Statewatch Library & Archive

To visit the Statewatch Library & Archive, please call 0203 393 8366 or email comms [at] to arrange an appointment. You can search the catalogue here.

The primary subject matter covered by the Statewatch Library & Archive concerns civil liberties and state power. This includes, but is by no means limited to: police powers and public order; anti-racism and anti-fascism; criminal law; surveillance; immigration, asylum and borders; and the powers and activities of security intelligence agencies.

It contains a wealth of materials from social and political campaigns and movements primarily in the UK (with the bulk of the material focused on the 1970s and 1980s), but also from other countries in Europe and beyond.

The Library & Archive contains a range of unique materials that are not available at other libraries and archives (whether conventional or otherwise), including:

  • nearly 800 books, including classic historical sources;
  • over 2,500 items of ‘grey literature’ (pamphlets, zines, reports and more) on political and social struggles and movements;
  • hundreds of official government, state and parliamentary reports;
  • EU documents: over 1,000 hard copy documents and reports from the pre-web era that are not currently in the Justice and Home Affairs Archive;
  • ABC Case Archive donated by Crispin Aubrey’s family, 70+ files;
  • The special collection: currently has 45+ unique subject files, some of which ‘dropped off the back of a lorry’, e.g. the BBC TV News discussion files 1977-79;
  • Journals: complete and partial runs of 60+ publications; and
  • 365+ political badges.

The majority of the collection is catalogued and can be searched here, although there remain a substantial number of items that are yet to be entered into the catalogue.

A selection of materials used at the November 2021 event 'Monitoring the state and learning from history: policing and racism in the Statewatch Library & Archive' are available to view online at the site.

The collection was started in 1977 when State Research was formed by a group of journalists and researchers based in Poland Street. The group published a bimonthly bulletin of the same name on civil liberties and the state in the UK and globally. It ceased publication in 1982.

In 1981 a charity was formed to conduct research and education in the same fields. In 1990 we moved to the Library in Stoke Newington Church Street. Between 1981-1988 material was added from the GLC and the London Strategic Policy Unit. We moved to Resource for London in 2013 and then in May 2017 to MayDay Rooms. While individual researchers used the Library it was never officially open to the public.

The Statewatch Library & Archive is located in the MayDay Rooms, which hosts extensive archives of their own and which are likely to be of interest to users of our materials. The June Givanni Pan-African Cinema Archive is also located in the MayDay Rooms.


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