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Full helpers description

David Medd Archive and the Photographic Archive of the Architects and Building Branch, Ministry of Education and successors

Institute of Education


Two archival collections of architects drawings and photos of almost all state schools built in post-war England and Wales. The photos show the progress of schools being built and therefore may form a very useful local history tool.

Detailed usage description

These are useful collections for local historians: they contain detailed photographs of most of the state schools built in England and Wales from the 1940s to 1980s. Typically each school has many photos and architect's plans which show the progress of the school being designed and built. The photos show both the exterior and interior of the schools, including their fixtures and fittings and their environs. There are also some accompanying documents such as architects' correspondence. David Medd was an influential architect with the Ministry of Education and his archive contains some very detailed information about schools built in Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Lincolnshire.

Local historians are likely to find value in this collection as it gives a detailed view of schools during and after their construction. The photos are likely to provide excellent contextual information for local historians. As several of the schools have since been demolished or replaced this archive may provide a unique record of no longer existing buildings. If the architects' correspondence exists then this will give very rich contextual information for local historians. David Medd's archive also gives very rich contextual information about the schools he designed.

How to tell if the collection is useful

If you know that the school you are interested in was built between the 1940s and 1980s then in all likelihood there will be information about it in this archive.

The Ministry of Education archive is catalogued, this catalogue is not available online, but the will send an electronic copy upon email request. You should email the archivist for a copy, and then if you wish to see a particular set of records you should email the archivist with the precise reference numbers from the catalogue. The archive staff can copy materials for your personal use, but only with permission from the copyright holders: in this case the DfES or David Medd himself.

The David Medd archive is not catalogued, but is accessible. If you email the archivists with a query about a specific school, they are likely to inform you if the school in question is referred to in the Medd archive.

If you plan to email the archivist with a query we suggest that you read our tutorial on how to do this most effectively.

Access arrangements

The Institute of Education Archives are open to the public by appointment. You typically need to demonstrate that you are conducting genuine research (which you do by emailing a valid query to the ) and bring some form of identification with you if you visit the archive. The location of the archives and its precise access arrangements are listed on the Institute of Education Information Services website.

More Information

A full collection level description of the Ministry of Education archive (IoE ref: DC/ABB) is available on the AIM25 site and the institute's own website.

A full collection level description of the David Medd archive (IoE ref: DC/ME) is available on the AIM25 site and the institute's own website.

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Abstracting information

Usage Themes Geographic area covered Size of collection Dates
  • Local history
  • Educational history
  • Pictorial history
  • Contextualising information

All of England and Wales

Nearly all schools built in England and Walse since the 1940s are included. However schools built by local authorities and not by the Ministry of Education may not be included.

1949 -- 1985


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