About Us

Library

"Preserving the Past, Informing the Future"

The National Meteorological Library and Archive (NMLA) work together as one team to deliver a service that is "open to everyone" serving both Met Office staff and the wider research community and general public.

We are based in Exeter, with the library located at the Met Office HQ and the archive based just five minutes away at Great Moor House where we share our archive repositories with Devon Heritage Centre. We are a national library and archive and are open to everyone with an interest in weather and climate.

Our History

  • The Met Office was founded 1854 as a small department in the Board of Trade under the leadership of Captain (later Vice-Admiral) Robert FitzRoy to advise on weather and marine currents to the marine community.
  • The library & archive started life as one collection that grew from the very beginnings of the office. Although today our collections are housed separately for good archival reasons they are close in proximity and remain very much a joint complementary collection supported by a close team.
  • The Library really emerged from the time of Robert Scott the second CE. A first mention of the Library was in 1870 when it contained 1200 volumes and pamphlets.
  • The early library was mentioned in an article from the 1981 issue of Meteorological Magazine entitled "Reminiscences of the Meteorological Office 1898-1910" where it describes "..the principal part of the library was located in the room of the head of the office Dr RH Scott....over the course of years the accession of books and bound volumes of observations had overflowed into other rooms and the increasing weight of several thousand of marine meteorological logs caused some of the floor joists to sag and it became necessary for iron girders to be put in to hold up the floors"
  • In 1910 to office moved from Victoria Street (which it outgrew) to Exhibition Road in South Kensington.
  • A decision taken at a meeting of the Meteorological Committee on 29 April 1914 saw the Met Office accept responsibility for the official custodianship of met related records - to house the charts, weather diaries, original weather records, ships logs and met logs from expeditions.
  • The 1958 Public Records Act made the Lord Chancellor responsible for the selection and preservation of important public records and in a letter dated 3 May 1962 he designated the Met Office at Bracknell as the official national Place of Deposit for meteorological records. For the first time the Library and Archive were held in separate locations (the library at HQ and the Archive at Eastern Road and then Scott Building).
  • In 2003 the Library relocated to Met Office HQ in Exeter and in 2005 the National Meteorological Archive was opened to the public at Great Moor House - a building we share with Devon Heritage Centre. We now benefit from purpose built archive repositories and in 2011/12 National Meteorological Archive along with Devon Records Office achieved National Archive approval as a record repository for the first time.

Our Mission and Policies

The NMLA follows a range of guiding principles when carrying out our activities.  These are described in a range of policies and related documents and follow guidance from The National Archives (TNA) and other related standards of good practice.

Last updated: 8 July 2016

    Share this: