About our collections
The rich and extensive collections of the King’s College London Archives and the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives are continually growing.
The material is freely available for everyone from academic to private researchers including the media.
Particular collection strengths include:
- History of King's College London and its merged institutions
- Military and defence studies
- Travel and exploration
- Empire and Commonwealth
- History of medicine and nursing
- History of modern Greece
- English Literature (20th Century)
- History of science
Staff of the Archives are always keen to discuss potential donations and deposits. For more information please contact the Archives Collections Manager, or see the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives information for potential donors and depositors (pdf).
The institutional records of King's College London are among the richest Higher Education records in London, and there are regular additions.
Key collections include:
- Institutional archives of King's since 1828, including minute books, correspondence of senior officers, title deeds and finance books; records relating to students and staff; College publications, serials, photographs and ephemera
- Records relating to the history of medicine, including King's College Hospital (founded 1839) and material relating to Guy's and St Thomas' Medical Schools and their predecessor bodies; case notes for Belgrave Hospital for Children; and significant nursing archives, including the King’s College Nurses’ League and the Royal British Nurses’ Association
- Archives relating to several institutions (and their predecessors) that have merged with or were created by King’s College London, including King’s College School, Strand School, Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College
- Records of major research projects such as the care and treatment of patients in a Persistent Vegetative State, the archive of the Chelsea-based Nuffield Science Teaching Project, and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience TEDS project to study the development of twins, post-traumatic stress and addiction studies
- Archives of significant organisations or pressure groups, such as literary reviews (Adam International Review and Modern Poetry in Translation), and the archives of the League for Democracy in Greece and the Greek Relief Fund
Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
Founded in 1964, the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives is a leading repository for research into modern defence policy in Britain - its strategy, planning and conduct. Their significance has been recognised through the Arts Council England’s Designated Outstanding collection scheme.
The Centre holds the private papers of over 800 senior defence personnel who held office from 1900 onwards. Individual collections range in size from a single file to the hundreds of items contained within the archives of Capt. Sir Basil Liddell Hart. Collections may comprise many types of material: diaries, correspondence, working papers and files, texts of lectures, memoranda, unpublished memoirs, audio and video tapes of events and recollections, transcripts of interviews, photographs, maps and plans, and press cuttings.
The scope of the holdings is vast, and ranges from high-level defence policy and strategic planning (for example, in the papers of FM Viscount Alanbrooke and General Lord Ismay) down to the command of individual units in the field. Holdings cover all the armed services, (including the special services) and all wars, campaigns and peacekeeping initiatives in which British forces were engaged or acted as observers or specialist advisers, from the Second Boer War (1899-1902) onwards. The Centre's collections are also of value for a range of subjects not necessarily associated with military history including the history of science and journalism, and the study of racial interaction and colonial administration. An extremely rich resource for biographers is Liddell Hart's extensive correspondence with public figures of his day such as Robert Graves, Lord Beaverbrook and TE Shaw.
More recent acquisitions include the collections of TV documentary makers
Our reference library, the core of which is the former private library of Capt. Sir Basil Liddell Hart, forms an integral part of the resources of the Centre, covering a range of military history topics from the late nineteenth century onwards.
Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives annual lecture
Since it began in 1988, the Liddell Hart annual lecture has attracted notable guest speakers on topics which range from the role of intelligence in World War Two, through to the implications of the mass media on modern warfare and the psychiatric effects of war.
The most recent lecture was delivered by Michael S Neiberg, Chair of War Studies at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on Monday 29 October 2018.
Liddell Hart himself said that war was always a matter of doing evil in the hopes that good may come of it. This talk explored the good that he and others hoped they might be able to forge from the evils of 1914-1918. It focussed largely on the new role of the United States, examining America's newly-found power, its attempt to base the peace on principles rather than diplomatic dealing, and its fundamental lack of understanding of the problems the war had unleashed. It ended with a case study on America's surprising and long-forgotten role in the Syria crisis of 1919.
Online texts are available for some previous lectures:
- Professor Brian Bond, 'A victory worse than a defeat? British interpretations of the First World War', 20 Nov 1997 (pdf)
- Professor Michael Burleigh, 'Is God with us? - the Morality of War' , 19 Oct 2010 (pdf)
- Professor Lawrence Freedman, 'The Gulf conflict and the British way in warfare', 14 Jan 1993 (pdf)
- Nik Gowing, 'Information in conflict: who really commands the high ground?', 2 March 2000 (pdf)
- General Sir Charles Guthrie, 'The New British Way in Warfare', 12 February 2001 (pdf)
- Sir Max Hastings, 'D-Day: decisive moment of the Second World War in the West', 16 Mar 1994 (pdf) and 'Catastrophe: How Europe went to war in 1914', 26 Nov 2013
- Professor Harry Hinsley, 'The influence of ULTRA in the Second World War', 18 Feb 1992 (pdf)
- Professor Brian Holden-Reid, 'Michael Howard and evolving ideas about strategy', 27 Nov 2012 (pdf)
- Professor Richard Holmes, 'Soldiers and Society', 10 May 2006 (pdf)
- Professor Ian Nish, 'Preparing for peace and survival: the Japanese experience 1943-46', 4 Nov 1996 (pdf)
- Professor Robert O'Neill, 'Liddell Hart and his legacy', 19 May 1988 (pdf)
- Professor David Reynolds, 'How the cold war froze the history of World War Two', 15 Nov 2005 (pdf)
- General Sir Michael Rose, 'A Liddell Hart approach to peacekeeping', 18 Jan 1999 (pdf)
- Hew Strachan, 'Michael Howard and the dimensions of military history', 3 Dec 2002 (pdf)
- Professor Simon Wessely, 'Risk, Psychiatry and the Military', 2 Mar 2004 (pdf)