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Perkins Agricultural Library, Special Collections, Hartley Library: About

Perkins Agricultural Library

The Perkins Agricultural Library supports research on the general practice and improvement of agriculture in the 18th and 19th centuries and is also a valuable source of material on the wider political and economic questions of the period. The county surveys sponsored by the Board of Agriculture between 1793 and 1817 are especially important in this respect, providing a description of the rural and political economy of each county as well as detailed accounts of contemporary farming practice.

There are also practical handbooks on farming, farming textbooks and encyclopaedias, reports of developments in agricultural chemistry and of the advances in agricultural machinery. The books on field crops range from general guides to those on individual crops whilst the animal husbandry section includes numerous publications on the management of cattle, sheep and horses.

Journals held include the Annals of Agriculture, Evans and Ruffy's Farmer's Journal and the Farmer's Magazine.

Extent: 2,000 books and 40 periodicals, ranging in date from the 17th century to the late 19th century.

Location and Access

The Perkins Agricultural Library is part of Special Collections on level 4 of the Hartley Library and items are fetched for use in the Archives, Manuscripts and Rare Books Search Room.


The Search Room is open Tuesday-Thursday 1000-1600. All visits are by prior appointment and all visitors will be required to book their visit and to order their material at least 1 working day in advance. 

Bookings are made by emailing providing details of name, University ID number (members of the University of Southampton only), permanent residential address and contact details, date of visit and list of items to be consulted.

If you do not have a University I.D. Card, you will need to show photographic I.D. and a form of I.D. which includes your permanent residential address when you enter the Hartley Library and also when you arrive at the Search Room.


Library Search includes records for all Perkins Agricultural Library books and journals (call number Perkins). It enables you to search the Library's printed books, journals and electronic resources at the same time. Access to e-resources is limited to staff and students of the University.

Basic Search

Enter keywords / author surname / significant title words in the search box and then refine the Results List using the filters on the left e.g. by book / date  / subject. You can re-sort the Results List to your preferred order using the drop-down menu at the top of the list. 

To limit a search to the Perkins Agricultural Library, enter your search terms followed by B8: Perkins

Library Search groups print copies, e-books and different editions of the same work under one record in the Results List. To see the separate records, select the 'Show all' filter.

Advanced Search

Using Advanced Search, you can undertake a more targeted search by selecting search indexes from drop-down lists and by presetting filters for format and date.

To limit a search to the Perkins Agricultural Library, include 'B8: Perkins' as a keyword search.

See Perkins Agricultural Library for a list of titles.

The Catalogue of the Walter Frank Perkins Agricultural Library was published by the University Library in 1961. If you find an item which you wish to use when searching this pdf version of the catalogue, please contact Special Collections before visiting, to confirm that it is available.


For general enquiries about the Perkins Agricultural Library contact: Jenny Ruthven, email: or tel. 023 80593335 

Search Room Bookings: email 

Address: Special Collections, Hartley Library, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ

Reprographics Service

Bound volumes cannot be photocopied but you can request photographic or microfilm copies, subject to the age and condition of the item.

See Reprographics Service for a list of the types of copy available and charges.

Collection History

Walter Frank Perkins (1865-1946) was born at Bowling Green House in Southampton and was educated at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, later becoming a surveyor in his father's business in Southampton. He became the Member of Parliament for the New Forest in 1910 and on his retirement from politics in 1922 he devoted himself to literary and agricultural pursuits.

Perkins had collected books on agriculture, botany and forestry from an early age and in 1929 published the bibliography British and Irish Writers on Agriculture. Shortly before his death in 1946 he presented his collection to the University College of Southampton, of which he had been the Honorary Treasurer from 1928 to 1933.

From: R.W. Dickson Practical Agriculture v.2 (1805)


Rare Books Perkins q S 493

Related Collections (Southampton)

Printed Collections

Archive Collections

Related E-Book Collections

Access to some collections restricted to members of the University.