Catalogue description Department of Scientific and Industrial Research: Building Research Station: Correspondence and Papers

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Details of DSIR 4
Reference: DSIR 4
Title: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research: Building Research Station: Correspondence and Papers
Description:

These are mainly files of the Building Research Station. The series also includes minutes of the Building Research Station Steering Committee; files of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research relating to building research, a few files of the Chief Scientific Adviser's Division of the Ministry of Works and a history of the Building Research Station. The papers cover all the research and tests carried out at Garston Station and are in three series.

Subjects covered include acoustics and aircraft noise; air raid precautions; alternative materials and methods of construction; building design; condensation and damp penetration; fire resistance of materials and construction; heating and ventilation systems; pest infestation; lighting; war damage repair; testing of materials; the effect of vibration and wind pressure; east coast flood damage (1953), storm damage (1957 and 1962). Research involved all types of building and structures, including housing, public buildings, nuclear reactors, reservoirs, bridges, and construction overseas.

Date: 1889-1992
Arrangement:

The series is arranged by File Scheme:

First Scheme (pieces 1-193)

The First Scheme has two separate portions:

(a) The first portion (pieces 1-97) consists of a mixture of DSIR and Building Research Station files. The DSIR files are from several different series: the BRB and BR (which relate specifically to building research), and E (Establishment) series. The Building Research Station files come from the numerical series in the second portion of the First Scheme (see (b) below) and the BRS series (see Second Scheme), although files from both series are given a BRS coding as their 'former reference'. Pieces 16-24 are a set of meetings papers and minutes of the Building Research Board in unregistered Building Research Station file covers.

(b) The second portion (pieces 98-193) consists of a numerical series of Building Research Station files. A few files from this series are to be found in the first portion of this scheme (see (a) above).

Second Scheme (pieces 194-2759 and 2860-3357)

This series consists of Building Research Station files from a BRS file series, which succeeded the purely numerical series in the First Scheme. A few files from this series are included in the first portion of the First Scheme (see (a) above).

Third Scheme (pieces 2760-2859)

These are all Building Research Station files, with the exception of pieces 2760-2762 (which are files of the Chief Scientific Adviser's Division of the Ministry of Works). These apart, there are three separate file series in this scheme:

  • pieces 2763-2774: 'B' files which succeeded the BRS series in the Second Scheme;
  • pieces 2775-2822: 'D' files of the station's building Operations Research Unit;
  • pieces 2823-2859: 'FF' files relate to fire-fighting research.

Fourth Scheme (pieces 3358-)

These are all Building Research Station files. There are three separate file series in this scheme, together with a few BRS files from an earlier series (pieces 3470-3472 and 3487):

  • 'A': Advisory files;
  • 'D': Development files;
  • 'R': Research files.

Related material:

Other records of the Building Research Station can be found with the Division within AY

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Creator:

Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Building Research Station, 1921-1965

Department of the Environment, Building Research Establishment, 1972-1997

Department of the Environment, Building Research Station, 1970-1972

Ministry of Public Building and Works, Building Research Station, 1967-1970

Ministry of Technology, Building Research Station, 1965-1967

Physical description: 4204 file(s)
Access conditions: Open
Accruals: Series is accruing
Publication note:

Further information about the history and functions of the Building Research Station will be found in F M Lea, Science and Building (HMSO 1971).

Administrative / biographical background:

An organisation for building research had been proposed as early as 1917 when the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research appointed a Building Materials Research Committee to investigate the suitability of a number of building materials and methods of construction for use in new housing after the war. Within less than two years it became apparent that the number and difficulty of the problems, and the prospect of economies to be gained from effective attack upon them, were so great that a more ambitious plan was necessary. In 1921, the Building Research Station was established in Acton under the aegis of the department's Buildings Research (Materials and Construction) Research Board, later the Building Research Board. In 1925, it moved to Garston near Watford, Herts. The Station carried out research into all building materials and methods of construction with the aims of advancing efficiency and economy in building and allied branches of civil engineering.

The board appointed committees to bring advice and experience to bear on the work of the station in specialised fields: materials, structures, wood pressures, acoustics, heating and ventilation, fire resistance and fire grading of buildings, lighting and vision, urban planning and engineering services.The work of the station expanded and developed up to and after the Second World War: a Scottish Branch was established at Thorntonhall, near Glasgow in 1949; and a colonial liaison organisation established in 1948, became the station's Tropical Division in 1959.

In 1965 the Building Research Board was dissolved and the research station was transferred to the Ministry of Technology. In 1967 it passed to the Ministry of Public Building and Works, and in 1970 to the Department of the Environment. In January 1972 the station amalgamated with the Fire Research Station and the Forest Products Research Laboratory to form the Building Research Establishment of the Department of the Environment.

In 1982 the establishment was joined by the Civil Engineering Laboratory of the Property Services Agency which amalgamated with the Structural Integrity Division Building Research Establishment. In line with government policy, the Building Research Establishment formally became an executive agency in April 1990. Privatisation of the Building Research Establishment was announced in April 1996 and it was advertised for tender later that year. The Building Research Establishment management team was announced as the preferred purchaser in January 1997 and the privatisation was completed in March of that year.

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