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Watkins Collection

A collection of books and other publications relating to stationary steam engines assembled by George Watkins (1904-1989), engineer and industrial archaeologist.

George Middleton Watkins spent most of his working life as a heating engineer and boilerman in Bristol but devoted his spare time to the study of stationary steam engines travelling extensively to locate and record them in factories, forges, collieries and pumping stations across the country. By 1965 his reputation as an expert on steam engines was such that he was appointed a research assistant at the Centre for the Study of the History of Technology in what was then Bristol College of Science and Technology and later became the University of Bath. In 1969 he was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the history of steam technology. The Newcomen Society made him an honorary member and the Association of Industrial Archaeology appointed him as an honorary vice-president.

The Watkins Collection comprises George Watkins' library created over a period of more than 40 years and donated to the University on his death in 1989. It represents a key resource for research relating to stationary steam engines and their uses. Watkins notebooks, working papers, negatives and photograph albums were gifted to the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and subsequently transferred to the National Monuments Record (Historic England) based in Swindon.

Size: Over 700 published works. 

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Items from the Watkins Collection may be consulted in the Library between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. You are strongly advised to make an appointment before you visit.

All enquiries should be directed to: Lizzie Richmond, University Archivist
The Library
University of Bath
Claverton Down
Bath BA2 7AY

E-mail: E.Richmond@bath.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 383464 (internal ext. 3464)