The Science Museum Archives hold archives of some of the most famous and influential individuals and companies in the fields of science, medicine, engineering and industry.

Archive collections

The Science Museum Archives hold original archives of some of the most famous and influential individuals and companies in the fields of science, medicine, engineering and industry. These include personal papers, photographs, glass plate negatives, company records, technical drawings and other original manuscripts from famous figures and organisations such as

  • Charles Babbage’s notes and drawings re calculating engines
  • Letters from Sir Humphry Davy
  • Papers of George P Bidder (1806-78), 'calculating boy' and engineer
  • Apollo 11 Flight Plan signed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
  • Hooper (Coachbuilders) & Co. Ltd. – original design drawings and motor car construction records c1910-59
  • Maudslay, Sons & Field - engineers, 1800s-90s
  • Bramah & Robinson - engineering drawings c1804-52

Our archives include larger collections of named archives, e.g. the Pearson Archive, which feature substantial collections of personal papers or company records.

Collection level descriptions of many of the archives can be accessed via a keyword search on the library catalogue.

The Science Museum Archives also holds a collection which we call the ‘MS’ archives. The MS archives are smaller collections of well over two thousand items, ranging in size from single items such as letters and notebooks to small collections comprising a number of items, which provide snapshots of the lives of those who created them. The material provides a wide ranging source of subject information across the science, design and technology disciplines, as well as insights into the day to day lives of individuals and families. They can be accessed via a subject search on our online catalogue.

Content lists, or finding aids, for our archive collections will appear on this site in the future. For further information on any of our archives, or if you just want to know what we might have on a specific subject/person, please contact us.

For more information see a list of our named archives, a list of the archives for specific subjects or our archives research guide for family historians.