Donation from the Heraldry Society
Recently the RIBA became the new home of 2,500 church guides gathered from across the UK and continental Europe by the Heraldry Society. On behalf of the society, Dr Andrew Gray kindly donated the booklets yesterday when Library staff members Michael Duckworth, Jonathan Ridsdale and Wilson Yau made a trip to Whitechapel to move 75kg and 2.4m (8 feet and 4 inches) of donated material from Dr Gray’s basement.

Organising and transporting the collection
The booklets were carefully removed from their original box files, then transferred into new ones for transport and labelled according to county or country of origin. Try to guess from the last photograph the abbreviations used for the names of the counties on the labels – please don’t blame our quality of handwriting if you can’t.

Storage and cataloguing
The box files are now safely shelved in the stacks of our offices in 77 Portland Place, where the next step is to catalogue the guides and make them available to the public. The Library’s collections are constantly growing and our space for them grows a bit slower! But our catalogue team work hard to ensure the public and RIBA members can access the 4 million items (and in the future 2.4m and 75 kg of church guides) through our online catalogue.

Access to the Library and collections is free.

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit

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  1. Jonathan

    May 12, 2011

    This is brilliant! Great to see the collection growing! I hope with some stuff on Oxford Architecture as well.

  2. Robert Drake

    March 11, 2012

    I’m really glad to hear about this great acquisition as churches and their architects, which will strengthen the Library’s holdings in this area. When will they be catologued or can one already consult them by county?

    • wilson.yau

      March 14, 2012

      Hi Robert,

      They are not catalogued yet, but anyone is free to come to the Reading Room of the British Architectural Library and consult these church guides. All these items are arranged by county. If you want to find out about a particular church, make sure you know the county it is in, and staff will retrieve the appropriate box. There is a set collection time for these boxes as they are stored off-site, this is 2pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays. Call the Library on +44 (0)20 7307 3882 (phone line open Monday – Friday 10am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4.30pm) beforehand and staff may be able to retrieve these and have them ready for you on arrival – especially if you want to see a large number of counties.


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