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The Collection is housed in the Arab World Documentation Unit (AWDU), located in the Research Commons Old Library, a five minute walk from the Institute.

Credit: Dar al-Makhtutat

The Gulf Collection

The Gulf Collection at Exeter is one of the largest in the world, totalling over 100,000 items on Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Its holdings include the personal papers of Sir Charles Belgrave and Sir William Luce, copies of historical documents (mainly government reports and correspondence in Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, and Arabic dating from 1560 to the present day), historical maps, political opposition documents, gazettes, yearbooks, surveys, videos, journals, dissertations, books, data on oil, media reports, Western press cuttings, and daily Gulf newspapers.

The Collection is housed in the Arab World Documentation Unit (AWDU), located in the Research Commons Old Library, a five minute walk from the Institute.

Personal papers

Sir Charles Belgrave (1894-1969), Advisor to the Rulers of Bahrain, 1926-57. 
Sir William Luce (1907-77), British Governor of Aden, 1956-60; Political Resident in the Gulf, 1961-6; British Special Representative for Gulf Affairs (in charge of Britain's withdrawal from the Gulf), 1966-72.

Government of Bombay Diaries on the Gulf, 1778-1820

The Bombay Diaries are photocopies of the daily records of the British Government of Bombay (run by the East India Company) from the Bombay Archives in India. The 4,000 pages of extracts held in AWDU were selected for their relevance to the Gulf.

Note: Special Collections ('Heritage Collections') require advance notice if you wish to consult items held there such as The Bombay Diaries or the papers of Sir Charles Belgrave. The Heritage Collection catalogue is here after a search, click on the item number for in depth detail. There is a Reading Room behind the Research Commons reception for Heritage Collection consultations.

All other other material is findable by title, keyword and so on in the library catalogue 

Archive Editions

The Unit holds most of the titles relevant to the Gulf region, containing British documents up to 1963, and some of the original documentation that was collected by Archive editions but never published.

Gulf Countries Collections

This mainly consist of material from government departments, central banks or monetary agencies, commercial banks and companies, and from other non-commercial sources in the country such as universities, research centres and institutes. Statistics, directories, reports and reference materials have also been included.

Gulf Information Project Collection

This was set up in 1991 to monitor the humanitarian effects of the Iraq - Kuwait war, and includes international reports and documents, press cuttings files, etc. The project was continued until 1995, and the consequent archive was then sent to Exeter. Some updated material has been added.

Gulf Microfiche Collection

This collection contains material on Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and incorporates Internal Publications (Administrative, Economic and Commercial and Non-commercial Institutions); External Publications; Descriptive Items and some Periodicals.


This section includes publications, yearbooks and guides from government sources, petroleum companies and International and regional organisations: Arab League, IEA, OAPEC, OPEC, UN, etc. The material covers annual reports and reviews, statistics, market trends and prices, energy profiles, conference proceedings and directories.