Rare Books

The National Meteorological Archive holds a wealth of unique archival material and a large collection of rare books. Many of these are part of the Royal Meteorological Society archive which is preserved alongside the National Meteorological Archive collections.

We have texts by many of the most outstanding scientists and meteorologists of their times including the earliest item in our collection, a 12th Century illuminated manuscript. All aspects of meteorology are represented, from the earliest times - to the foundation of the Met Office in the mid nineteenth century - and beyond.

Philosophers and theologians have for many centuries been fascinated by the weather - indeed its origins as a science are found in ancient Greece. Aristotle's treatise 'Meteorologica' is the earliest known written work on atmospheric phenomena.

The medieval period also produced many important works by such pioneering minds as Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus. The impact of this work and others from the period played an important role in shaping a new approach to rational thinking which eventually led to the Renaissance - a period of sustained progress in artistic and scientific endeavour that transformed the view of our place in the universe and our ability to understand the world around us.

Many of the most significant developments in our knowledge of meteorological phenomena did not occur until the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. These advances were largely made possible by the dawn of instrumental meteorology. Further developments took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries leading to the foundation of the Met Office in 1854. 

These pages will introduce you to some of the highlights of our rare book collection.