Welcome to the historical archives of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany. From within this you can download a copy of the historical archive handlist (a searchable PDF file) and find information on important people/events in the history of both NIAB and the Official Seed Testing Station. In addition, you will soon be able to read the personal accounts of some retired NIAB and OSTS employees who have not only written about their experiences but have also kindly agreed to have them published here.
As NIAB approaches its centenary year (2019) the Institute is engaging with a number of scholars from the University of Leeds Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, to explore its exceptionally rich archive material. There are any number of important questions that these documents are helping to answer; How, why and to what extent did genetics assume pre-eminence within British biology? To what extent have British scientists collaborated with and relied upon those around the world? What relationships have existed between scientific institutions and the state? How is scientific work organised, and to what extent does this effect its results? In what ways has the world of agriculture inspired or shaped the development of scientific theories and technical practices? These are just a few of the more important questions that NIAB’s historical archives are helping to answer.
One large part of this engagement has been the transformation of NIAB’s archive materials (which had been preserved through the work of NIAB employees Tricia Cullimore and Paul Thompson) into something more accessible to researchers. This part of the project was completed in October 2014, though the photographic archive remains in the process of description. Researchers can now scour the detailed hand list, downloadable from the ‘Archive Search’ page, before arriving at the Institute.
It should of course be stressed that the views expressed herein do not represent the views of NIAB.
If you have any comments and questions (about the archive project in general or this website in particular) please contact Dominic Berry:
ph09djb [at] leeds.ac.uk
For more about Dominic’s research please visit: http://leeds.academia.edu/DominicBerry
To learn more about the work of the University of Leeds Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/40006/centre_for_history_and_philosophy_of_science//