Research support

To help you get the most out of our collections, we offer a comprehensive service to aid your research needs.

Carrying out research

The Archive catalogue will help you understand what kind of material we hold and you can search our catalogue to find exactly what you are looking for. Useful guidance on how to use the catalogue is also available, to make the most of your research.

If, having searched, you would like to view an item, you can visit us. We are open by appointment: Mon, Wed-Fri 10am-4pm, at 1 Birdcage Walk, London. Please note, that we shall be closed for appointments from 7-28 August inclusive.

Alternatively, we are happy to answer general historical enquiries about the Institution and the development of mechanical engineering. We will advise you if more in-depth research, or a visit, is required.

Family history (past member) records can be searched online up to 1930 via Ancestry and are free to our members. After this date we can let you know if someone was a member and advise you about obtaining copies of their forms.


Image services

If you wish to publish any Image Library pictures you should contact the Mary Evans Picture Library, which also offers an on-demand service for gifts featuring our images. These images have been cleared for use, however we do operate a Take-down Policy and so if you believe that any of these images should not be available please refer to it; the Policy also applies to our Virtual Archive.

If you are visiting us you are allowed under UK Copyright Law to take images for personal research. We will talk you through this when you book your appointment. We can take images for you subject to suitability of the items and quantity (there is a charge for this service). If any images not in our Image Library are required for publication please contact us.


Visiting us? What to expect

We are located in the Institution’s Library at 1 Birdcage Walk, London. When visiting the library for your appointment, please report to Reception who will direct you to us. Once here you will be asked to read our user guidelines and sign in (we ask that unless you are a current Institution member you provide proof of name and address).

We always aim to have the materials requested waiting for you; some items may require us to assist you and there will always be a member of staff available to help you. We will let you have a few items at a time and we will swap items over once you are ready. If using your own camera, your sign-in form also acts as your declaration that these images are for personal research use (this is a UK legal requirement); unfortunately you cannot use a flash or professional equipment such as lighting rigs. 

Need some help?

To book an appointment or for help with research contact our Archive services team.