Print collection 

There are 15,000 books in our collection on the first floor. These are located next to the Southward Reading Room so find your favourite and make yourself comfortable! This collection includes marine natural history, exploration, climate change, analytical techniques and ID guides. Easy to follow shelf ends and a computer to browse the collection makes it easy to find what you are looking for. If we do not have it, we welcome book suggestions for complementary additions to our stock or alternatively we can request items as an Inter-Library Loan.


The NMBL also holds a unique collection of rare books including first editions and signed copies dating back to 1714. These are housed in a climate-monitored bookstore and are available to be viewed only with a member of library staff. A complete listing can all be found on our online catalogue.

Personal Libraries

We have a number of personal collections belonging to early prominent marine scientists at the MBA including E. T. Browne, Marie Lebour, George Parker Bidder, John Young and Ray Lankester.

Expedition Reports

The NMBL holds 147 expedition report series including the Challenger Reports, Beagle voyage and Prince Albert of Monaco investigating deep-sea, offshore, coastal and terrestrial environments, and in a variety of languages. These are available to be viewed only with a member of library staff.

Search the Catalogue 

Use our online catalogue to find the books you are looking for.


Take a look at our second-hand books, available in the library or online. 

Print journals

We have over 4,500 print journal titles, including complete original runs of Nature from 1869, housed across all three floors of the library. Our own classification system can be difficult to navigate but expert staff are always on hand to help you find what you need. 

Please note that we also have some material stored offsite therefore some items may not be available immediately (the online catalogue will indicate if this is the case). If you believe this is the case, please contact the library prior to your visit so we can ensure everything you require is accessible for your visit.

Electronic journals

Members have onsite access to thousands of the library's e-journal titles. Please check with a librarian for your access permissions as a MBA member or member of staff (staff can access remotely by following these log in instructions). A complete list of electronic titles that we subscribe to can be found here, or use the search bar opposite.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, we can request specific papers through Inter-Library Loan. Please note there is an additional charge for this service for members. 

Print Journals

Use our library catalogue to find print journal holdings.

Electronic Journals

Browse and access electronic journals.

The material in the Archives Collection reflects the history not only of the MBA, but also the origins and early history of British marine science. The collection includes: documents and records relating to the early history and development of the Association and its Laboratory, the research programmes, staff, visiting workers and membership, the buildings, ships, library, aquarium, journal, finance and administration, personal and scientific papers, letters, notebooks and documents, illustration and photographs.

For any enquiries, please contact

Marine Biological Association Director and Secretary

The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom was founded in 1884 and the Plymouth Laboratory opened in 1888. The Association and Laboratory are governed by a Council, and the first Honorary Secretary was Professor E. Ray Lankester. He was succeeded in 1890 by Professor G. Herbert Fowler, but the office of Honorary Secretary was abolished in 1902 when Dr E.J. Allen, Director of the Plymouth Laboratory, took over the duties of Secretary. Since that date the Plymouth Directors have also held the dual position of Secretary to the Association's Council. Institutional papers of the Director and Secretary's Office therefore include material relating to the Association, the Council and the Plymouth Laboratory. Although there is inevitable overlap within and between the files, the archives are arranged broadly in three groups: The Marine Biological Association, Council and the Director's Office.

The Marine Biological Association
  • [MB1] Documents relating to the foundation of the Marine Biological Association.

1883-1884: Letters, pamphlets, circulars and reports.

Summary: Includes "A proposal for the foundation of an observatory..."; material relating to the foundation meeting (31 March 1884); circular listing the committee and officers, and soliciting donations.

  • [MB2] Documents relating to the early history of the Association and the establishment and opening of the Plymouth Laboratory.

1883-1889: Letters, circulars, reports.

Summary: Includes Honorary Secretary's (E. Ray Lankester) correspondence and reports; letters from Bangor and Weymouth, and correspondence regarding the Plymouth site; memorabilia relating to the opening of the Plymouth Laboratory; reports of the 1st and 2nd annual general meetings.

  • [MB2.1] Honorary Secretary's (Sir Edwin Ray Lankester) correspondence, reports and memoranda.

1884-1888: Letters and reports.

Note: Lankester Pamphlets (a collection of volumes of reprints) is one of the MBA Library's special collections.

Summary: Includes letters from Anton Dohrn, Alexander Agassiz, John Murray, and from Mar/borough House confirming that the Prince of Wales would be Patron. Appeals for funds, and responses from Government bodies, City companies, and individuals; letters of support; memoranda and reports prepared for the MBA Council; evidence to Royal Commission on Trawling; correspondence with Home Office, Board of Trade, Scottish Fishery Board, Marine Fisheries Society, and Agent General for New Zealand.

  • [MB2.2] Documents relating to the early history of the Association.

1883-1889: Reports and documents.

Summary:​ Includes reports of 1st and 2nd annual general meetings (1885 and 1886); memorandum by Council members and others on the work of the proposed Fishery Department; financial statements and projections (1886-1891).

  • [MB2.3] Documents relating to the establishment and opening of the Plymouth Laboratory.

1884-1889: Letters, reports, memorabilia.

Summary: Includes correspondence from the Menai Society, Bangor, and Weymouth; letters from : Plymouth Municipal Offices, the Treasury, War Office and Royal Engineers; material from the opening of the Laboratory, and estimate from Spooners of Plymouth for the supply of furniture.

  • [MB3] Administrative material relating to the work of the Association.

1891-1912: Documents and letters.

Summary: Includes correspondence and reports of the Honorary Secretary (G.H. Fowler); Notice of the Situation of the Registered Office of the MBA (1893); Comparative tables of income and expenditure (1897-1899); Correspondence relating to annual grant from University of London (1910-1911); MBA bye-laws (1912).

  • [MB3.1] Honorary Secretary's (G. Herbert Fowler) correspondence and reports.

1891-1894: Letters and printed reports Summary: Includes report on oyster farming in the Yealm, prepared for Lord Revelstoke; evidence to House of Commons Select Committee on Sea Fisheries (1893); Comments to National Sea Fisheries , Protection Association on North Sea fisheries (1894).

  • [MB4] International Fishery Investigations.

1897 -1910: Letters, memoranda, reports and newspaper cuttings.

Note: The MBA undertook the English share of the investigations of the North Sea and English Channel, with government support, under the auspices of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

Summary: Includes correspondence and copies of correspondence with government departments; reports; three files of Walter Garstang's reports and correspondence, including material concerning the Lowestoft Laboratory.

  • [MB4.1] International Fishery Investigations.

1899-1910: Letters and reports.

Summary: Includes letter from E.J. Allen to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs regretting that the MBA had not been consulted (1899); meeting reports; reports on work carried out by the MBA, and requests for funds.

  • [MB4.2] Walter Garstang's documents concerning the International Fishery Investigations.

1897-1907: Letters, reports and newspapers cuttings.

Summary: Includes letters, reports and memoranda regarding the MBA's role in the International Investigations, with letters from John Murray, E. Ray Lankester, G. W. Balfour, MP, the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office; Garstang's attendance, as expert adviser, at meetings of the International Council; copies of letters to The Times and other newspapers regarding criticisms made by Noel Paton.

  • [MB5] Papers relating to government funding of the MBA, 1900-1910, with evidence presented to the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries.

1900-1910: Manuscripts and printed reports.

Summary: Includes letter from E. Ray Lankester to TG. Bowles, MP. (1900), with reply; applications to Treasury (1906 and 1909); report of the deputation to the Chancellor of the Exchequor (1906); appeal for funds (1909); evidence given to the Committee on Fishery Investigations (1907-1908).

  • [MB5.1] Evidence presented to the Parliamentary Committee on Fishery Investigations, 1907 -1908.

1907 -1908: Typescripts and printed draft Summary: Printed Draft of Evidence, with typescripts of the evidence of E. Ray Lankester, A.E. Shipley, J. Amery Travers, G.C. Bourne, E.J. Allen, G.H Fowler, DJ Matthews, HR. Mill, and outline of evidence of Walter Garstang. Committee Chairman was HJ. Tennant, MP.; report (Cmnd. 4268) (1908) is in the library [BT.1/P].

  • [MB6] Descriptive brochures and publicity material.

1890-1939: Booklets and leaflets.

Summary: Includes 1890, 1907, 1912, 1925, 1926 versions of "An account of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom"; leaflet on the Plymouth Laboratory (1922); Regulations for the working of the Laboratory (1935); descriptive leaflets (192-?) and with membership application form (1939); leaflet advertising the 2nd edition of Plymouth Marine Fauna (1931).

  • [MB7] Autograph letters from eminent scientists.

1840-1947: Letters.

Summary: Includes A. Alcock; C. Spence Bate; W. Bateson; W. M. Bayliss; R. Beddington; G. C. Bourne; E. T. Browne; F. Buckland; R. Collett; J. Couch; A. D. Darbyshire; F. Day: A.. Dohrn; M. Dunn; T. Eimer; H. Gadow; F. W. Gamble; A. Gunther; V. Heureu; E. W. L. Holt; T. H. Huxley; T. Johnson; S. Kent; E. R. Lankester; A. F. Marstoy; M. M. Martin; M. Mayer; E. Meyer; J. B. Poulton; C. T. Regan; T. Scott; A. Sedgwick; H. Steenstrup; J. A. Thompson; W. Turner; M. Weber; W. F. R. Weldon; G. S. West; A. C. Willis; W. Yarrell. Many of the earlier letters are addressed to J. T Cunningham.Council.

The Council
  • [MC] The Council

1884-1995 (ongoing): Letters, papers, manuscript and printed reports and notices Note: Council meetings normally held quarterly; with annual general meetings, and occasional special meetings. The office of Honorary Secretary was abolished in 1902, from which date the Director also acted as Secretary.

See Lankester’s Personal Papers and Director's Office [MD1.1] for other early Council material.

Summary: Includes minutes of Council, annual general and special meetings; agendas and reports to Council (including Director's reports); Director's Council files (1937-1974); notices to Council and to members, lists of officers, Council and scientific staff, lists of Governors, Founders and Members, and other printed material.

  • [MC1] MBA Council meeting documents.

1884-1995 (ongoing): Manuscript and printed reports and notices.

Note: Quarterly Council meetings, annual general and special meetings.

Summary: Includes original (signed) minutes of Council and Annual General meetings; Agendas and reports to Council (including Director's reports) (with duplicate sets); duplicated/printed Council minutes; Annual General Meeting notices; Notices of Special Meetings.

  • [MC1.1] MBA Council minute books.

1884-1995 (ongoing): Signed minutes, with enclosures and attached letters, with set of printed/duplicated copies for 1948-1995

Note: Minutes of quarterly meetings. Only available for consultation by special permission.

Summary: Bound volumes of signed minutes for the years: 1884-1886; 1886-1891; 1891-1901; 1901- 1907; 1907-1914; 1915-1924; 1925-1932; 1933-1940; 1941-1945; 1946-1949; 1949-1953; 1953-1958; 1958-1963; 1963-1967; 1968-1975; unbound volumes for 1976-1984; 1985-1988; 1989-1994.Printed/duplicated copies (bound) for 1948-1962; 1963-1974; 1975-1984, and unbound 1985-1995.

  • [MC1.2] Minutes of the MBA annual general meetings.

1884-1995 (ongoing): Volumes of signed minutes.

Summary: Bound volumes for the years: 1884-1912; 1913-1949; 1950-1968; 1969-1989; with unbound set for 1990-1995.

  • [MC1.3] MBA Council agendas and reports.

1895-1995 (ongoing): Bound volumes and sets of spare copies.

Summary: Bound volumes, including Director's reports, for: 1895-1903; 1904-1911; 1912-1928; 1929-1938; 1939-1949; 1950-1960; 1961-1974; 1975-1984; with 1985-1994 unbound. Spare sets, in bundlescovering 1895-1902 and 1935-1974. Spare copies of Director's reports in folders 1975-1981 and 1982-1985.

  • [MC1.4] MBA Council notices to members regarding meetings.

1927-1974: Leaflets.

Summary: Annual General Meeting notices: 1927 and 1941-1974. Notices of Special Meetings: April 1927; May 1927; October 1938.

  • [MC2] Director's Council documents.

1937-1974: Letters and reports.

Summary: Files for the years: 1937-1948; 1949-1953; 1954-1965; 1965-1974. Director's Council diary (1937). Director's annotated copies of MBA Council agendas and reports (1922-1940). Arrangements for lunch for retiring President - Carl Pantin (1966).

  • [MC2.1] Director's Council files.

1937-1948: Letters and reports.

  • [MC2.2] Director's Council files.

1949-1953: Letters and reports.

  • [MC2.3] Director's Council files.

1954-1965: Letters and reports.

  • [MC2.4] Director's Council diary.

1965-1974: Letters and reports.

  • [MC2.5] Council Diary

1937: Hardback "Scribbling diary".

  • [MC2.6] Director's annotated copies of Council agendas and reports.

1922-1940: Printed booklets and leaflets, and manuscript sheets.

  • [MC3] Printed material relating to MBA Council and members.

1884-1995: Reports and leaflets.

Summary: Includes Bye-laws (1884) (including list of Council members), and 1885; Memorandum and Articles of the Association (1927, 1945, 1971 and 1995); Lists of Governors, Founders and Members: 19 lists covering various years (1994-1974); Lists of Officers, Council and scientific staff (1947-1972); Reports of the Council (reprinted from JMBA) (1906/07, 1918, 1943/44, 1950/51); Annual accounts (reprinted from JMBA) (1982-1985); Appeal to members for donations towards the cost of a memorial monument to Prince Albert 1st of Monaco, with an account of the inauguration of the statue, and a photograph (added 1995); copies of a scroll sent by the Council to the Royal Society on the tercentenary of the Society (1960).

The Director's Office
  • [MD1] The early years. Science and administration 1888-1893.

1888-1893: Letters, notebooks and reports.

Note: Directors were G.C. Bourne, 1888-1890; W.L. Calderwood, 1890-1892, and E.J. Bles, 1893-1894.

Summary: Includes Directors' reports to Council, material relating to scientific work, and fishery reports of W. Roach (MBA Fisherman).

  • [MD 1.1] Director's reports to Council.

1888-1893: Manuscript reports.

Summary: Reports of G.C. Bourne (October 1888 to April 1890); G.H. Fowler (as Interim Director) (November 1890); W.L. Calderwood (January 1891-1893). Generally submitted monthly.

  • [MD 1.2] Early scientific work.

1889-1893: Letters, reports and record sheets.

Summary: Includes oyster culture, with letter from Luis Falero and apparatus specification; letters regarding the establishment of a marine pond for fish hatchery in Plymouth Sound; Record sheets of MBA survey of North Sea fishing grounds (/892-1893); letters regarding Sheerness Moat, mainly from W.H. Shrubsole; letters regarding the MBA trawling in Whitsand Bay; quotation from James White, Contractors to the Admiralty, for supply of So. machine.

  • [MD1.3] William Roach's reports to the Director on the trawler fishery in the Plymouth area.

1889-1893: Letters, notebook and record sheets.

Note: William Roach was the MBA Fisherman.

  • [MD2] Science and administration 1894-1919.

1894-1919: Letters and reports.

Note: Directors were E.J. Bles, 1892-1894, and E.J. Allen, 1895-1936.

Summary: Includes memorandum prepared by F.B. Stead (189-?) for Devon Sea Fisheries Committee; report on fishery statistics (1896); reports of visits to Plymouth and Lowestoft laboratories (1906); documents on the transportation of young fish to New Zealand; report of visit to various net manufacturers in Bridport (1914); investigations for S.A. Walton on treatment of wood to prevent gribble attack (1917-1918).

  • [MD2.1] F.B. Stead's Memorandum into the results of investigations into the contents of certain bays on the South coast of Devon.

189- ?: Booklet.

Note: Assistant Naturalist 1894-1897.

Summary: Submitted for the information of the sub-committee of enquiry appointed by the Devon Sea Fisheries Committee.

  • [MD2.2] Report on fishery statistics.

1896: 3 booklets.

Note: Prepared for the MBA Council by the MBA Naturalists.

Summary: Includes confidential proof of the version of the report to be presented by the MBA Council to the Board of Trade. with suggestions for improving the adequacy and accuracy of fishery statistics.

  • [MD2.3] S.S. Ariel: damage to MBA pipe in Plymouth Sound.

1896-1897: Letters.

Summary: S.S. Ariel was driven ashore causing damage to an MBA pipe. MBA claimed negligence; owners claimed that it was an Act of God.

  • [MD2.4] Reports of the Committees of Inspection of the Plymouth and Lowestoft laboratories.

1906: 2 leaflets.

Summary: The Plymouth committee consisted of H.R. Mill and G.C. Bourne; the Lowestoft committee was H.R. Mill, J.A. Travers, G.P. Bidder and E.J. Allen. One leaflet entitled "Work of the Lowestoft laboratory" reviews the history and current activities.

  • [MD2.5] Transportation of young fish to New Zealand: E.J. Allen papers.

1909-1913: Letters and reports.

Summary: Report by A.E. Hefford (1909) on experiments on the effect of low temperatures on turbot; correspondence with T. Anderton, Curator of Portobello Fish Hatchery, and the New Zealand High Commissioner, regarding successful shipments of lobsters, crabs and turbot to New Zealand; herring also sent, but did not survive.

  • [MD2.6] Visit to Bridport net manufacturers.

1914: 4 manuscript sheets.

Summary: Lists small meshed nets manufacturers, with descriptions of their machinery and products.

  • [MD2.7] Wood treatment tests for S.A. Walton: E.J. Allen correspondence.

1917-1918: Letters.

Note: 1 folder.

Summary: Correspondence and report concerning tests carried out regarding treatment of wood against crustacean borers (gribble).

  • [MD3] Science and administration 1920-1929.

1919-1929 Letters and reports.

Note: Director was E.J.Allen. Note that grants, gifts and bequests and Development Fund material is also for later years.

Summary: Includes agreement with British Film Institute, Elstree (1922-24); papers of the Interdepartmental Conference on Fishery Investigations (1924); correspondence with the Dominion of New Zealand London Office regarding the appointment of a fishery expert (1924); MBA Council guarantee to Zoological Record (1924-1925); supply of seawater samples for Professor F. Haber, Berlin (1924-1925); documents and correspondence regarding fishery research in Newfoundland (1929); documents relating to grants, gifts and bequests (1920-1976); Development Fund memoranda and reports (1919-1939).

  • [MD3.1] British Instructional Films: E.J. Allen correspondence.

1922-1924: Letters and agreement.

Summary: Correspondence and agreement with British Instructional Films Ltd, Elstree, regarding the production and sale of films on marine biology.

  • [MD3.2] Interdepartmental Conference on Fishery Investigations: E.J. Allen papers.

1924: Letters and reports.

Note: Meeting held at MAFF, London on 12 August 1924.

  • [MD3.3] Fishery expert for New Zealand: E.J. Allen papers.

1924: Letters and reports.

Summary: Correspondence with the Dominion of New Zealand London offices regarding selection and interview expenses for the appointment of a Fishery Expert for the New Zealand Marine Department. A.E. Hefford was appointed.

  • [MD3.4] Zoological Record: E.J. Allen correspondence.

1924-1925: Letters and reports.

Summary: Correspondence with the Zoological Record Association relating to the MBA Council guaranteeing any deficit on Zoological Record, 1924 and following volumes, to a maximum of 5 guineas.

  • [MD3.5] Seawater samples for Prof. F. Haber: E.J. Allen correspondence.

1924-1925: Letters.

Summary: Correspondence with Professor F. Haber of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut fur Physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie, Berlin, regarding the collection and supply of seawater samples.

  • [MD3.6] Newfoundland fishery research: E.J. Allen correspondence.

1929: Letters and reports.

Summary: Correspondence with the Empire Marketing Board, London, with documents relating to the need for fishery research in Newfoundland.

  • [MD3.7] Documents relating to grants, gifts and bequests.

1920-1976: Letters and reports.

Note: Additional material is in Finance Office records.

Summary: Includes British Association grant (1920-1921); Fishmongers Company grants (1922-1928);Rockefeller Foundation grants (1930 and 1937-1946), and $30,000 grant (1954-1963); Royal Society grants (1920-1937); Florence Buchanan legacy (1936-1938); Albert R. T. Momber bequest (1933-1954); Mrs T.H. Riches' gift of books, microscopes and apparatus (1935-1936); Wellcome Trust grant for electron microscope (1964-1966).

  • [MD3.8] British Association for the Advancement of Science grant.

1920-1921: Letters.

Summary: Grant of £200 to Special Fund

  • [MD3.9] Royal Society grants.

1920-1937: Letters and reports.

Summary: Includes regular grants, miscellaneous small grants, and Gore Fund grants.

  • [MD3.10] Florence Buchanan legacy.

1936-1938: Letters and reports.

Note: Dr Florence Buchanan (University College, London) was an MBA member.

Summary: The legacy of £150 for physiological apparatus was used towards the Constant Temperature Room, which was funded mainly by the Rockefeller Foundation. Allen and Kemp correspondence, with some letters from A. V. Hill.

  • [MD3.11] Albert R.T. Momber bequest.

1933-1954: Letters and legal documents.

Note: Albert Reginald Theodore Momber died in 1911. The MBA was one of a number of institutions and societies to have a share in the residuary estate.

Summary: Allen, Kemp and Russell correspondence with solicitors. The MBA received approximately £1100 in 1953-1954.

  • [MD3.12] Mrs T .H. Riches gift.

1934-1936: Letters.

Note: Thomas Henry Riches was a Founder Member of the MBA, and a visiting worker. He died in 1935.

Summary: E.J. Allen correspondence with Katherine A. Riches and with Professor P.A. Buxton, Honorary Secretary of the Freshwater Biological Association. Mrs Riches gave books and journals, microscopes and apparatus; similar gifts were made to the FBA.

  • [MD3.13] Fishmongers Company grants.

1922-1928: Letters and forms.

Summary: Grants to the MBA and Inland Revenue tax recovery documents.

  • [MD3.14] Rockefeller Foundation grants.

1930-1963: Correspondence and financial documents.

Summary: Grants (1930 and 1937-1946), and $30,000 grant (1954-1963). Includes some letters from A. V. Hill.

  • [MD3.15] Wellcome Trust grant for electron microscope.

1964-1966: Letters and accounts.

Summary: Grant of £17,750 for purchase of an electron microscope; £1,229 being used towards laboratory conversion.

  • [MD3.20] Development Fund memoranda and reports.

1919-1939: Letters and reports.

Summary: Treasury Development Fund, Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research, and Development Commission papers concerning financial support for the Plymouth Laboratory.

  • [MD3.21] Newspaper reports of MBA interest.

1923-1984: 3 parcels.

Summary: Collected mainly by Director, Director's Secretary, and D.P. Wilson.

  • [MD4] Science and administration, 1930-1949.

1930-1949: Letters, files, reports.

Note: Directors were E.J. Allen to 1936; S. W. Kemp 1936-1945: F.S. Russell 1945-1965.

Summary: Includes Lists of documents in the safe (1921, 1925, 1936); Challenger Society correspondence with E.J. Allen and F.S. Russell (1928-1951); Admiralty Hydrographic Department (1930-31); Carnegie Trust (1930); Antifouling and corrosion (1931-51); Zostera (research mainly by T.G. Tutin) (1933-37); Teredo (1934-35); Bahamas sponge investigations (1935-36); Mackerel Investigations (1935-48); Oil pollution (N.K. Adam) (1936); Letters from Lord Moyne to S. W. Kemp regarding cruise by J.S. Colman on Lord Moyne's yacht (1937); Mrs Sexton's Gammarus work (1937) with letters from Julian Huxley; Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee (1937-49); ICES (1938-42); Proposed Hong Kong fishery institute (1938-47); Indian fisheries (1939-48); Postcard to S. W. Kemp regarding the disappearance of Commander Carey from R.R.S. Discovery in 1933 (1939); Post-war Fisheries Regulation Committee (1940-41); Bermuda Biological Station (1940-46); Tests for British Celanese (1941-45); V.J. Chapman's survey of seaweeds of the British Isles (1942); Tests for Indian Jute Mills Association (1942); Proposed oceanographic expedition to SW British Isles (1943-47); Schueler plankton sampler (1946-47); F.R. Irvine's book on Gold Coast fisheries (1947); Advisory Committee on Foreign Seaweeds (Macrocystis) (1949-50); Correspondence from the 1940s, and memoranda on MBA post-war research programmes and requirements (1944-1949).

  • [MD4.1] Carnegie United Kingdom Trust: unsuccessful application by E.J. Allen for funds : for the library.

1930: Letters.

Summary: Application for £1,000 for publications, at the time of the appeal for funds for the new library building.

  • [MD4.2] Admiralty Hydrographic Department: E.J. Allen correspondence relating to the new ship "HMS Challenger".

1930-31: Letters.

  • [MD4.3] Anti fouling and corrosion: E.J. Allen and F.S. Russell correspondence and reports on tests undertaken and advice provided by the MBA.

1931-1951: Letters.

Summary: Includes Birmabright Ltd (1931-32); LMS Railway (/932 and 1934); Iron and Steel Institute (1932-36); HMS Vernon (1934); GW Railway (/937); Devonport Dockyard (1932-51).

  • [MD4.4 ] Zostera investigations: correspondence and reports.

1933-37 Letters and reports.

Note: Some additional material is in E.J. Browne's Zostera file.

Summary: T. Tutin was the investigator and financial records and his reports are included

  • [MD4.5] Marine wood borers: E.J. Allen correspondence with DSIR Forest Products Research Laboratory.

1934-35: Letters and reports.

Summary: Includes proposals for research into Teredo and other marine wood borers to be carried out by the MBA.

  • [MD4.6] Sponge fisheries in the Bahamas: E.J. Allen correspondence.

1935-36: Letters.

Summary: Correspondence with the Colonial Office, MAFF and others regarding the appointment of staff for sponge fisheries investigations in the Bahamas.

  • [MD4.7] Oil pollution: E.J. Allen correspondence.

1936 Letters.

Summary: N.K. Adam of the Chemistry Department of University College, London, carried out an investigation of oil pollution causey by discharges from ships, at the request of the Royal Society.

  • [MD4.8] Mackerel Investigations: correspondence and progress reports.

1936-48: Letters and reports.

Note: The MBA received a MAFF grant-in-aid for "directed" research.

Summary: Includes the appointment of the research assistant (Peter G. Corbin) in 1936, and correspondence with the ICES Mackerel Sub-Committee.

  • [MD4.9] E.W. Sexton's Gammarus work: S.W. Kemp correspondence.

1937: Letters.

Summary: Letters mainly to and from Julian Huxley regarding the mistaken impression that Mrs Sexton was to discontinue her work on Gammarus.

  • [MD4.10] Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee: S.W. Kemp and F.S. Russell correspondence and reports.

1937-49: Letters and reports.

Note: Kemp, followed by Russell, were members of the Committee.

Summary: Includes committee reports and background papers.

  • [MD4.11] International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES): S.W. Kemp correspondence.

1938-42: Letters and reports.

Summary: Includes letters and memoranda from A.C. Hardy and other scientists.

  • [MD4.12] Hong Kong fisheries: S.W. Kemp and F.S. Russell correspondence.

1938-47 Letters.

Summary: Material relating to the establishment of a fisheries research station and aquarium. Includes letters to and from Hong Kong Civil Affairs Staff, London, Hong Kong Development Secretariat, Hong Kong, and Geoffrey Herklots, Secretary for Development, Hong Kong.

  • [MD4.14] Marine Corrosion Sub-committee (Iron and Steel Industrial Research Council):reports and background papers.

1941-46: Letters and reports.

Note: A sub-committee of the Corrosion Committee of ISIRC.

Summary: Includes background papers by MBA staff (W.R.G. Atkins, H. W. Harvey and F.A. Stanbury).

  • [MD4.15] Indian fisheries: S.W. Kemp and F.S. Russell correspondence regarding the development of Indian fisheries and fisheries research.

1939-45: Letter and reports.

Summary: Correspondence with British and Indian government and state offices, and individuals, with comments on various reports.

  • [MD4.16] Interdepartmental Committee on the Post-war Regulation of Fisheries: S.W. Kemp correspondence and reports.

1940-41: Letters and reports.

  • [MD4.17] Bermuda Biological Station for Research: S.W. Kemp and F.S. Russell correspondence.

1940-46: Letters and reports.

Note: Related material is in the papers of the Royal Society Browne Research Fund

Summary: Correspondence, reports and memoranda relating to the Bermuda Station and the deliberations of the Bermuda Committee of the Royal Society.

  • [MD4.18] Seaweed Survey of the British Isles: S.W. Kemp correspondence relating to the survey undertaken by V.J. Chapman.

1941-42: Letters and reports.

Note: See also: papers of R.A. Richens (PR11); JMBA,26, 37-60, 1944 (Chapman, V.J.); and the book: Richens, R.H.; Fogg, G.E.; Lewin R.A. Strictly marginal. British Phycological Society, 1995 (BK.1/R).

Summary: Material relating to the Ministry of Supply contract for a seaweed survey, undertaken by V.J. Chapman with the assistance of G.E. Fogg, R.A. Lewin and R.H. Richens, mainly in relation to supplies for the production of calcium alginate by factories of Cefoil Ltd., of Oban.

  • [MD4.19] British Celanese tests: S.W. Kemp correspondence.

1941-45: Letters and reports.

Summary: Seawater immersion and biological tests of fabrics, cords and ropes, for British Celanese Ltd., London.

  • [MD4.20] Indian Jute Mills Association: S.W. Kemp correspondence.

1942: Letters.

Summary: Correspondence relating to tests carried out for the Sandbag Advisory Committee.

  • [MD4.21] The fishes and fisheries of the Gold Coast, by F.R. Irvine: S.W. Kemp correspondence relating to the printing and publication of the book.

1942-45: Letters and proofs.

Note: Irvine, F.R. The fishes and fisheries of the Gold Coast. xiv, 352p. London: Crown Agents for the Colonies, for the Government of the Gold Coast, 1947 (Printed by Cambridge University Press) "Dedicated gratefully to the memory of the late Dr Stanley Kemp, F.R.S."

  • [MD4.22] Proposed oceanographic expedition off south west Ireland: S.W. Kemp and F.S. Russell correspondence.

1943-47 Letters and reports.

Note: Related material IS in the Royal Society Browne Research Fund papers.

Summary: Includes memoranda and comments to F.S. Russell (as convenor) from N.A. Mackintosh, G.E.R. Deacon, R.B. Seymour Sewell, A.C. Hardy, and others.

  • [MD4.23] Correspondence and memoranda on post-war research programmes and requirements.

1944-1949: Letters and reports.

Summary: Includes papers by S. W. Kemp; L.H.N. Cooper; F.E. Fritsch; H. W. Harvey; O.D. Hunt; M Knight; M V. Lebour; F.S. Russell; A. Sand; D.P. Wilson.

  • [MD4.24] Plankton sampler from Fred Schueler: F.S. Russell correspondence.

1946-47 Letters.

Summary: The purchase and import of a plankton sampler from Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.

  • [MD4.25] Weather ships in the North Atlantic: F.S. Russell correspondence.

1946-1951: Letters and reports.

Summary: Correspondence with Meteorological Office, British marine scientists, ICES Plankton and Hydrographical Committees regarding the use of Weather Ships for the collection of oceanographic and plankton data.

  • [MD4.26] Advisory Council on Scientific Policy Committee on Foreign Seaweeds: F.S. Russell papers.

1949-50: Letters and reports.

Summary: Material relating particularly to concerns about the introduction of Macrocystis.

  • [MD4.27] Letters from Lord Moyne to S.W. Kemp regarding cruise by J.S. Colman on Lord Moyne's yacht.

1937: Letters and telegrams.

Note: Lord Moyne was a former MBA President.

  • [MD4.28] Challenger Society for the Promotion. of the Study of Oceanography: correspondence with E.J. Allen and F.S. Russell, and related documents.

1928-1955: Letters, meeting agendas and reports, circulars.

Note: Earlier material of a similar nature is in E.T. Browne papers. For Plymouth meetings 1954, 1961 and 1971 see MG3

Summary: Correspondence, with leaflets, reports and meetings documents.

  • [MD4.29] Postcard to Dr Kemp from D.(?)E. Davies regarding the disappearance of Commander Carey from R.R.S. Discovery in 1933.

1939: Postcard.

Summary: From Harscombe, Shaugh Prior, addressed to Dr Kemp, Discovery Committee. Colonial Office, London, and referring to a previous letter regarding the Board of Trade Inquiry into the circumstances attending the disappearance of Commander Carey.

  • [MD4.30] Correspondence from the 1940's.

1940-1945: Folders and letters.

Note: Additional material is in the Library archives.

Summary: Includes war damage (1941), valuation of the library (1941); receipts and payments balance sheets (1941); removal of the library to Hawkmoor; Laboratory cars (1941-1944), and proposed hostel (1944-1945).

  • [MD4.31] War damage, and letters of condolence.

1940-1941: Letters and reports.

  • [MD4.32] Receipts and payments balance sheets.

1941 Manuscript sheets.

  • [MD4.33] Library valuation, 1941.

1940-1941: Letters and lists

Note: Related material is in Library archives.

Summary: Valuation was undertaken by R.R. Trout of Store Street, London. Estimated value was £15,754.

  • [MD4.34] Removal of the library to Hawkmoor House.

1941-1944: Letters and legal documents.

Note: Additional material is in Library archives.

Summary: For safety from potential bomb damage, the library's books and journals were removed to Hawkmoor House, Tavistock.

  • [MD4.35] The Laboratory's cars in wartime.

1941-1946: Letters and forms.

Summary: Includes permits and issue of petrol coupons.

  • [MD4.36] Proposed laboratory hostel.

1944-1946: Letters.

Summary: The possibility of purchasing property in St. James' Terrace or Athenaeum Street.

  • [MD4.13] Lists of documents in the safe, and backfiled correspondence.

1921-1958: Loose-leaf book and 3 handwritten sheets.

Summary: Lists of leases, certificates, agreements, policies. List of papers in the deed box (1921); List of documents in safe (1925); List of documents in safe (1936). The loose-leaf book (1958) contains details of documents in the safes in the Director's office, with alphabetical lists of current and backfiled correspondence.

  • [MD5] E.T. Browne estate and bequests: S.W. Kemp and F.S. Russell correspondence.

1937-1946: Letters and documents.

Summary: S. W. Kemp was an executor.

  • [MD6] Science and administration 1950-1965.

1950-1966: Correspondence and reports.

Summary: Includes Memoranda on the work of the Plymouth Laboratory (1946-1964); F.S. Russell file of notices, descriptive leaflets and memoranda (1945-1964); letters of thanks from visitors to F.S. Russell (1945-1966).

  • [MD6.7] Letters of thanks from visitors to F .S. Russell.

1945-1966: Letters.

Summary: 351 letters, 1945-1959, in 2 envelopes; 189 letters, 1960-1966, in 1 envelope. Formal, informal and personal letters, with comments on research activities, people and institutions.

  • [MD6.8] Memoranda on the work of the Plymouth Laboratory, 1946-1964.

1950-1964: Letters and reports.

Summary: Five-year reviews and forward looks; F.S. Russell memorandum on scientific policy (1955); reports on need for a fast launch, electron microscopes, radioactive substances research, R. V. Sarsia, the work of the research ships, seawater circulation, aquarium improvements, and the proposal for a Natural Resources (sic) Research Council.

  • [MD6.9] Forms, notices, descriptive leaflets and memoranda.

1945-1964: Reports, leaflets, forms.

Note: F.S. Russell's file.

Summary: Includes Laboratory and Library regulations, meetings, social functions, microscopes, opening of the new aquarium (1959).

  • [MD7] Ray Lankester Fund correspondence and accounts.

1911-1990: Letters, financial statements and accounts, investment records.

Note: A trust fund to help support scientists wishing to work as visitors to Plymouth. Set up with the profits of the sale of the Huxley in 19/0, with a contribution from G.P. Bidder. Additional material for 1907-1950 in Bidder papers PDB7.

Summary: Includes letters to and from G.P. Bidder, James Gray, and others, with comments on investments and opinions on a range of MBA matters and personalities, together with Trust Deed, Deed of Variation (1948) and financial material from Coutts and others. Folders and envelopes cover 1911-1919, 1919, 19221934, 1942-1953, 1944-1950, 1953-1962, 1962-1974, 1974-1980; 1981-1987, 1988-1990.

  • [MD8] Science and administration 1965-1986.

1965-1986: Letters and reports.

Note: Temporary repository until additional material is transferred. Not available for general consultation.

Summary: Includes material relating to NERC Visiting Groups 1976, 1982 and 1986; Inswork Point (Millbrook/Tamar) proposed generating station Public Inquiry (1970-1971).

  • [MD8.2] Programme Review by NERC Visiting Group, December 1976.

1976-1977: Letters and reports.

Summary: Background papers, correspondence, report, and material concerning NERC Council meeting at the MBA (September 1977).

  • [MD8.3] Programme Review by NERC Visiting Group, December 1982.

1982: 1 box file and 1 parcel.

Summary: Background papers.

  • [MD8.4] Programme Review by NERC Visiting Group, December 1986.

1986: 2 volumes in 1 box file.

Summary: Background papers.

  • [MD8.6] Inswork Point (Millbrook/ Tamar) proposed generating station Public Inquiry.

1970-197:1 1 folder and 1 envelope.

Summary: MBA and IMER evidence submitted to the inquiry by Dr Molly Spooner, with background documents.

  • [MD9] Correspondence with H.M. Treasury.

1885-1965: Letters, reports and accounts.

Note: 1885-1929 in first box; 1930-1965 in second box.

Summary: Envelopes for 1885-1905, 1903-1905, 1903-1907 re International Fishery Investigations; files for 1903-1906, 1908-1910, 1911-1929, 1930-1936, 1936-1945, 1946-1956, 1956-1965.

  • [MD 10] Correspondence with Development Commission.

1910-1965: Letters, reports and accounts.

Note: 1910-1948 in first box; 1949-1965 in second box.

Summary: Files for 1919-1920 (with some 1910-1911 material), 1921-1922, 1923, 1924-1925, 1925-1926, 1926-1927, 1927-1928, 1928-1929, 1929-1930, 1930-1931, 1931-1932, 1932-1933, 1933-1934, 1934-1935, 1935-1936, 1936-1937, 1937, 1937-1944, 1944-1948, 1949-1951, 1952-1954, 1954-1956, 1956-1958, 1958-1959, 1959-1960, 1961-1963, 1963-1965; envelope of memoranda (1955-1956), and parcel of memoranda (1962-1963).

  • [MD11] Correspondence with Board (from 1920 Ministry) of Agriculture and Fisheries, from 1955 Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

1908-1965: Letters, reports and accounts.

Note: 1908-1929 in first box; 1930-1965 in second Summary: Files for 1908-1912, 1913-1914, 1915~1917, 1918-1919, 1920, 1921-J922, 1923, 1924-1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937-1945, 1946-1948, 1949-1953, 1953-1956, 1956-1961, 1961-1965.

  • [MD12] Royal Society correspondence and committees.

1937-1972: Letters and reports.

Summary: General correspondence, and committees attended by S. W. Kemp and F.S. Russell (1938-1949).

  • [MD12.1] Royal Society committees: S.W. Kemp and F.S. Russell correspondence and reports.

1937-49: Letters and reports.

Note: Kemp and Russell were active members of several Royal Society committees.

Summary: Includes reports and background papers of Publications Committee (1938); Biological Expeditions Committee (1937-39); Naval and Airborne Research Committees (1944-48); and Browne Research Fund Committee (1947-49).

  • [MD12.2] Royal Society Correspondence.

1938-1972: Letters, circulars and reports.

Summary: Files cover the years 1938-1956, 1956-1963 and 1964-1972. Includes grant applications.

Finance Office

Finance Office backfiled records include financial and legal documents; correspondence with MBA Treasurer; MBA investments; 40 leather bound financial ledgers; invoice and nominal ledgers; finance and establishment correspondence with NERC; staff records; salaries, wages and superannuation documents. Much of the earlier material originated in the Director's Office. Individual entries for Finance Office documents are not included in this Catalogue.

Bursar's Office

From the earliest days members of the scientific staff were assigned administrative duties, and between 1946 and 1962 a number of Plymouth scientists, including Dr H.G. Vevers, Dr N.A. Holme and Dr D.B. Carlisle, held the title of Bursar, the main duty being the care of visiting scientists. Although not formally appointed to the position until 1977, Dr J.B. Gilpin Brown acted as Bursar from 1973, being responsible for finance, buildings, the care of visiting workers and research seawater supplies, and worked virtually full time on these duties, with secretarial assistance, until his death in 1987.

  • [MG] Staff and visiting workers records.

1890-1970: Documents in folders, envelopes and 1 ledger.

Summary: Includes visiting workers on grants, and a book recording non-scientific staff(1890-1956).

  • [MG] MBA membership records.

1885-1939 3 leather bound ledgers

Summary: Ledgers arranged alphabetically under members' names.

  • [MG] MBA membership records.

1945-1975 Record sheets and cards

Summary: Includes deceased and resigned members.

  • [MG] Record of machinery, boats etc.

1912-c1940: 1 ledger.

Summary: Lists machinery, equipment, building maintenance, boats, and work carried out. More detailed in the earlier years.

  • [MG] Record of materials, nets, equipment and supplies issued to staff and visiting workers.

194-?-1955: 1 ledger.

Note: Probably maintained by Mr Roy Tozer and his predecessors.

  • [MG] Plans of the Laboratory.

192- -1994: 2 parcels

Note: Includes foreshore pump-house area.

  • [MG2] Buildings, extensions etc.

1911-1987: Files, envelopes and plans

Note: Earlier material originated in the Director's Office.

Summary: Boxes cover the years 1911-1951, 1949-1970, 1970-1987, with West Hoe proposed extension material (1967-1973) in the fourth box.

  • [MG2.1] Buildings, extensions etc.

1911-1951: Files, letters and plans Note: Most of the files originated in the Director's office.

Summary: Includes proposed extension, with plans, bills of quantities etc. (1919-1925); electrical installation (1920-1922); Easter Class room (1922); Pier Cellars agreement (1922) and erection of wall (1933); access to foreshore agreement (1928); War Department Land Agent agreements for extensions (1920-1930); Library (1930-1931); Director's house (1936-1938); Building Fund (1938-1940); War damage and insurance (1941-1947); postwar restoration of main building (1942-1951); Workshop extension (1948-1949); pumping and circulation arrangements, undated, labelled "Nelson's originals"; appeals for funds for extensions (1911, 1924, 1926, 1930), and for Laboratory extension and the purchase of a steamship for research (1920).

  • [MG2.2] Buildings, extensions etc., 1949-1970.

1949-1970: Files and plans.

Note: Many of the files originated in the Director's office.

Summary: Includes general files on maintenance and alterations 1949-1955, 1958-1961 and 19611968; East wing rebuilding (1949-1953); Isotope laboratory (1950-1952); Phoenix Wharf store (1952 and 1965-1967); extension plans (1957); correspondence with Nuffield Foundation, Isaac Wolfson Foundation and Wellcome Trust and others and applications for grants for Aquarium rebuilding (19581960) and Laboratory extension (1960-1965); Dogfish House and related work (1967-1970).

  • [MG2.3] Buildings, extensions etc., 1970-1987.

1970-1987: Letters and brochures.

Summary: Includes Library extension (1970-1975); seawater circulation system and equipment (1970; 1972); Glassblowing workshop (1977-1979); Foreshore pumphouse (1978-1982); Reservoir tank room (1979-1982); Electron microscope accommodation (1980-1982); boiler and seawater cooling systems (1983-1986); Cylinder store (1984-1987); Tracer suite (1986-1987); capital requirements (1986-1987).

  • [MG2.4] Buildings: West Hoe extension to the Laboratory.

1967-1973: Folders and plans.

Note: Files of the Director, Deputy Director, Bursar and G. T. Boalch. Additional documents relating to the Library are in Library papers.

Summary: Correspondence with NERC, architects (BDP - Building Design Partnership); architects plans; staff comments. The scheme was abandoned.

  • [MG3] Meetings, functions, collections and visits documents.

1926-1991: Letters and reports.

Note: Much of the material originated in the Director's Office. Additional material relating to Challenger Society, Development Commission, and SCOR Working Group, is in other files.

Summary: Correspondence, programmes, lists of attendeees and letters to and from participants. Includes visit of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1960); Development Commission visits (1961 and 1963); Society for Experimental Biology Plymouth conferences (1926, 1939 and 1962); Systematics Association and Challenger Society meeting on Speciation in the Sea (1961); Algal Culture meeting (1954); Challenger Society Plymouth meetings (1954 and 1971); International Congress of Zoology visit to Plymouth (1958); Physiological Society Plymouth meetings (1962 and 1968); Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) Working Group on Abstracts and Bibliographies of use in Marine Sciences (1963); International Botanical Congress excursion to Plymouth (1964); A.J. Smith (Laboratory Chief Assistant) retirement fund correspondence (1940); Sir William Bate Hardy Memorial tablet installation (1965); MBA Centenary (1984); European Marine Biology Symposium (1984); MBA Open Days (1991).

[MG3.3] Development Commission visit, 16 July 1963.

1963: Letters, programmes.

Summary: Programme, guest list, lunch menu, address by F.S. Russell, and letters of thanks. This marked the end of the Development Commission phase regarding financial support of the MBA.

  • [MG3.4] MBA Centenary celebrations mementos.

1984: 1 folder.

Summary: Includes exhibition catalogue, invitations, banquet menu, with signatures; papers; message from the Duke of Edinburgh.

  • [MG3.5] MBA Open Days, August 1991.

1991: Folders and leaflets.

  • [MG3.6] Nineteenth European Marine Biology Symposium, Plymouth 1984.

1984: Programmes, leaflets.

Summary: Includes catalogue of the exhibits at the MBA.

  • [MG4] Classes, workshops and courses held at the Laboratory.

1914-1992 Letters, documents, accounts, photographs and leaflets

Summary: Includes Easter Marine Biology Course, and material concerning other workshops and classes.

  • [MG4.1] Easter vacation classes.

1914-1968: Leaflets, accounts, photographs.

Summary: Includes lists of students, autographed photographs, accounts, correspondence, programmes, and rhyme sheets.

  • [MG4.2] Workshops, courses and classes (excluding Easter Class material).

19--?-1992: Leaflets, photograph.

Summary: Includes Advanced course in comparative physiology and experimental zoology, Experimental zoology, Workers' Educational Association (WEA), Marine physiology, Marine and estuarine chemistry, Cephalopod beaks, Microelectrode techniques.

  • [MG5] J.B. Gilpin-Brown's administrative files as Bursar.

1970-1987: Letters and circulars.

Note: Selected material retained after weeding.

Summary: Financial and administrative files, with NERC correspondence and circulars mainly covering 1977-1987. Includes appointments; contract cleaning; duties of the caretaker (/979); health and safety manual (/984); ships; vehicles; visitor costings.

  • [MG5.1] Duties of the caretaker.

1979: Typescript, 11 pages.

Note: R.G. (Bob) Maddock's copy.

  • [MG5.2] Health and safety: Policy statement and Laboratory safety manual.

1984: A4 booklet, 43 pages.

  • [MG6] Visiting workers and students records.

1890-1987: Ledgers, card index and lever-arch files.

Summary: 4 wooden card index boxes (1890-1941), with cards arranged alphabetically by visitor's name. 7 ledgers (1894-1979), with 4 volumes arranged chronologically, with visitor's names, affiliations, subjects of interest, dates; and 3 volumes with names arranged in alphabetical groups; some include staff names and addresses, and loose papers. 18 lever arch files of record sheets and cards (1973-1982) and 1 file of British Council sponsored visiting workers (1974-1987).

Data Manager

In the 1980s Dr L. Maddock assisted staff and visiting workers with computer analyses of their data, and was the Citadel Hill Laboratory staff's link with the NERC Computing Service. Before retiring she ensured that data sets specifically relating to the Plymouth area were reformatted and archived.

  • [MM1] Oceanographic, chemical, biological and climate data.

1659-1989: Data sheets, computer printout and PC discs.

Note: Deposited by Linda Maddock.

Summary: Includes Western English Channel and MBA sampling station data routinely collected by the former Chemistry and Botany Departments, including phytoplankton analysis by G. T. Boalch and D.S. Harbour; benthic and zoological data collected by N.A. Holme and A.J. Southward; climate data (including the pre-1845 material) extracted from various sources. Some of the data would have been reported to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Copenhagen, and to the British Oceanographic Data Centre, Bidston. Some of the PC files are in Excel, but many are comma-delimited files associated with Fortran programs which will download as unformatted text files.

Journal Editor's Office
  • [MJ1] Miscellaneous papers.

1937-1974:Letters and accounts.

Note: Additional annual files for 1960s and 1970s at Raglan Barracks store (house).

Summary: Includes accounts and associated correspondence with Cambridge University Press 1937-1968, with 1910 estimates for printing from Butler and Tanner (Frome), and 1937 letter from William Brendon and Son (Plymouth) regretting the termination of their printing contract; material relating to Medusae special volume of JMBA by P.L. Kramp, 1961, and the book Torrey Canyon pollution and marine life (ed J.E. Smith), 1968; material relating to JMBA, vol. 54, 1974, including returns and refusals, authors' correspondence, and correspondence with Cambridge University Press.

  • [MJ2] Medusae special volume of JMBA by P.L. Kramp.

1960: 1 folder.

Summary: Correspondence with author and with Cambridge University Press.

Published as Kramp, P.L. Synopsis of the Medusae of the world JMBA, 60, 1961.

  • [MJ3] Documents relating to the publication of the book Torrey Canyon pollution and marine life (J.E. Smith, editor, 1968).

1967-1974:Letters and reports.

Summary: Correspondence of J.E. Smith with the publishers, Cambridge University Press, with NERC and others; reviews and financial statements.

  • [ML1] Documents relating to the history of the Library.

1918-1986: Letters, record books and documents.

Note: A collection of miscellaneous material. Additional documents are in Director's Office archives.

Summary: Includes an original loan record board, a "Library catalogue" of books arranged in subject groups, compiled by Miss Stulpnagel (March 1918), with additional entries to c1930; material relating to the Hawkmoor House wartime store (1941-1945); memoranda on library reorganisation (1950-1960); librarian's papers on library extension (1970-1977); guides to the library (1976 and 1982), and lists of serial publications holdings (1948-1976).

  • [ML1.2] Lists of serial publications held in the library.

1948-1976: Typed, photocopied and printed booklets.

Summary: Lists produced in 1948, 1968, /969, 1971, with the 1976 union list of Serial Holdings of UK Marine and Freshwater Sciences Libraries.

  • [ML2] Library correspondence.

1930-1982: Letters and documents.

Note: Letters to the mid-1960s were almost all signed by the Director. Samples only retained of routine letters.

Summary: Includes material relating to publications acquired for the library by purchase, gift and exchange; Journal of the Marine Biological Association exchange agreements; answers to enquiries; links with other libraries; Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) cooperation. In 3 boxes: 1930-1945, 1946-1961 and 1963-1982.

  • [ML2.1] Journal of the Marine Biological Association library exchange correspondence.

1945-1967: Letters and circulars.

Summary: Includes samples of correspondence to exchange partners, Cambridge University Press, and sample material relating to exchange checks (i.e. questionnaires to each exchange partner) 1963/1964 and 1967.

  • [ML2.2] Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) documents.

1959-1982: Letters and reports.

Note: Since 1973 the MBA Library; on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), has been the national partner and main UK input centre for the international ASFA system.

Summary: Includes 1950s and 1960s material relating to potential cooperation with FAO; Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) relevant Working Group meetings, and early negotiations with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), NERC, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco (IOC), Information Retrieval Limited (IRL), and other national partners in the ASFA project.

  • [ML3] Accessions registers.

1891-1971: Ledgers.

Summary: Daily records of additions to the library, including journal issues and reprints, covering 1891-1897, 1898-1907, 1907-1914, 1914-1923, 1923-1931, 1931-1936, 1937-1944, 1945-1952, 1952-1959, 1959-1965, and 1965-1971. A few loose papers are in some of the volumes.

  • [ML4] Library accounts.

1926-1976: Folders and ledgers.

Summary: Folders cover 1926-1949, with ledgers for 1950-1960, 1960-1969, and 1969-1976.

  • [MA1] Miscellaneous documents.

19- ? -1995 Correspondence, brochures, leaflets.

Note: Additional material relating to aquarium rebuilding and reopening is in Director's and Bursar's Office papers.

Summary: Includes guides and advertising material; Aquarium re-opening (1946); new Aquarium (1959).

  • [MA1.1] Guides and advertising material.

19- ?-1995: Posters, booklets and leaflets.

Summary: Includes poster/hanging card advertising the Aquarium (5 copies); Guides to the Aquarium (1935, 1939, 1947, 1953, 1962, 1972); 2 leaflets from the 1990s.

  • [MA1.2] Aquarium re-opening, November 1946.

1946: Correspondence.

Summary: The aquarium was closed following bomb damage in 1941. Re-opened by Plymouth Lord Mayor, Isaac Foot. Invitations, acceptances, attendance list and other material relating to the ceremony.

  • [MA1.3] Opening of the new aquarium, June 1959.

1959: Correspondence.

Summary: Invitations, acceptances, guest lists and letters of thanks.

Ships Manager
  • [MS1] Papers on MBA ships.

1902-1982: Files, folders, plans.

Note: Includes some files transferred from Director's office. Photographs of the ships are in the photographic collection.

Summary: Includes Anton Dohrn, R. V. Frederick Russell, Gammarus, Huxley, Oithona, Sabella, Salpa, Sarsia, Sepia, Sula, and papers relating to operation and management.

  • [MS1.1] Oithona: documents relating to purchase, survey report, and sale.

1901-1922: Letters and reports.

Note: Replaced Busy Bee. Built Wallsend 1878; purchased 1901. Replaced by Salpa in 1921, and sold in 1922 to Musee Royal d'Histoire Naturelle de Belgique.

  • [MS1.3] Huxley (formerly Khedive): MBA charter agreement and mortgage documents.

1902-1907: Documents and letters.

Note: Chartered (1902), later mortgaged (1907) from G.P. Bidder; renamed Huxley and based at Lowestoft. Sold 1910. Additional material is in Bidder papers.

Summary: Includes letters from G.P. Bidder.

  • [MS1.4] Miscellaneous documents.

1921-1979: Letters and reports.

Summary: Includes documents relating to the Director being the Registered Manager of MBA vessels (1921-1948); F.s. Russell's notes and letters on ships (1945); G.R. Forster's Memorandum on the need for an additional fast research launch, with F.S. Russell's comments (1962); notes and letters on regulations and procedures; National Maritime Board disciplinary procedures agreement (1979); and newspaper cuttings.

  • [MS1.5] Anton Dohrn (sailing boat): notes on cost.

1903: 1 sheet.

Note: Built 1902, apparently replacing an earlier boat of the same name; replaced by Gammarus 1923.

  • [MS1.7] Gammarus (1923): specifications and correspondence with builder.

1923: Letters and plans.

Note: Built by Skentelbery's of Plymouth; replaced Anton Dohrn. Replaced by new Gammarus in 1970.

  • [MS1.8] Gammarus (1970): specifications, correspondence, and contract with the builders.

1969-1971: Documents and plans.

Note: Built by Skentelbery's of Plymouth; replaced 1923 Gammarus.

Summary: Includes material on the sale of the old Gammarus.

  • [MS1.10] Salpa (formerly Nadir): documents.

1920-1947: Letters and reports.

Note: Lowestoft drifter built in 1918 as Nadir. Purchased in 1921 and renamed Salpa; replaced Oithona. Sold in 1946.

Summary: Material relating to purchase, operation, surveys, refits, alterations, equipment, wartime requisition, and sale.

  • [MS1.15] Sabella: documents.

1945-1953 : Letters, reports, plans.

Note: Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV) chartered from the Admiralty from 1946. Built at Wivenhoe, Essex. Registered as Research Vessel (RV) Sabella in May 1946. Returned to Admiralty 1953, when Sarsia became available.

Summary: Includes 3 files of correspondence (1945-1953), cruise notes (1947-1950), and estimates (1952-1953).

  • [MS 1.17] Sula: documents.

1948-1966: Letters, reports, plans.

Note: Purchased as a half-completed Admiralty Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV), and completed by Sittingbourne Shipbuilding Company. Arrived Plymouth June 1948. Sold December 1973. Replaced by Squilla.

Summary: Includes Lloyds Register of Shipping Certificates.

  • [MS1.19] Squilla: documents relating to the design and construction of a vessel to replace Sula.

1967-1971: Letters and reports.

Note: Replaced Sula, September 1973.

  • [MS 1.21] Sepia: proposed specification, and tonnage certificate.

1964-1968: Report, plans and certificate.

Note: Launched 1967.

Summary: Tonnage certificate is dated 1968.

  • [MS2] Sarsia: correspondence, plans, deck logs and cruise reports.

1952-1979: Letters, plans, reports.

Note: Research Vessel built by Philip and Son of Dartmouth; launched April 1953. Replaced by R. V. Frederick Russell in 1981.

  • [MS3] R. V. Frederick Russell: correspondence, plans and meetings reports.

1976-1982: Letters, reports, plans.

Note: Replaced Sarsia in 1981; converted from the fishing vessel Gravignez, built in 1974 in St. Malo, France. A NERC vessel shared with other users.

Summary: Includes MBA/ NERC requirements; consultant's study report; specifications for conversion; trials; plans; equipment.

  • [MS5] Fish and and fish sampling records.

1890-1939: Letters, data sheets, log books, notes.

Note: Much of the material was recovered from the room of A.D. (Tony) Mattacola.

Summary: Includes records for Plymouth, Newlyn, Grimsby and Lowestoft (1890-1915 and 1919-1926); Herring investigations (1930-1936), and Mackerel investigations (1930-1939).

  • [MS5.1] Fish and fish sampling records.

1887-1915: Letters, data, log books and notes.

Summary: Includes 7 notebooks (1887-1899) with anchovy, herring, pilchard, aquarium and laboratory notes, 1 marked W. L. Calderwood, with loose papers and letters to J. T. Cunningham and W. Garstang; "Busy Bee" and "Thistle" details of hauls, and returns offish landed (1891-1897); F.B. Stead trawling results (1895-1896); 2 log and cruise diaries of S.D. Turkin (?) (1913); envelope of letters from F.M Gossen (Newlyn) to J.H. Orton (1914); RS. Clark correspondence with Professor E. Ehrenbaum, Hamburg (1912-1914); R.S. Clark correspondence duplicate book (1914), and notes on mackerel cruises (1914); notes and correspondence (1913-1914); catch and landing records (1913); 2 folders "Orton's race work" and "Researches on races of herring" (1914- 1915).

  • [MS5.2] Fish and fish sampling records.

1919-1929 Letters, data, log books and notes.

Summary: Includes quay notes and herring log books; E. Ford's dogfish records and notes (1920-1921), and herring records and notes (1924-1925); R.S. Clark's 1921 log book, and file labelled "Pilchards" (1922-1924) with letters from George H. Fox, Howard Dunn and J.R. Lumby; folders and envelopes of data, correspondence and notes.

  • [MS5.5] Herring investigations.

1930-1936: Letters, data, log books and notes Summary: Includes meeting of herring experts at Lowestoft (October 1930)'1 convened by E.S. Russell; herring rearing experiments (1931-/933); data (1932-1934); data and correspondence (1936); Lissner and Ford log book of samples (1934-1935).

  • [MS5.6] Mackerel investigations.

1930-1939: Data sheets Summary: Monthly record sheets.

  • [MS6] Lists of living specimens required.

1930-1947: Handwritten and typed sheets

Summary: Weekly lists of material requested by staff and visiting workers, with notes on locations to be sampled.

Specimens Supply Department
  • [MP1] Food and specimens records books and price lists.

1910-1975: 4 notebooks and 1 envelope.

Summary: Lists of specimens supplied, with prices. Covering 1943-1949; 1950-1953; 1954-1965; 1966-1975. Price lists 1910, 1920, 1926, 1939, 1947, 1954.

Did you know‽

Material in the archive contributed the MBA becoming Guinness World Record holders for the oldest message in a bottle!

Reproductions and Permissions

A herbarium containing hundreds of species from around the world can be found on the ground floor of the library. To protect the pressed seaweeds inside, it is kept locked and in darkness. The collection is managed by Gerald Boalch. If you would like to learn more about the contents please take a look at the information below or if you require a tour on your visit, please contact us.

National Collections 

Take a look at some of the other national herbariums.

The MBA Object Collection comprises over 100 science related artefacts. They have all been used, some even designed and built, at the Marine Biological Association. The collection provides a fascinating insight into the advancement of marine biology during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is on display in the library as well as the MBA Common Room.

Thanks to all our volunteers who have worked hard to clean, restore, repair and display these objects. Future exhibitions are currently being developed. If you have any information on the objects listed below (only a part of the collection), or would like to know more, please get in touch at

Spirit Preserved Marine Collection

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery's collection of wet preserved, or 'pickled', specimens originating from the Marine Biological Association (MBA)

Visit other historical marine collections

Using MBA images

Unless used under a copyright exception or licensed under a Creative Commons licence, anyone wishing to use an image owned by the MBA must submit a formal request and agree to the MBA’s terms of use. Users must also clear any copyright in the original material if this is necessary for publication or use.

The MBA will not usually charge for permission to publish images for use in not-for-profit publications. Fees for using MBA images in any format in for-profit publications or broadcasts will be negotiated based on how you want to use them. Please contact us for further information

Reproduction of material from the NMBL or MBA Archive Collection

The NMBL is able to provide reproductions of certain material from the NMBL and MBA Archive Collection under certain conditions. Please be aware that the NMBL does not necessarily hold the copyright on the items held in its collections and that responsibility lies with the researcher to obtain the appropriate permissions and conform to the laws of fair dealings, moral rights, copyright and intellectual property rights. The researcher is also responsible for the payment of any additional fees that may be demanded by the holder of the copyright for reproduction and/or use of material held at the NMBL. All reproductions of material from the NMBL and MBA Archive Collection are non-exclusive.

For personal use and research

When the NMBL can provide reproductions of material held in its collections, a request must be made by the researcher to NMBL staff by filing in a copyright declaration (form available on request). You will not be able to make further copies of the reproductions provided. Reproduction charges on request.

Please note that the NMBL will not provide digital copies for personal use.

For publication and commercial purposes

The NMBL can provide, under certain conditions, digital copies of material from the MBA Archive Collection to be used for publication and commercial purposes. Charges are available on request. For more information, please contact us:

Request permission for using MBA content

Information on British Copyright law