The Cope Collection is part of Special Collections on level 4 of the Hartley Library.
Older (pre-1850) publications and all illustrations are fetched for use in the Archives, Manuscripts and Rare Books Search Room which is open Tuesday to Thursday 10.00-16.00.
Publications of a later date are usually shelved in the Special Collections Open Access Area and can be used whenever the Hartley Library is open.
Welcome to the guide to the Cope Collection and the Local History subject guide.
Containing a wide range of materials dating from the seventeenth century to the present day, the Cope Collection is a major resource for the study of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It is especially rich in material on Southampton but includes publications on most local places. Within the Cope Collection you can discover the diet offered to patients at the County Hospital in 1737, read an account of the trial of the agricultural labourers involved in the ‘Captain Swing’ riots of 1830 and see the reactions of local people to fears of a French invasion during the Napoleonic Wars as revealed in the handbill collection.
The illustrations Collection provides an important visual record of the county, including many eighteenth and nineteenth-century prints from the original Cope Collection and postcards and photographs which have been added subsequently. A notable addition is the Peter Cook Postcard Collection of over 3,000 postcards of Southampton.
Material of all kinds continues to be added to Cope, ranging from ephemera to academic publications, making Cope a source of not only the earliest publications on the county but also the latest.
13,000 books and pamphlets, 800 periodicals, 9,000 prints, maps, posters, photographs and drawings.
Revd. Sir William Cope (1811-92), twelfth Baronet, of Bramshill, Hampshire served in the Rifle Brigade before purchasing his discharge in 1839 to become ordained as a priest.
He was a minor canon of Westminster Abbey from 1842 until 1852 and chaplain of Westminster Hospital from 1843 to 1851.
In 1851 he succeeded to the baronetcy, and at Bramshill developed an interest in the local area, writing on matters of local interest, e.g. A Glossary of Hampshire Words and Phrases (1883) and establishing his 'Hampshire Collection'.
Cope died in 1892, having bequeathed the collection to the Hartley Institution, a forerunner of the University of Southampton.