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The Warwick ELT Archive

The ELT Archive is a stand-alone, browsable historical collection of published and unpublished materials relating to the teaching of English as a foreign language and the development of applied linguistics, c.1880–c.1990. The collection now constitutes a unique resource for students, teachers, researchers and others interested in the history of ELT, and the histories of language teaching and applied linguistics more broadly. We welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students (see below for some areas of possible supervision) and other researchers interested in using the Archive.


Now housed on mobile shelving in the Department's Learning Resources Room, this unique collection has been built up gradually by Professor Richard Smith since 2002, initially on the basis of donations of materials from members and former members of staff in the (then) Centre for English Language Teacher Education (now, Department of Applied Linguistics), University of Warwick, and latterly on the basis of acquisitions from a wider variety of interested individuals and institutions/organizations (see below for a full list of donors). In March 2005 a substantial existing collection was incorporated, the Edinburgh Dakin Collection, and in December 2010 a significant donation of materials from Dr Charles Forbes (which we have termed the 'Forbes Collection') enhanced our holdings in the areas of U.S. and Middle Eastern publications.


The 'Publications' and 'Research' tabs above provide details of recent activities. These include Richard Smith's journal articles 'Building applied linguistic historiography' (Applied Linguistics, 2015) and (with A.P.R. Howatt) 'The history of Teaching English as a Foreign Language, from a British and European perspective’ (Language and History, 2014). Also, we are building links with researchers at the University of Hyderabad, India, including (in 2016–17 and 2022–23) via a split-site PhD supervision arrangement funded by the Commonwealth Scholarships programme. The ELT Archive itself has a bias towards British and (to a lesser extent) American texts and documents and there have been recent projects funded by the British Council (see below). Nevertheless, a particular research interest we have is in the way history can help to deconstruct the supposed 'universality' of western ELT/TESOL approaches, by showing how such approaches have been constituted in particular contexts and by exploring alternative histories (for example, in recent research work relating to Chinese, Indian and Japanese histories of English language education, and highlighting contributions by women in the history of ELT).

bc_publicity_1.jpgLink opens in a new window Click on image for full publicity leaflet 

In the past and currently (2018 onwards), the Archive has benefited from financial support from the A.S. Hornby Educational Trust. During 2009-2011, we also received financial support from The British Council in connection with two specific research projects – one (completed in 2009) to establish both a physical archive and a database of UK-funded ELT projects worldwide, the other (2010-11) a research project on the history of the overall relationship between ELT and The British Council. In the course of both projects we developed and are continuing to build significant special collections of evaluation reports related to ELT projects and past British Council publications. Both projects also enabled us to catalogue and shelve a large number of previously uncatalogued items (see latest catalogue here). The 2010-11 project additionally enabled us to digitalize some important resources, some of which - when permissions allow - we are gradually uploading to this website. We also supported the British Council's 75th anniversary Milestones in ELT initiative (launched in November 2009) to place a number of its past publications online. We currently house the AILA (International Association of Applied Linguistics) and BAAL (British Association for Applied Linguistics) archives.

The Warwick ELT Archive consists primarily of:

  • course books and associated printed materials
  • graded readers
  • audio- and audio-visual materials
  • teacher resource books
  • books on teaching methodology
  • pedagogical grammars
  • learner dictionaries
  • journals
  • newsletters
  • official reports

There is also provision for storage and consultation of primary sources, including:

  • correspondence
  • photographs
  • mimeographed reports
  • recorded interviews

We continue to welcome all offers of donations to the collection in the above or other categories, within the broad field of ‘Development of ELT and Applied Linguistics, c.1900–c.1980’. Any donation which is accepted will be fully acknowledged on the material itself and in our catalogue.

To date we have received significant donations of materials from the following institutions/organizations and individuals, to whom we are very grateful:

  • Berlitz UK
  • The British Council
  • The Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Edinburgh
  • The English Language Centre (ELC) Brighton
  • The International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL)
  • The Language Centre, University of Leeds
  • Pearson Longman
  • The School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, University of Reading
  • Brian Abbs
  • Palmer Acheson
  • Bob Adamson
  • Julia Alexander
  • Dick and Joan Allwright
  • Victoria Angela
  • Barbara Baran
  • Amna Bedri
  • Mohamed Benrabah
  • Almut Billows
  • Rod Bolitho
  • Roger Bowers
  • Christopher Brumfit
  • Paul Carley
  • Gerald Clibbon
  • Hywel Coleman
  • Peter Collier
  • Monica Collingham
  • Vivian Cook
  • Janelle Cooper
  • A.P. Cowie
  • Martin Eayrs
  • John Eckersley
  • William Egerton
  • Janet Enever
  • Edith Esch
  • Arthur van Essen
  • Carol Everhard
  • Charles Forbes
  • Ingrid Freebairn
  • Peter Fries
  • Kathryn Fuller
  • Adam Gadsby
  • Jane Garrett
  • Andy Gillett
  • Mary Godward
  • Jan van Griethuysen
  • Mick Hammond
  • Susan Holden
  • A.P.R. Howatt
  • Rosalyn Hurst
  • Jim Hutton
  • Barry and Gwenneth Jones
  • Gillian Jones
  • Bob and Jane Jordan
  • Heather Kempson
  • Masataka Kizuka
  • Irene Lavington
  • Lienhard Legenhausen
  • Rob Lowe
  • Jonathan Marks
  • Diana Metzner
  • Keith Mitchell
  • Rosamond Mitchell
  • André Moulin
  • Dennis Newson
  • Joyce Norledge
  • John Norrish
  • Felicity O'Dell
  • Gareth Owen
  • Amos Paran
  • Robert Phillipson
  • Philip Prowse
  • Jenny Pugsley
  • Randolph Quirk
  • Hilary Rees-Parnall
  • Richard Rossner
  • Jess Shapero
  • Poilna Shvanyukova
  • Harvey Smith
  • Simon Smith
  • Paul Snowden
  • John Spencer
  • Frances Stacey
  • Hugh Trappes-Lomax
  • Chris Tribble
  • Mary Trimble
  • Carolyn Walker
  • Alan Waters
  • Martin Wedell
  • Adam West
  • Henry Widdowson
  • Dave and Jane Willis
  • Phyllis Willis
  • Dede and Ken Wilson
  • Scott Windeatt
  • Edward Woods
  • Andrew Wright
  • Tony Wright
  • Present and former members of staff Meriel Bloor, Richard Forsyth, Sheena Gardner, Tricia Hedge, Thelma Henderson, Tim Kelly, Judith Kennedy, Julia Khan, Melody Mason, Penny Mosavian, Hilary Nesi, Nigel Prentice, Keith Richards, Shelagh Rixon, Rod Revell, Liza Sandell, Richard Smith; and former students Sultan Erdoğan; Mustafa Kileci; Yasir Hassan Hussein; Rafael Salguero; Jan Whetstone, Samaneh Zandian.

If you are interested in consulting items in the Archive, in donating material or in conducting doctoral or post-doctoral research please write to:

The ELT Archive, Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

or contact Professor Richard Smith, the founder and curator of the collection, at:



News (Warwick ELT Archive blog)Link opens in a new window


Friends of the ELT Archive Facebook groupLink opens in a new window


Blog post: 'On the origins, history and understanding of Test-Teach-Test in English language teaching'Link opens in a new window (Jason Anderson)


Why History (of ELT)? Whose History?Link opens in a new window Presentation by Richard Smith in Warwick Applied Linguistics seminar series, 21 June 2023.


Webinar series (27 May-10 June 2023): 'Appropriate methodology for Bangladesh and elsewhere: How appropriate are Michael West's ideas today?' Organized by Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA) in association with the A.S. Hornby Educational Trust and the Warwick ELT Archive. Videos: Webinar 1; Link opens in a new windowWebinar 2Link opens in a new window; Webinar 3Link opens in a new window. Review in IATEFL Voices hereLink opens in a new window.


Insights for English Language Education from Historical Research’. Inaugural webinar by Richard Smith for the History of English Language Education – India Research Group / AINET Association of English Teachers, 22 July 2022.


Featured speaker talk by Richard Smith at 19th AILA World Congress of Applied Linguistics: 'Unity and Diversity in European Language Education: Perspectives from Historical Research'Link opens in a new window, 19 August 2021.


Blog post: HERstory of ELT: 'There are Hordes of Us, but less loudly sung' (Richard Smith)


Online lecture: Historiography in applied linguistics, Antonieta Celani Distinguished Lecture, PUC, Sao Paulo (online), 9 December 2020 ( Richard Smith)


Blog post: On the origins of 'jigsaw' and 'information gap' (Jason Anderson)


The role of historiography in decentring ELT'. Keynote paper, ELTAI National Seminar, University of Hyderabad, India, 2018 (Richard Smith)


Blog post: 'Why History of ELT? An autobiographical view' (Richard Smith)


Talk on 'Towards histories of language teaching in Europe, 1970-2015' (April 2016) (Richard Smith)


Webinar on researching ELT history (January 2016) (Richard Smith)


Blog post on history of ELT Journal (December 2015) (Richard Smith)


Blog post on first ever IATEFL conference (December 2015) (Richard Smith)


TEFLology interview with Richard Smith on History of ELT (June 2015)


'Unpackaging the past' - Duncan Hunter and Richard Smith video (December 2014)


Foundation Day lecture by Richard Smith (2014), on 'Applied Linguistic Historiography', Department of English Studies, University of Hyderabad, India


Panel discussion on the History of EAP and of BALEAPLink opens in a new window, BALEAP 2013 Conference, April 2013. (John Swales, Meriel Bloor, Andy Gillett, Richard Smith)


Interview with John Trim about the History of Modern Language Teaching and LearningLink opens in a new window, 19 September 2013 (Richard Smith & Nicola McLelland)


A Short History of ELT: Talk by Richard Smith in the British Council Seminar Series, 26 June 2012.