Personal Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of discreet collections related to engineers personal life or work and includes letters, sketch books, engineering notebooks and educational/apprenticeship material, amongst others.Of note: notebooks of Henry Wright, employee of Boulton & Watt, include detailed drawings of company installed machinery; sketch and notebook of David Joy; material created by William Henry Maw; material relating to railways including, Ralph Peacock's (later Managing Director of Beyer, Peacock & Co) locomotive notebook and a large postcard collection of pre-nationalised railway locomotives; and automotive material including, George Henry Roesch's notebook relating to Peugeot and Sir Frederick Henry Royce's sketch and notebook.Other engineers covered include Sir Frederick Joseph Bramwell, Marc Isambard Brunel, Sir William Fairbairn, Isaac Lowthian Bell and Henry Bessemer.

Administrative / Biographical History

Individual collections of personal engineers papers, historically grouped together, mainly donated by creators or their heirs.


Below the collection level, each discreet collection is arranged by creator and entered as a sub-fonds/collection. Within this, collections are arranged as they would be if they stood alone, depending on material.

Conditions Governing Access


Other Finding Aids

Archive catalogue,

Conditions Governing Use

Self-photography, without a flash, is allowed on completion of a declaration. Other copying must be carried out, at the discretion of the Archivist, by a member of staff.

Custodial History

Originally catalogued at IMS the collection has been re-catalogued and divided into PER (personal papers) and BUS (business papers). Larger IMS collections will be allocated their own ref no eg George and Robert Stephenson's papers have been removed from IMS, collated and will be re-catalogued as STE. This work is ongoing throughout 2014-2015. Additionally, previously all our collections were divided by type eg museum objects, drawings etc but they will now be collated into relevant collections; George Stephenson's railway token will be collated into STE. Notes on the catalogue will record this process. The aim being to make collections more discoverable.