Collections and archives
The BPS holds an extensive collection of archival material, much of which is also available to the general public as well as to our members.
Our main archives
Our administrative archives contain minutes, correspondence, reports, and working papers covering a full range of activities of the society and its member networks since its foundation.
Our catalogue contains historic terminology relating to mental health which could be considered offensive. The terminology exists within the original record and has been retained to inform users on viewpoints at the time. It in no way reflects the attitudes of the cataloguers or of the BPS.
In addition, the HoPC holds numerous working papers from various eminent psychologists and psychological organisations, including:
- Leslie Hearnshaw (1907-1991)
- John C. Kenna (1913-2004)
- Charles Spearman (1863-1945)
- Henri Tajfel (1919-1982)
- Charlotte Wolff (1897-1986)
- Various Child Study Societies and Associations minute books (1891-1945)
- Major Hopkins P.O.W. dream research notebooks (1940-1942)
- Numerous one-off items of correspondence, early undergraduate notebooks, Liverpool University documents, ephemera, etc
The majority of these collections are housed at the Wellcome Library, which is open to the public.
Registration for a library card is free and gives access to the main library collections. There are some additional requirements for access to archives and manuscripts.
First-time visitors are advised to contact Wellcome Library in advance.
The BPS library
The BPS has maintained a library since 1906, which has been held at Senate House, University of London since 1947.
The BPS library was merged with Senate House Library’s own extensive psychology holdings in 2014 to create one of the most extensive psychology collections in Europe.
As well as being the official repository for the society’s own publications – journals, newsletters, reports, etc. – the collection contains extensive and historical holdings of psychology journals and books, including rare and classic 19th and 20th century texts.
Eligible members can get a reference card free of charge, which provides access not only to the society's own extensive collections but also onsite access to all Senate House Library’s print collections and digital resources.
This provides users with temporary membership until it is completed by visiting the Library.
Discounted borrowing cards are also available for BPS members, including student members.
Mura Ghosh is the Psychology Librarian at Senate House and is can answer general and bibliographic enquiries from society members.
Contact Mura via email or via phone on 020 7862 8449.
John C. Kenna Audio Archive
The audio archive is named after John C. Kenna, the society’s first Honorary Archivist, in recognition of his pioneering work in gathering and collecting early audio recordings of eminent figures in the history of psychology.
Oral History Project
Since 2005, HoPC has been running an Oral History Project to build on this early work of John Kenna and to ensure we collect and preserve the oral history of the current generation of British psychologists.
If you would like to be involved as an interviewer or an interviewee, contact the archivist.
All recordings (and some transcripts) are available for consultation by appointment at the HoPC at our London office.
For more information on recordings in the collection please see the archive catalogue.
Grace Rawlings Visual Archive
This collection is named after Grace Rawlings, a former President of the BPS.
Founded in 1990, the archive comprises photographs, slides, and films of individuals, groups, and events relating to psychology and to the society.
Images held in the visual archive may be viewed for private research and study purposes, but note that current copyright law may prevent us from making copies of some images in the archive even for bona fide researchers.
Our psychological test collection
There are about 400 tests in the collection, including intelligence tests, educational and developmental tests, and occupational tests.
The core of the test collection is the University of Sussex Psychological Test Collection, which the HoPC took on a 15-year loan in December 2005, but which has since been made permanent.
There is no public or researcher access to the tests at the present time.
Occasionally, we publish a series of monographs, designed to document the history of psychological practice and research and dig deeper in order to bring past developments within the practice to life.
A handful of Monograph’s already exist and can be found below.
In 1913 the first applied psychologist took up his post with the London County Council. His job was to assess children for special educational programmes and develop tools to identify children who may need alternative kinds of education.
With this post, the profession of educational psychology was born. The numbers of educational psychologists have steadily grown over the subsequent hundred years and the practices, roles and functions that they adopt have similarly developed.
This book outlines the development of the profession in the United Kingdom during its first century of existence. It describes a number of different themes that have emerged over time and documents key points in the profession’s development.
- Edited by Christopher Arnold & Julia Hardy
- ISBN 978-1-85433-720-7
- Paperback 166pp. See contents.
- Price (including postage and packing) = £11.25 (£9.25 for DECP members)
As a record of the development of the profession and as an aid to understanding current issues through the experience of the past, this short history will be highly relevant to psychologists working in health care, from trainees through to experienced clinicians, as well as to other healthcare professionals.
As a scholarly history it will appeal not only to historians but also to anyone with a general interest in social and political developments in mental health provision.
Read Chapter 1.
- Edited by John Hall, David Pilgrim & Graham Turpin
- ISBN 978-1-9-85433-731-3
- Paperback 395pp plus xix.
- Price (including postage and packing) = £21.99 (£19.99 for BPS members; £17.99 for DCP members)