Fleming Papers

Scope and Content

Papers of Sir Ambrose Fleming, including extensive sets of laboratory notebooks which include accounts of experiments on carbon filaments carried out by Fleming when he was adviser to the Edison and Swan Electric Light Company, of tests on electrical and photometric standards carried out in the Pender Laboratory at University College London, and of experiments on valves and other aspects of wireless telegraphy; notes of lectures attended by Fleming and notes for lectures given by Fleming; patent specifications and papers on litigation over them; newspaper cuttings and other compilations by Fleming; papers on awards and distinctions; biographical notes; and correspondence. 500 of the 521 volumes are printed works associated with the collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ambrose Fleming studied physics and mathematics at University College London and later studied chemistry at the Royal College of Chemistry. In 1877 he was an undergraduate at St John's College Cambridge, where he studied under James Clerk Maxwell. In 1881 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Physics at University College Nottingham and in 1883 became a Fellow of St John's College Cambridge. In 1884 Fleming was invited to give a course of lectures on electro-technology at University College London and the following year became the first Professor of Electrical Technology there. Fleming was associated with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company as scientific adviser from 1899. In 1904 he patented his rectifying valve. In 1926 he resigned his Professorship at University College London. Fleming was knighted in 1929. He was awarded the Ruddell Medal by the Physical Society in 1931, the Franklin Medal by the Franklin Institute, USA, in 1935, and the Kelvin Medal by the three Engineering Institutions of Great Britain in 1935.

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed to the College by Fleming.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue available on the online catalogue. A detailed handlist and name index is also available. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply.