|Description||Correspondence, 1902-36, between the 1851 Secretary and the National Physical Laboratory, mainly concerning invitations to the 1851 Board of Management to the Annual Inspection of the National Physical Laboratory and meeting with its Board. Enclosures (to 1902 letter from the NPL) include: 'Aims of the National Physical Laboratory' by R.T. Glazebrook (the Director); statement of work to be undertaken; Report of the Committee of the NPL; article on the founding of the NPL. Also, Report of the National Physical Laboratory, 1911|
The need in England for a physical laboratory in which 'problems bearing at once on science and industry might be solved' was first raised by Professor Lodge in 1891. The idea was again put forward by Sir Douglas Galton in 1895 in his address to the British Association in which he referred to work being done in Berlin by the Physikalisch- technische Reichsanstalt. A Treasury Committee was formed and, after interviewing witnesses, reported 'That a public institution should be founded for standardizing and verifying instruments, for testing materials, and for the determination of physical constants'.
The premises provided by the Government for the new laboratory was Bushy House at Teddington, originally the official residence of the Ranger of Bushy Park. The substantial house was altered for the laboratory's requirements and new buildings erected. The laboratory was officially opened in 1902 by the Prince of Wales.
In 1912 the 1851 Commission made a grant of £5,000 towards the cost of new buildings for the departments of metallurgy and optics and for the administrative staff of the laboratory, the balance to be provided by the Government and a private benefactor, because the objects of the laboratory were closely allied to those of the Commission.