Library special collections

Collections at Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre (HARC)

Herefordshire Libraries has a number of special collections of local interest which are stored in our climate-controlled Library Store at HARC. To arrange access to these special collections, please contact the libraries team at

The Pilley Collection

The bequest of the late Walter Pilley (Mayor of Hereford 1909-1911). The largest of our special collections, it contains many titles of local interest.

The Durham Collection

A collection of books and pamphlets on English and French pomology and cider-making, belonging to Dr. Herbert Durham, friend and fellow student of Edward Frederick "Fred" Bulmer. In the 1890s, Dr. Durham isolated a wild yeast to create the first pure cider yeast culture. Although modest in size, this collection has been described as "The most important collection on French pomology outside France".

The Watkins CollectionMan stung by bees

A collection of books and photographs belonging to Alfred Watkins (1855-1935). Watkins was a notable pioneer in photography and beekeeping, and the originator of the concept of ley lines. The photograph on this page of a man stung by bees combines two of his interests. The Watkins Collection is also available online at Herefordshire History.

The Hopton Collection

Items donated by the Reverend Prebendary Michael Hopton (1838-1928). The collection contains many important local titles, including the earliest item in Herefordshire Libraries collections: a Latin incunabula on the history of Bromyard, dated 1485.

The Davies Collection

A collection of books and pamphlets about Herefordshire collected by Thomas Theophilus Davies, JP (1792-1887), Hereford bookseller and printer, Honorary Librarian of the Herefordshire Philosophical, Antiquarian Society and President of the Hereford Permanent Library.

The Oliver Collection

A 20th century collection of books about beekeeping.

The Dymock Poets Collection at Ledbury Library

A reference collection of books and pamphlets on the Dymock Poets: Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater, Robert Frost, Wilfrid Gibson and Edward Thomas. Find out more about the collection at Dymock Poets Collection.