Birks Drawings

Scope and Content

A collection of 102 technical drawings made by Norman Arthur Birks (1892-1989) while he was an engineering student at Bradford Technical College and at the University of Sheffield between 1908 and 1914. Also a collection of 32 scholarship certificates, examination certificates and reports relating to Norman Birks’ technical education between 1908 and 1914 both at the University of Sheffield and Bradford Technical College.

Administrative / Biographical History

The collection was donated to the Library in 2004 by Mr. Oliver D. Harris, the grandson of Norman Arthur Birks. It consists of 102 technical drawings made by Norman Birks while studying engineering at Bradford Technical College and at the University of Sheffield between 1908 and 1914, along with a collection of 32 educational certificates dating from 1908 to 1914.

Norman Arthur Birks was born in Bradford on 1st November 1892, and studied at Bradford Technical College from 1908 to 1911. He then studied engineering at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 1914 with an Associateship in mechanical engineering. During World War I, he served with the 9th York and Lancaster Regiment and the Motor Machine Gun Service, and then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. He trained at Oxford, Hendon, Doncaster and Catterick, and was posted to France in November 1916 as a pilot in the DH2-equipped 29 Squadron at Izel-le-Hameau. On 5th April 1917, Norman Birks was shot down, wounded, in no-man´s land. He was taken prisoner and treated in hospital until September 1917, when he was transferred to the prisoner of war camp at Holzminden, where he remained until the Armistice.

After the war, Norman Birks returned to engineering and, in 1920 set up in business with his brother Douglas as Abbot, Birks and Co., a company specialising in components for the gas and plumbing industries, of which he remained a director until his retirement in 1970. During World War II, he was second in command of the Air Training Corps squadron at Leatherhead in Surrey. Norman Birks died on 16th June 1989.

(Notes compiled partly from an obituary of Norman Birks by Stuart Tucker in Cross and Cockade International Journal, 21(1), 1990)


As received

Access Information

Available to all researchers, by appointment

Acquisition Information

BY donation in October 2004

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Jacky Hodgson

Conditions Governing Use

Estate of the creator