The collection contains papers relating to the company as a whole, especially high-level minutes and legal and accounting papers, but has less comprehensive coverage of manufacturing activities at the Works, both at home and abroad. The bulk of the collection covers the period 1870-1970, and includes records of Armstrong-Whitworth. The material includes papers, photographic negatives and cinefilm.
There are several important series within the collection. These include papers relating to the Royal Commission on the Private Manufacture and Trading in Arms, which was set up by the government in 1935, and prompted the collection and analysis of detailed information on the company's trading in armaments. There are also quarterly reports, 1928-1962, submitted by each of the Works to Vickers House, detailing in standard form matters such as orders received in the quarter period, deliveries made, prospects for the next quarter, labour relations, numbers of employees and many other details, including the names of visitors. The collection also contains envelopes left by J.D. Scott after he had completed writing Vickers, a history in 1962. These papers, brought together from inside and outside the company, cover many aspects of its history. More recent history is covered by the firm's original files. There is a series concerning the nationalisation, de-nationalisation and then re-nationalisation of the English Steel Corporation Ltd between 1949 and 1967. The negotiations leading up to the aircraft merger and the formation of the British Aircraft Corporation Ltd in 1960 are also covered in these files, as is the acquisition of Roneo Ltd, Algraphy Ltd and R.W. Crabtree and Sons Ltd.
The documents are numbered from 1 to 700 and divided into sections: increases and decrease in share capital of Vickers (1-25); papers of Count Leon Ostrorog, European Legal Advisor (26-56); Arms Commission papers (57-147); quarterly reports (148-283); aviation matters (284-456); steel nationalisation, de-nationalisation and re-nationalisation (457-477); McKinsey enquiry (478-480); acquisitions and disposals (481-500); Suez Canal Base (501); Millbank Tower construction finance (502-503); shipbuilding matters (504-517); J.D. Scott's envelopes (518-916); stock of J.D. Scott's and Sir Harold Evans' histories of Vickers (1000); book collection (letter books, minute books, etc.) (1001-1489); accounts books (1490-1868); photograph albums (2000-2027); photographs (2100-2590); artillery plans (2700). The cinefilm and the extensive collection of photographic negatives are numbered in separate sequences.
In addition, the collection contains microfilms of certain Vickers material. These include correspondence, relating mainly to directors whose files have been destroyed. There is also a series of 35 films, containing the full company records of the Airship Guarantee Company Ltd, the Vickers subsidiary set up to build the Airship R100 at Howden between 1924 and 1929.
The later, supplementary material includes correspondence, brochures, registers, manufacturers' drawings, maps, pamphlets, periodicals, plans, posters, programmes, reports and visitors books. There are also photographs and papers of Siegmund (or Sigmund) Loewe, who worked for both Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Vickers, and of his family, 1882-1914.