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Archives

Archives holding material on the British volunteers in Spain

Within Britain, there are a number of archives holding material on the British volunteers in Spain.

The main collection of the International Brigade Association (now part of the IBMT) is at the Marx Memorial Library, London. It includes documents compiled by various members of the battalion in Spain, memoir material, photographs and material relating to the work of the IBA after the defeat of the Spanish Republic. The MML has an online searchable catalogue.

Both the Bishopsgate Institute and the Imperial War Museum in London contain collections donated by individual British volunteers. There are a large number of detailed and lengthy interviews with volunteers from the UK and beyond, from both the Republican and Nationalist sides, some of which are held in the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive (there is a full list here), others in the Manchester Historical Archive in the Thameside Local Studies and Archive Centre at Ashton-Under-Lyne.

Also in London are the National Archives at Kew, which apart from the mass of material on the British Government's responses to the war, contains various details relating to volunteers such as their imprisonment and repatriation including a number of files compiled by the security services. The online catalogue can be searched on-line.

The People's History Museum in Manchester has a number of photographs, plus a lot of material from the Communist Party, including Harry Pollitt's papers. There  is also an important Spanish Civil War Collection at the Working Class Movement Library, in nearby Salford.

There is a large holding, focusing on Welsh volunteers, in the Spanish Civil War Collection, in the Swansea Miners' Library, Swansea, and AJEX in London contains details of Jewish volunteers from the UK. The National Museum of Scotalnd holds the papers of some individual Scottish volunteers. The Modern Records Centre at The University of Warwick has a huge collection centred on the responses of the Trade Union Congress, though also a number of other collections on various aspects of the aid-Spain campaigns. 

There are several important collections held outside the United Kingdom. The most significant is ALBA (the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive) in New York, which has copies of much of the material held in the Russian Centre for the Preservation and Study of Recent Historical Documents in Moscow (which are themselves now online. Records for individual British and Irish volunteers begin on page 3). There are also, of course, important archives in Spain itself, including the Archivo General Militar in Avila and the Military Archive in Salamanca.