Records of the Youth Hostels Association (England and Wales) including minutes of the National Council and its committees, annual reports, handbooks, magazines and other publications, financial records, hostel and other property files, press cuttings and artefacts; minutes and other records of the YHA Trust; minutes, annual reports, handbooks, magazines and other records of the regions; personal archives of members, wardens and others relating to the association and its hostels including photographs, log books and YHA ephemera.
The formal administrative records of the YHA include its general minute books, which survive as a complete sequence from 1930. These contain minutes not only of meetings of the National Council and Executive Committee, but also of those of other committees set up to deal with all aspects of the running of the Association, the earliest of which included Finance, Publicity, Hostels Management, General Development and General Purposes Committees. There was also a London Hostels Committee set up: as these hostels were so expensive to run that they were not under the control of the London Region, but under a special committee of the National Executive. The International and Countryside Committees were established immediately after the war; while the Education (and Home Tours), Membership, Hostel Standards, John Adam Street and Services Management Committees are all products of the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The minutes of the committees reflect the growing development and complexity of organisation of the YHA and, moreover, its increasingly wide span of interests and concerns. The archive also includes a complete set of the association's annual reports and handbooks and and an almost complete set of its membership magazines, principally 'The Rucksack', later 'Youth Hosteller Magazine', 1932-72 and 'Hostelling News Magazine', 1972-85. These printed materials are an invaluable source for any research about the YHA and its activities and its wider role in working with young people and in providing access to the countryside. Similarly, a series of presscutting albums for the period 1950-72 are an important resource about the history of the national organisation. The records of the YHA Trust and the sequence of property files provide much information about the acquisition and management of its hostels.
The records of the individual regions vary in both extent and coverage for the period up to their reorganisation in 1965. Annual reports for the regions are almost complete and the records of a number of regions include runs of minutes, copies of magazines and more ephemeral materials. The records of the Birmingham and Mid Wales, London, Northumberland and Tyneside, Warwickshire, West Riding of Yorkshire regions are particularly significant. Not all the records of the post 1965 regions have yet been deposited but there are currently significant sequences of records from the Midland, Southern and Yorkshire regions, 1965-86.
The collections accumulated by YHA members and hostel wardens complement the official archives of the YHA and provide a more personal element to the collection. This material includes log books and visitors books from a number of hostels, accounts of hostelling holidays and membership ephemera including badges and cards.