Visit our archive

Explore the notebooks, papers and film materials of the scientists who lived and worked in the Ri building.

Michael and Louisa Faraday sitting with John Tyndall, Harriet Moore and her sister.
Credit: The Royal Institution

Visit the Ri Achive

The archive collections of the Royal Institution include the personal papers and experimental notebooks of many of the scientists who have researched, lectured and lived in the building, as well as administrative archives from the last two centuries. Together they create a detailed picture of life at the Ri.

The Ri Archive reading room is currently closed for research, but we’re planning to open again soon.

We are still assisting researchers through direct enquiries. For more information please contact the archives team.

Personal collections

The major personal collections include the papers of scientists who have researched, lectured and lived in the building. The collections range in size from a single file to boxes of material. The major collections are recorded but some of the smaller collections are uncatalogued, while others are listed as parts of larger collections.

Catalogue links access listings can be found on the National Archives Discovery Portal. For summary links, access AIM25 pages.

The personal collections are listed below in alphabetical order:

Administrative archives 

The administrative archives cover everything from the initial modifications to the building, minutes of managers and council meetings, membership and lecture lists.

If you have a query about a specific member or lecture at the Ri please contact the archives team.

Audio-visual archives 

Alongside the paper archives we have a collection of audio-visual material.

Many previous CHRISTMAS LECTURES broadcasts are available to watch online on our website.

Related collections 

The Royal Institution archives are closely linked to both the apparatus and iconographic collections held in the Faraday Museum.

Copying services 

Copies of our archive documents for research are available through our copying service.

Copies of documents are supplied as prints or digital files and are priced at £1.20 per A4 sheet/ photograph, inclusive of VAT.

Copies ordered externally will incur a £10 admin charge, this covers locating and assessing the material.

Please download an external copy request form and complete it, specifying the items you wish to have scanned.

Completed forms can be emailed to the archives team or posted to:

The Heritage and Collections team
The Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street
London
W1S 4BS

Please let us know whether you would like the copies as digital files or on paper. There is an additional charge of £2.50 (post and packaging) for paper copies.

Please note: Copies are made for educational use only, for members of the general public. Any commercial company or person, for example writing an article or book, cannot be given copies of articles, although they are welcome to visit the reading room to read the information. Information written by the Ri in general can be copied for free for commercial research provided the copies are clearly marked with the Ri name.

Image reproductions

Many of the best-known images from the Royal Institution collections can be viewed at Bridgeman Art Library and at the Science Photo Library where you can purchase reproductions and license images for publication.

These include paintings on display around the building but also photographs and watercolours from the Ri Archives.

If you require information about a reproduction of an image not yet available, please email the archives team or call us on +44(0)20 7409 2992.