Scope and Contents
The records cover the full range of departmental operations, from delivery of the curriculum and examining to the building and expansion of departmental premises.
Conditions Governing Access
There are generally no restrictions on access to the archives, apart from 30 years closure of records relating to confidential research projects, imposed as a condition of transfer and 80 years closure of records containing personal data, imposed under data protection legislation. Restrictions are clearly indicated in catalogue entries.
Conditions Governing Use
Requests to publish text should be addressed to the Keeper of University Archives, photographs to the Head of Digital Content Unit; both at Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR.
Biographical / Historical
The study of engineering was introduced to the University in 1783 in the lectures of Isaac Milner (1750-1820), first Jacksonian Professor of Natural (Experimental) Philosophy. He illustrated his lectures with practical demonstrations and set up a workshop for experimentation in his rooms in Queens' College. His pioneering interests were expanded upon in the lectures given by William Farrish (1759-1837), successively Professor of Chemistry, 1794-1813 and Jacksonian Professor, 1813-37 and by Robert Willis (1800-75), Jacksonian Professor, 1837-74. The Chair of Mechanism and Applied Mechanics was established in 1875 with James Stuart (1843-1913) as its first occupant; its name changed to Mechanical Sciences in 1934 and Engineering in 1966.
Willis was the first to give lectures specifically designed for candidates for a degree course: the Special Examination in Mechanism and Applied Science from 1865. The Mechanical Sciences Tripos was established in 1892 and first examined in 1894. It was renamed the Engineering Tripos in 1968. In 1963 an Electrical Sciences Tripos was set up. It was renamed Electrical and Information Sciences in 1986. In 1988 a Production Engineering Tripos was established. It was renamed Manufacturing Engineering in 1989.
In 1878, Stuart had been provided with a workshop, extended in 1881-2 and 1884, which he furnished, equipped and ran at his own expense, in the garden behind the Botanic Museum in Free School Lane. During the 1880s, the kernel of a Department of Mechanism emerged here with the appointment of a workshop superintendent and demonstrators. The workshop buildings were enhanced and significantly expanded in 1891, 1893 and 1901. In 1921, the Department left Free School Lane for new premises (which became known as the Inglis Building) fronting on Coe Fen, built on three acres of land surrounding Scroope House. The site was subsequently filled with extensions and new buildings, of which the most significant was the Baker Building, erected 1946-52. Since the 1960s, parts of the Department have moved out to premises on Mill Lane, Madingley Road and the Science Park. For further background information, see T.J.N. Hilken, Engineering at Cambridge University 1783-1965 (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1967).
15 linear metre(s) : paper, photograph, audio tape
Language of Materials