro and Motiroti within one archive. This project resulted in an inclusive collection of a black theatre and carnival archive consisting of Records of the Black Theatre Forum, Nitro and Moti Roti.

Future Histories cataloguewebsite

Description of image
Goldsmiths Textiles Collections, Special Collections & Archives, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Goldsmiths Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery

The Goldsmiths Textile Collection was founded in the 1980s by Constance Howard and Audrey Walker, and comprises textile art, embroidery and dress from all continents. Our global collection is complemented with a variety of teaching materials and archives, including technical and experimental samples and Constance Howard's own teaching archive. The Constance Howard Gallery is an AHRC-funded centre dedicated to multidisciplinary textiles research, and is home to the Goldsmiths Textile Collection.

Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery homepage
Goldsmiths Textile Collection CALM catalogue
Goldsmiths Textile Collection on the Visual Art Data Service (VADS)

Description of image
Schematic of the Oramics Machine. Daphne Oram Archive, Special Collections & Archives, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Daphne Oram Archive

Daphne Oram (1925–2003) is one of the central figures in the development of British experimental electronic music. Following Oram’s death, her life’s work was brought to Goldsmiths where it is housed in the Special Collections & Archives and is accessible to researchers by appointment. The collection contains a large reel-to-reel tape archive, correspondence, photographic documentation, and press cuttings.

Daphne Oram Trust website
Daphne Oram Collection CALM catalogue
Daphne Oram page at the Electronic Music Studios

Description of image
Goldsmiths handbook (1896). Goldsmiths College Collection, Special Collections & Archives, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Full collections guide

Special Collections & Archives full collections guide

External resources for archival research

  • Discovery (The National Archives) - Discovery is The National Archives’ catalogue. It provides a way to explore archival collections from The National Archives and over 2,500 archives across the UK.
  • Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) - portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK
  • Archiveshub - a major national gateway to archive collections held in UK universities and colleges, forming part of the National Archives Network


Special Collections & Archives
Library (Rutherford Building)
Lewisham Way
Goldsmiths, University of London
SE14 6NW

Opening times - term time
Monday – Friday 10.00 – 18.00 (10.00 – 19.00 on Wednesdays)

Opening times - out of term
Monday - Friday 10.00-17.00

Goldsmiths Textile Collection & Constance Howard Gallery
Goldsmiths, University of London
Deptford Town Hall
New Cross Road
SE14 6AF

Gallery opening times:
Monday - Friday 11.00-17.00

Please note, over the summer while there is no exhibition on, the Constance Howard Gallery and Goldsmiths Textile Collection, including the specialist reference Library, are open by appointment. Please e-mail to make an appointment.

If you are a visitor to Goldsmiths, or if you wish to consult archives or textiles, please contact us in advance to make an appointment with the curator or archivist for the collection that you are interested in (see contact details below).

Contact us

For general enquiries regarding Special Collections & Archives 

special.collections (@gold.ac.uk) | +44(0)20 7717 2295

For enquiries about the Goldsmiths Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery 

textiles (@gold.ac.uk) | +44(0)20 7717 2210

Lesley Ruthven (Special Collections & Archives Manager)

l.ruthven (@gold.ac.uk) | +44(0)20 7717 2295

Althea Greenan (Curator, Women's Art Library)

a.greenan (@gold.ac.uk) | +44(0)20 7717 2295

Special Collections Mailing List 

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive the latest news on exhibitions and events
Your details will only be used to email about Goldsmiths Special Collections. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Library Special Collections and Archives