Skip to main content
Pepys Library Virtual Exhibitions

Virtual Exhibitions

Welcome to the Historic Collections Virtual Exhibition page, view items in our special collections and learn more about them.

Exhibitions are curated around themes of interest in our collections, primarily focused on the Pepys Library but also the Old Library and College Archives.


The Pepys Library is home to one of the largest collections of broadside ballads in the world. Printed on a large, single sheet of paper (thus ‘broadside’), these cheap, everyday publications were the popular songs of their day, reaching the height of their popularity in the 1660s.

Read more

Magdalene Boat Club: The First Hundred Years

A look at the history of Magdalene Boat Club (MBC). This MBC virtual exhibition (part one of a two-part series) looks at the first 100 years of the club's history, its beginning, early successes and early members.

Read more

Magdalene Boat Club: Part Two

A look at the modern history of Magdalene Boat Club (MBC). This MBC virtual exhibition (part two of a two-part series) looks at the modern era of the club's history, Henley Winners, MBC women, an MBC Olympian, our first CUWBC President and a Quadruple Overbump.

Read more

The Great Fire of London

Samuel Pepys’s description of the Great Fire of London is considered the most vivid contemporary account of the event. This exhibition includes extracts of Samuel Pepys’s diary describing the Great Fire and items of interest from the Pepys collection.

Read more

Samuel Pepys’s Diary

In this virtual exhibition we explore various aspects of Samuel Pepys’s diary, the Pepys Library’s most famous manuscript. Pepys began keeping what he called his ‘journal’ in 1660, continuing until 1669. The Diary is recognised as one of the most important resources for studying the period of the...

Read more

Pepys and Music

Pepys was an avid enthusiast for all aspects of music: he tried his hand at several musical instruments, was a competent singer and dabbled in composition. There are several entries in his diary referring to music-making at home with friends, as well as to secular music performed as part of...

Read more