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The Gradwell Collection, entrusted to Liverpool Hope on the closure of St. Joseph's College at Upholland, contains material covering the following subjects: theology, philosophy, church, secular and local history, ecclesiastical history, art, architecture, sociology, education and works of general reference. It also includes recusant works and early printed books. Donations and subscriptions aside, the book collection has not been added to since 1975 when the College ceased to operate as a seminary, however, the journal and periodical collection which is mainly theological, has been kept up-to-date and can be found with the main collection of journals in The Sheppard-Worlock Library. The Gradwell is particularly strong in Catholic studies with standard works of Catholic reference and Liverpool Hope University has added a substantial number of volumes from the Corpus Christianorum series to complement the reference collection.

The collection also houses a section devoted to the Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890), who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010 and soon to be canonised before too long. Newman stands as a Victorian giant in the field of theology, philosophy and education. Influencing many academic and spiritual disciplines, Newman's writings and his lifelong search for religious truth continue to inspire scholars throughout the world. Liverpool Hope University aims to enhance and extend the reach of John Henry Newman’s life and spirituality with the development of the John Henry Newman Studies Project, an international forum for research and academic study of the meaning of Newman’s thought and work.

The Newman section, within the Gradwell collection, contains a generous corpus of Newman's own published works (including first editions) and books on or related to Newman. This scholarly resource is complemented by the availability of a recently updated extensive collection of Newman related publications from the main Sheppard-Worlock Library collection, further details of which can be found on the library catalogue. The collection also includes, preserved on microfilm, the diaries, letters and miscellaneous documents from the Cardinal Newman archive held at the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, in Birmingham. Contents of the archive can be found on the John Henry Newman Personal Papers. To use the archive please email

Also in the Gradwell is a significant collection of St. Thomas Aquinas material and material relating to Vatican II, including the complete series of Concilium Tridentinum, Acta et Documenta Oecumenico Vaticano II Apparando and Acta Synodalia. 

The Gradwell has a substantial quantity of primary recusant material from the 17th and 18th centuries; this includes devotional works, sermons, tracts, pamphlets, biblical studies and more. There is a rich seam here of very high quality research material for those working in this generally under-researched area. Finally there is material which, while perhaps not being of obvious research significance, simply needs preserving. For example, there are materials from the 16th century in this class such as editions of the Fathers in Greek and Latin.

The Gradwell is only part catalogued and it may be necessary to book an appointment to discover the full extent of the resources available. The Gradwell Classification scheme is available to download to highlight the subject coverage of the collection. For assistance please email

Useful information

To view the manuscripts or rare books in Special Collections please make an appointment. Email Special Collections or visit About Us for more information.