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Library and archive

Cropped page from a wallpaper sample book

Detail of a page from a bound wallpaper sample book

Library and Archive

Our library and archive contains paper-based material relating to the history of home. We have publications and manuscripts from the medieval period to the present day.

Books and journals

Subjects include decorative arts, architecture, garden history, design, material culture and social history.


We have an extensive collection of catalogues of household furnishings. 

Domestic advice manuals

We have manuals about household management, interior decoration, cookery and gardening. 

Contemporary photographs

We have a large collection of contemporary photographs of homes, with supporting questionnaires and oral history testimony.

Other holdings

We have a growing collection of wallpaper and textile sample books, as well as manuscript letters, diaries and account books. 


While our curators are spending all their time on the museum’s development project, access to library and archive material, and the collections enquiry service are suspended. We will resume services when the museum reopens in 2020.