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Vickers Ltd: Records

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Vickers

Scope and Contents

The collection contains papers relating to the company as a whole, especially high-level minutes and legal and accounting papers, but has less comprehensive coverage of manufacturing activities at the Works, both at home and abroad. The bulk of the collection covers the period 1870-1970, and includes records of Armstrong-Whitworth. The material includes papers, photographic prints, and negatives. There are several important series within the collection. These include papers relating to the Royal Commission on the Private Manufacture and Trading in Arms, which was set up by the government in 1935, and prompted the collection and analysis of detailed information on the company's trading in armaments. There are also quarterly reports, 1928-1962, submitted by each of the Works to Vickers House, detailing in standard form matters such as orders received in the quarter period, deliveries made, prospects for the next quarter, labour relations, numbers of employees and many other details, including the names of visitors. The collection also contains envelopes left by J.D. Scott after he had completed writing Vickers, a history in 1962. These papers, brought together from inside and outside the company, cover many aspects of its history. More recent history is covered by the firm's original files. There is a series concerning the nationalisation, de-nationalisation and then re-nationalisation of the English Steel Corporation Ltd between 1949 and 1967. The negotiations leading up to the aircraft merger and the formation of the British Aircraft Corporation Ltd in 1960 are also covered in these files, as is the acquisition of Roneo Ltd, Algraphy Ltd and R.W. Crabtree and Sons Ltd. In addition, the collection contains microfilms of certain Vickers material. These include correspondence, relating mainly to directors whose files have been destroyed. There is also a series of 35 films, containing the full company records of the Airship Guarantee Company Ltd, the Vickers subsidiary set up to build the Airship R100 at Howden between 1924 and 1929. The later, supplementary material includes correspondence, brochures, registers, manufacturers' drawings, maps, pamphlets, periodicals, plans, posters, programmes, reports and visitors books. There are also photographs and papers of Siegmund (or Sigmund) Loewe, who worked for both Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Vickers, and of his family, 1882-1914.


  • Creation: 1850 -1995 (approximate)


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


1 collection (4 cases Various media)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue of microfilms, cinefilm and negatives in the collection is not available at present. A hardcopy catalogue is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room and a computer database can be searched by Manuscripts staff on request.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Head Office of Vickers plc, Millbank, in 1985. Later deposits of supplementary material were made between 1991 and 1997.

Related Materials

The Works had their own collections of archives, the contents of which were mainly technical in nature. Surviving documents are now in the Tyne and Wear Archives Service, the Sheffield City Libraries, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum.


An important section of the collection is described in L.A. Ritchie, The shipbuilding industry: a guide to historical records (Manchester, 1992). J.D. Scott's Vickers: a history (London, 1963) draws heavily on the collection.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom