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Salisbury Collection, Special Collections, Hartley Library: Home


For general enquiries about the Salisbury Collection contact:

Jenny Ruthven

email: or  tel. 023 80593335

Search Room Bookings:

email: or tel. 023 80592721

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

Special Collections Home Page

Printed Special Collections

A-Z List of Collections

Borrowing Books

Most Salisbury Collection books in the open access area are available for Long Loan.

If you have a University I.D./Library Card you can borrow books at the Loans Desk or at the self-issue units on level 2.

John Hill, The British Herbal (1756)

engraving of plants

Rare Books Salisbury Coll. folio QK 77

Related Collections

Printed Collections

Archive Collections

Related E-Book Collections

Salisbury Collection

The collection reflects the passion for ordering the natural world and in this case recording the plants of a particular area, which arose during the eighteenth century and continues today. It includes examples of national floras such as those of Spain, Germany and Russia, but the emphasis of the collection is on British floras on both a national and a local level.

Most counties are represented and there are also examples of floras of individual towns and cities e.g. Thomas Hall A Flora of Liverpool (1839). Listings of the ferns, mosses, algae, lichens and fungi found in Britain are also included.

Many of the earlier publications come from the Perkins Botanical Collection and amongst these there are examples of herbals, practical field guides and books in the form of 'botanical dialogues', a well know example of this form of botanical instruction being Botanical Dialogues Between Hortensia and her Four Children (1797).

Extent: Over 500 books, ranging in date from the 17th century to the 20th century.

Location and Access


The Salisbury Collection is part of Special Collections on level 4 of the Hartley Library. 

  • Modern books (call number Salisbury Coll.) are shelved in the Special Collections open access area and can be used whenever the Hartley Library is open.
  • Older books (call number Rare Books Salisbury Coll.) are fetched for use in the Archives, Manuscripts and Rare Books Search Room.

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.


Special Collections Open Access Area - members of the University and visitors over 18 are welcome to use the material in this area whenever the Hartley Library is open. Visitors will need to show photo ID when signing in at Library Reception. If you are under 18 please contact with your enquiry. 

Our computer workstations are only available to University staff and students, but you can connect your own device to the free WiFi Guest service. 

Archives, Manuscripts and Rare Books Search Room - this is now 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.


  • WebCat includes records for most Salisbury Collection books. Some of the older books are listed only in the card catalogue on level 3.
  • DelphiS enables you to search across WebCat and the Library's electronic databases and is especially useful for subject searches. You will need a University login to access full-text resources.

See Salisbury Collection for a list of titles on WebCat.


Collection History

The Salisbury Collection brings together the botanical books donated by Sir Edward Salisbury to the Biomedical Sciences Library in 1978 and those presented by the family of Walter Frank Perkins to the University College of Southampton in 1948.

Sir Edward Salisbury (1886-1978) was a founder member of the British Ecological Society, who researched and wrote on woodland ecology, and with F.E. Fritsch, compiled a number of botanical textbooks during the 1920s. His later publication, Living Garden (1935) contributed to his appointment as Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew in 1943, a position he held until his retirement in 1956.

Walter Frank Perkins (1865-1946) was born in Southampton and was educated at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. He later worked as a surveyor in Southampton and was elected as the Member of Parliament for the New Forest in 1910. From 1928 to 1933, Perkins was the Treasurer of the University College of Southampton and presented his larger collection of agricultural books to the College in 1946.

J.-J. Rousseau Recueil de Plantes Coloriées, 3rd ed. (1789)

coloured engraving of plants

Rare Books Salisbury Coll. QK 92

Reprographics Service

The nearest copier is behind the main staircase on level 4.

Visitors wishing to make photocopies of items can create a guest account and add credit online, then login to any of the photocopiers (multi-functional devices) in the library.

Bound volumes in Rare Books 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.