The Gregory Papers

Scope and Content

The documents illustrate many aspects of Sir Richard Gregory's career, particularly in its later, more public aspects, from 1919. The organisation is broadly chronological within the groups:



Occasional papers (invitations, programmes, etc., relating to public, social, academic and scientific activities)

Press-cuttings and other printed papers




Family Papers (relating to his father, John Gregory (1831-1922), the 'poet cobbler', his second wife, Lady Dorothy Mary Gregory, and her father, William Page, the founder of the Victoria County History).

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Richard Arman Gregory, 1st bt, FRS (1864-1952), was born in Bristol, the son of a cobbler. He became successively an apprentice in a boot and shoe factory (1879-82), assistant in the Clifton College physics laboratory (1882-84), a student at the Normal School of Science, South Kensington (1884-87), science demonstrator in HM Dockyard School, Portsmouth (1887), computor to the Solar Physics Committee and assistant to Sir Norman Lockyer (1889-92) as well as Oxford University extension lecturer (1890-95). From 1893 he was assistant editor, under Lockyer, of Nature (1893-1919), effectively its editor from at least 1907 and formally so for twenty years (1919-39), and scientific editor for the publishers Macmillans (1905-39). Gregory was the greatest scientific journalist of his day. He was also keenly interested in securing the proper place for science in the school curriculum, and wrote textbooks on astronomy, chemistry, education, hygiene, physics and other scientific subjects. After 1919 (when he was knighted) Gregory became more and more a public figure. With his boundless energy and curiosity and his optimism about new causes, he was a member of some seventy organizations and served as president of twenty-five. In particular he was the moving spirit of the British Science Guild until its merger with the British Association for the Advancement of Science - to which he also had a very close attachment, serving as president throughout the Second World War. He was created a baronet in 1931, and elected, for 'conspicuous services to the cause of science', a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1933. He died in 1952 at Middleton on Sea, West Sussex. See W. H. G. Armytage, Sir Richard Gregory: his life and work (London, Macmillan, 1957).

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Given by Sir Richard's second wife, Lady Dorothy Mary Gregory, in April 1970.

Ad 1: deposited by Professor Roy Macleod in August 1989


Prepared by John Farrant, September 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.


The collection was used by W. H. G. Armytage for Sir Richard Gregory: his life and work . London, Macmillan, 1957.