The Southbank Centre Archive contains artefacts relating to events and exhibitions held at Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room.
Our Archive Studio in the Royal Festival Hall is a trove of information and artefacts relating to the events and exhibitions held at Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room over the decades. This carefully collected and preserved collection, which is open to the public, also includes the Hayward Gallery Library.
Begun in the early 1990s as a labour of love by a member of our staff, the archive quickly became an important resource both for us and for researchers and the general public. Its new public space opened in October 2015 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It includes documents, oral histories, programmes, photographs, posters, artworks and objects dating back to the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Since October 2015, our Archive Studio has allowed the public to witness the process of exploring, cataloguing and arranging Southbank Centre’s collections.
As part of this project, we are running sessions in which anyone can help to organise the collection, working towards the launch of an online catalogue and image library by early 2018.
Before the online catalogue is up and running, you can make remote enquiries and come to do some research in person. Please note that as most of the collections are stored offsite, you will need to contact us in advance to discuss your research requirements.
Appointments for research in Hayward Gallery Archive can be made with the Librarian.
The archive welcomes donations of any items relevant to the collection. When contacting the archive about items you wish to donate, please provide as much information as you can about the source and context of the item, including a description and/or image, approximate dates and details of any relevant people or places.
We regret that we cannot give valuations of items.
Contact us to learn more about the collection, donate an item or get involved.