The Royal Society
The Royal Society's moving image material is part of the audio visual collection which initially began as audio recordings in the early part of the 20th century. These cover events and activities initiated by the Society itself, and those undertaken by the Fellows who have deposited their papers with the Society. Royal Society activities include international scientific expeditions such as the establishing the Halley Bay base in Antarctica as part of the International Geophysical Year in 1956 -8, or to study such events as the volcanic eruption of Tristan Da Cunha. The largest part of the collection relates to the Society's named scientific prize lectures such as that by Tim Berners Lee on 'The future of the world wide web', and discussion meetings on topics of interest such as 'Energy for the Future'. Films are also deposited by Fellows with their papers, such as those by Howard Florey, made to demonstrate methods used in his development of penicillin, or filmed interviews of scientists on their achievement.
The Royal Society is the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, having been at the forefront of enquiry and discovery since its foundation in 1660. As a learned society and the UK's independent academy of science, it promotes the excellence of science through its Fellows, who are the most eminent scientists of the day elected by peer review for life.
6 - 9 Carlton House Terrace
Phone: 020 7451 2606
Access: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays. Booking required. Only those films which have a digital copy are currently accessible, and can be viewed.
Moving image material is collected if it is part of the activities of the Royal Society, or of the activities of the scientists whose papers/works are deposited with the Society.
The life cycle of the penguin, filmed at Halley Bay in 1957 as part of the International Geophysical Year, is undoubtedly one of my favourites. The development of the penguin from egg to teenager to adult is part of a scientific study, but could well have been made as entertainment. Other scientific films such as the volcanic eruption on Tristan Da Cunha are equally fascinating, and we are keen to accept films from those who went on Society organised and funded expeditions (not all of them Fellows) which record such field work. Interestingly, when the Halley Bay film was initially being cleaned, comment was made on the amount of pink sticking plaster used to link the pieces!
Joanna Corden, Archivist