This is the first in an irregular series of blogs where I will update on the progress that has been made in the development of the University’s Institutional Archive. I will aim to highlight new additions to the archive and any interesting uses of the existing material.

The archive is growing apace. It currently consists of forty boxes of catalogued and searchable material, with more to be added over the coming weeks. The digital aspect of the archive is also expanding – in addition to the hundred or so estate plans that have already been digitised, another hundred digitised plans will shortly be added to our holdings.

I have recently catalogued a series of governance papers relating to the formation and initial development of the London Institute (the original incarnation of UAL), including Court of Governors papers and the first papers of the Academic Board and its related committees. These will help to shine a light on the key decisions and discussions that created a vision for a unified arts institute.

I have also taken in a number of intriguing new additions to the archive. Firstly, the ceremonial trowel (pictured below) that was used in the “topping out” ceremony upon the completion of the new Central Saint Martins Granary Building site in 2010. In the last couple of weeks I have also accessioned letters patent granting a coat of arms to the London Institute in the 1990s.

These items document key events within the history of the institution, and we would be keen to obtain more! Please contact the Archive if you are aware of any ceremonial or significant objects, stored away or otherwise out of the public eye, that you believe could become an important addition to UAL’s institutional archive.

Finally, I have been very lucky to have been assisted in the project by Sarah Wooley, an intern on the Ambitious Futures programme. She has been creating detailed catalogue summaries of our oral history holdings, so that researchers can access particular sections of recorded interviews more easily.

The UAL Institutional Archive catalogue can be viewed here:

Please contact archive-enquiries@arts.ac.uk if you wish to make an appointment to view UAL’s Institutional Archive.

Ceremonial trowel used in the Granary Building’s topping off ceremony in 2010 (c) UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre

Robin Sampson

Institutional Memory Archivist