Library

The Royal Society Centre for History of Science provides a unique environment in which leading historians and world-class scientists come together to generate fresh insights into the history of science.

Reflecting telescope Reflecting telescope used by Sir Isaac Newton FRS (1642-1727).

The Society has been at the heart of modern science for 350 years. We now have a tremendous collection of books, archives, paintings, images and artefacts which are treasured by scholars worldwide.

  • Visitors: The Library and Archives are open to researchers and members of the public free of charge.
  • Collections: The Society's extensive collections can be searched online.
  • Research: We work on several research programmes in collaboration with other research institutions.
  • Features: Highlights from the books, manuscripts, artefacts and illustrations in the collection
  • Blog: Our blog provides updates about our work and current activities.

The Royal Society publishes Notes & Records of the Royal Society, an international journal which publishes original research in the history of science, technology and medicine up to and including the 21st century.

The Society has maintained a library from its earliest years and appointed its first 'Library Keeper' in 1678. You can read more about the library's history in Marie Boas Hall's book The Library and Archives of the Royal Society 1660-1990 (PDF).

Library opening hours

Open 10am - 5pm Monday to Friday
(closed on bank holidays)

Find more information on visiting the library, access to journals and item retrieval on our Visitors page.

Our images

Picture Library - browse digital images of items from our collections

Print Shop - buy high-quality prints of images from our collections 

Events and exhibitions

We run a programme of regular events, conferences and exhibitions on the history of science for researchers and members of the public.

Audio recordings and video recordings are available for many of our events. 

An archive of some of our past exhibitions is also available.