Cambridgeshire Collection at Lion Yard Library

The Cambridgeshire Collection has moved back to a dedicated space on the third floor of Lion Yard Library. The Collection has an enquiry desk (telephone 01223 728519) which is manned by their own staff until 5pm after which the doors will be left open for readers until the library closes at 7pm (8pm Wed, 6pm Sat, 12-4 Sunday).

There are seats for up to 22 users with a selection of books, microfilm and equipment, including a photocopier. The bulk of the material is held in a climate-controlled store and is fetched on request when staff are available.


The open shelf stock includes about 1,000 selected books including the VCH, RCHM, Cooper’s ‘Annals’, CAS Proceedings and files of the CALH Review etc. These remain in the room. There are also several shelves of Cambridgeshire books which may be borrowed. The majority of the items are in store.

The easily-used card catalogue of books acquired 1855-1998 is still not available. Instead there is one computer terminal dedicated to catalogue searches together with two others for general use. If you are competent with computers and persevere then you can make it work to an extent. My advice is to search from home first. There are now various websites which give access to the complete texts of hundreds of books including the VCH volumes and County Directories – see my guide to Websites for Researching Cambridgeshire’s History

If you are not good with computers then the advice must be to seek help from the staff.


Microfilm files of about 40 local newspapers from 1764 are housed in the room and there are half-a-dozen microfilm readers or reader-printers. The original volumes are in the store as are the extensive files of newspaper cuttings on some 750 topics which date back to 1958. See my guide to Cambridgeshire Newspaper and the Local Researcher

The News Index cards which cover the period from 1770-1900 are on display and the Century of Cambridge News index 1888-1988 is at the desk.


The catalogue cards for pictures acquired up to the year 2000 are on display, you will need to ask about anything extra acquired within the last decade and for the indexes of Ramsey and Muspratt, Palmer Clarke, Mott and other negatives.

The actual engravings and photographs are in the store together with many of the files of negatives. I have guides to Cambridgeshire Illustrations and Cambridge Engravers


The Collection’s extensive collection of printed maps dating from 1574 together with files of Ordnance Survey maps from 1886 are held in the store. The index cards are on display.

Other material

Indexes to the extensive files of handbills, playbills, sale catalogues, tape-recordings and videos are on display together with the Local Biography indexes and cuttings. Some of these are listed in my guide to Cambridgeshire Collection Catalogues and Indexes

My guides together with notes on researching Cambridgeshire Villages and Cambridge Streets and Houses are here on this website


M.J. Petty MBE, MA, ALA, 13a Reads Street, Stretham, Ely, Cambs. CB6 3JT
phone 01353 648106 E-mail
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