Papers of Ranald W M Clouston, 1925-2002, engineer, archivist and bell archaeologist

Scope and Content

  • School and University notebooks and coursework, 1939-1948;
  • Notebooks and handbooks relating to the Junior Training Corps, Royal Corps of Signals, 1942-1945;
  • Material relating to Clouston's career as with Babcock and Wilcox, including notebooks, photographs, staff leaflets, weekly reports of work completed and copies of minutes, and 1945-1987;
  • Clouston's personal papers, including draft letters and obituaries published after his death

Please note that this collection is still in the process of being catalogued.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ranald Warren Monteith Clouston, MBE, BSc (Eng), FSA, MI Mech E, MIEE, AM Inst F, 1925-2002, (sometimes addressed as Ron or Ronnie in correspondence) was born in Lavenham, Suffolk, the son of two doctors. He attended Prep School in Hertford from 1932 and Tonbridge School (1939-42) before going to University College London in 1943 to study Engineering. He joined the Junior Training Corps of the Royal Corps of Signals around 1942.

In September 1945 Clouston began work as a Graduate Engineer at the Renfrew works of Babcock & Wilcox Ltd, Boilermakers. He worked in the drawing office and then in different departments of the firm, to gain working experience, before becoming a Service Engineer and travelling to sites in Britain and in Europe, to work on boiler installations and other projects. In 1953 he moved to the firm's London Office, to begin work in the Projects Department. By 1956 he was working in the Costs Research Department, working on cost controls and project management.

Clouston became Babcock & Wilcox's archivist in 1968, working in a department that was known in the 1970s as the Cost Research, Archives and Records Centre. He continued as the Company Archivist until he retired from the firm in 1987. According to Alison Turton (BAC Newsletter 128, June 2002), "he was as amongst the earliest exponents of the modern concept of the corporate archivist," and he served as Editor of the Business Archives Council Newsletter in the 1970s.

Along with his lifelong interest in engineering and archives, Clouston had a variety of hobbies and enthusiasms. He was a good amateur boxer in his youth. He was an authority on various aspects of animal husbandry and farming, and served for many years as a Conservative councillor in Hampshire. However, his greatest passion was for church bells. Clouston was an enthusiastic campanologist but was more famous as one of the country's leading bell archaeologists. He was awarded the MBE in 1994 for his work researching the history of church bells and advising on their preservation and restoration. He died in March 2002.


This collection is still in the process of being catalogued but it is likely that the material will be arranged in chronological order within record series.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

The Estate of the Late R W M Clouston in 2002

Other Finding Aids

None available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material is in the process of being catalogued and will be appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Held by the Clouston family prior to deposit in Glasgow University Archive Services in 2002.


None expected

Related Material

A selection of Clouston's other papers were sent to the following repositories:  

  • GB 174, University Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds, received Clouston's bell material relating to Suffolk;
  • GB 551, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland received Clouston's bell material relating to Scotland;
  • The Council for the Care of Churches Library, London, received Clouston's books about bells;
  • The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, received Clouston's bell material not sent to other repositories.

The records of Babcock International Group plc and Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd and their predecessor, subsidiary, and associated companies of are held by Glasgow University Archive Services starting with call reference GB 248 UGD 309.

Location of Originals

This material is original


The material includes notes and other material gathered by R W M Clouston for his article, The Development of the Babcock Boiler in Britain up to 1939, in Transactions of the Newcomen Society, Vol 58, 1986-87, pp75-87.

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Iain Russell, Scottish Brewing Archivist, February 2006. Collection converted to Encoded Archivel Description by Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing), 22 January 2013.

Geographical Names