Archives of St John's College, Nottingham

Scope and Content

The manuscripts include minute books of the Council of the College, 1879 onwards,as well as minute books of other College committees; account books; staff records; examination papers and mark books; building plans; correspondence on a range of matters relating to the College; and the manuscript of G.C.B Davies' history: College Men for the Ministry: The History of the London College of Divinity , which was published in 1963. The printed material comprises mainly College publications, including copies of the St John's Magazine and the Johnian and the College calendar and prospectus. There are also several hundred photographs; scrapbooks; tapes and various memorabilia relating to the College.

The collection is a rich source of information on many aspects of the history and life of the College, in particular the administration of the college; its finances and appeals for funds; buildings, including planning new accommodation and the upkeep of the fabric; the appointment and employment of teaching and other staff; student enrolment, attendance and pastoral care; curriculum and examinations; and relationships with London University and with the Church of England hierarchy and ministry.

Administrative / Biographical History

The London College of Divinity was established in 1863 with the financial support of the Reverend Alfred Peache and his sister, Miss Kezia Peache, as an evangelical theology college to train men, who wished to be clergy but who could not go to university, generally because they lacked the required educational background. The first Principal of the college was one of its founders, the Reverend Thomas P. Boultbee. Most notable among his more recent successors was the Reverend F.D. Coggan, later Archbishop of Canterbury, who was principal 1944-1956. From its start the college had close links with other institutions in the Evangelical wing of the Anglican Church, such as the Church Pastoral Aid Society, which was set up to fund the training of evangelical clergy.

The College opened in Mortimer Road, St John's Wood, in buildings formerly occupied by the St John's Foundation School. The College continued to use the name London College of Divinity, St John's Hall for the next 100 years, as it moved to various locations in and around London. The most well known of these were the imposing buildings at Highbury in North London, which the College occupied 1866-1940, the site of which is now part of Arsenal Football Club. In 1970 the College moved to Bramcote, near Nottingham, severing its connections with London University, and was renamed St John's College, establishing links with Nottingham University.

Reference: Janet M. Claridge, Handlist of the St John's College Archives ( The University of Birmingham Library, 1995 ).


The bundles of letters, deeds and papers have largely been left as received, and the contents description on many boxes retained.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in 1994 by the college. Copies of the College's promotional and other printed literature are regularly added to the collection.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for further details

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department holds a rich collection of archives of missions, charities and other religious and ecclesiastic organisations and individuals. These include the papers of the Church Pastoral Aid Society (GB 150 CPAS), the Church Missionary Society and the papers of the Young Men's Christian Association (GB 150 YMCA).