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Established in 1855 the Cambridgeshire Collection, based at Cambridge Central library, is a major, multi-media research library which provides a wide range and variety of resources on Cambridgeshire and its history.

Search the Cambridgeshire Collection catalogue

Books and pamphlets

This collection contains over 90,000 items including:

  • County, city and village histories
  • Street directories for Cambridge, 1866 - 1975, listing streets, occupants and occupations (up to 1939), tradesmen, officials etc
  • County directories, 1790s-1937, listing general village history, officials, major residents, tradesmen
  • Trade and telephone directories
  • Dissertations and theses, and unpublished indexes. Various levels of study held dependent on their importance
  • Victoria County History Vols I-X
  • Handbills and political posters
  • Playbills relating to theatrical events


The collection includes holdings of over 90 newspaper titles dating from 1762 in either original print editions or microfilm copies.

  • The Cambridge Daily/Evening News 1888 - current
  • The Cambridge Chronicle 1762-1934
  • The Cambridge Independent Press 1815-1981 (continued as Cambridge Weekly news to date)

Maps and plans

The Cambridgeshire Collection holds maps relating to the city and county dating from the 1570s to the present day. Most of these are printed and published maps relating to the geographical area of the old county of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Geological, land utilisation, soil and other specialised maps are also available.

Original manuscript maps may be found at Cambridgeshire Archives.

Cambridge City maps

A variety of printed, single sheet maps of Cambridge from 1574 to present are available. Accuracy and detail can vary greatly.

Cambridgeshire county maps

A comprehensive set of printed, single sheet maps of Cambridgeshire from 1576 to present exist as well as plans of villages. Accuracy and detail is generally not good before the 1830s with the practical use of the early maps being rather limited.

Ordnance survey

Holdings include:

  • 1:50,000 scale from 1836 to date
  • 1:25,000 (2 1/2) c.1950 ed
  • 1:10,000 (6") 1902, 1927, 1951 and 1980
  • 1:2,500 (25") 1902, 1927, 1951 and 1970
  • 1:1,250 (50") 1967 (only produced for Cambridge City)
  • 1:500 (46ft) 1887 (only produced for Cambridge City)

Photographs and illustrations

The Cambridgeshire Collection holds over 80,000 separately indexed items dating from the 1680s onwards, including images of places, people and events across the whole county. Also, thousands of negatives, which are listed though not individually catalogued.

Illustrations are separately listed on the Library Online Catalogue.

Ordering copies of photographs

Copy prints can be ordered from the Cambridgeshire Collection. Payment in is advance.

Photographs copying charges

Photograph size Price
6 x 4 inches

£5 (black and white)

7 x 5 inches

 £6 (black and white)

8 x 6 inches

£7 (black and white)

10 x 8 inches

£8 (black and white)

12 x9 inches

£10 (black and white)

Scanned images may also be provided at the discretion of the Local Studies librarian.

High quality images can be provided through our FSB Scanning Bureau

Delivery times and postage:

    • £1 within 2-3 weeks
    • £7 within 1 week

Publications for sale

Reproduction copies of antique maps and other local publications are available to purchase.

Photo of antique map of Cambridgeshire

Opening Times

Opening hours for the reading room when staff will be available

Monday 9.30am - 5.00pm

Tuesday 9.30am - 5.00pm

Wednesday 9.30am - 5.00pm

Thursday 9.30am - 5.00pm

Friday 9.30am - 5.00pm

2nd Saturday each month, 10.00am - 5.00pm

Sunday Closed


Cambridge Central Library 
7 Lion Yard 
CB2 3QD 
Email: [email protected]

Group visits to the Collection

'Behind the scenes' visits to the Collection can be arranged for groups on request. This includes evening visits (outside of normal opening hours) when groups will have exclusive use of the searchroom and material in the Collection. For group visits there is a charge of £50 including VAT.


External talks can be given to groups and societies about the Collection. If you would like to book a talk there is a charge of £65 including VAT. Please use the above contact details to obtain more information.

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