Isambard Kingdom Brunel, English railway engineer and inventor, 1857

    Steam engines at work

    We've animated some of the full-size steam engines in our collections, so you can see how they work.

    Inside the Spitfire

    Take a close-up look at Britain's 'most famous plane' and read the personal stories of the people who designed, built and flew the aircraft.

    Advances in aviation

    Aviation matures, bringing military terror but also the chance to roam the world.

    Constructing the railway system

    Railways spread to form new social end economic networks.

    Inventing engineering

    Engineering education was crucial to Britain's industrial success.

    Machinery in motion

    New machine tools dramatically change manufacturing techniques.

    New science, new materials, new power

    A second industrial revolution brings electricity and science-based products.

    Rational manufacture

    New, rationally organised manufacturing systems gradually transformed industry.

    The rise of the factory system

    Factories were idealised but often unusual workplaces.

    Science in war

    The Second World War marries science to weapons development and tactics.

    Atomic Clocks

    The time by which we all live is now maintained by incredibly accurate atomic clocks. Find out how they work, why we need their accuracy and how they may become even better in the future.

    Amy Johnson

    Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia. Discover the story behind this extraordinary achievement.


    Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, conceived in 1834, is one of the startling intellectual feats of the nineteenth century. Trace the story of the man widely regarded as the great ancestral figure of computing.


    Pulley blocks in a ship's rigging may appear insignificant, but the machinery invented to build them at Portsmouth dockyard played a major role in manufacturing history.

    Big clocks

    Find out about the development of early public clocks, from the 14th century examples at Salisbury and Wells to the 19th century mechanism which operates Big Ben.

    King George III

    The King George III Collection at the Science Museum is a unique assembly of early apparatus for demonstrating scientific principles. Through these objects scientists were able to disseminate their knowledge of the 'new science'.

    John C. Bourne

    John Cooke Bourne was a prolific artist and illustrator who pioneered the realistic depiction of the construction of the railways in Britain.

    Huygens' Clocks

    Christiaan Huygens spent years devising new mechanisms to improve timekeeping, including the pendulum and the balance wheel and spring - devices which governed almost all clocks and watches for the next 300 years.

    Studying work

    In the twentieth century, studying workers becomes part of 'scientific management'.

    World War One

    Nations commit their entire populations and all their industries to the fight.