As well as the largest number of folk manuscripts in England, the collection contains books, pamphlets, periodicals, press cuttings, broadsides, paintings, photographs, slides, artefacts, vinyl records, reel-to-reel tapes, phonograph cylinders, videos, cine-films and more.
From Cecil Sharp’s own field notebooks to William Kimber’s morris bells, not to mention books dating back to the 17th century, it is an essential resource for anyone interested in folk.
But collections as unique as this need constant attention, and that’s why we need your help.
Our incredibly rare books now require special care, such as bound volumes of 19th-century street literature, printed on incredibly fragile paper which is slowly disintegrating. Our 18th-century Playford volumes need restoration, at an average cost of £270 for each volume. And we need to raise £8,000 to digitise and preserve our collections of reel-to-reel tapes and cinefilm.