Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Research at the National Archives

1 Visiting the Archives

The National Archives are at Kew in South West London and contain all the UK government archives, amounting to nearly 10 million documents. Anyone over 16 years of age can visit the N.A. and view the documents but you will need to register when you arrive. UK citizens would need to bring some form of ID (e.g. Driving licence or Passport). Once registered you are taken in a Group on an induction tour where they tell you how the N.A. is organised, how to search the catalogues, how to order documents etc. etc. in fact everything you need to know to get you started. At the end of the tour you are issued with a Readers Ticket which is valid for 3 years.

The staff are friendly, helpful and very efficient and are fully geared up to assist you in your research. Anyone contemplating a visit should visit which is the web site. Full details of opening hours etc are there and the full catalogue can be browsed online. You can also order documents online for a specific date of visit. You are only allowed to view 3 documents at a time but you can order more during your visit.

There are many terminals at the NA for browsing the catalogue - even terminals where you swipe your Readers Ticket to find out the status of your order - so you can check this whilst in the well appointed cafe having a sandwich and cup of coffee! Documents arrive within about 30 minutes of ordering - or are there waiting for you if you have pre-ordered online. You can also take in a laptop PC and use a digital camera although cameras have to be checked by the reprographics staff before you can use them. Also the reprographics people can copy just about anything for you for a modest fee.

2. Nevil Shute - related documents.

There are a series of Technical Histories for the DMWD and I give their piece numbers below. There is also material relating to both the R100 and R101 airships.

(The items in bold are directly related to NSN's work)

ADM 277/1 History of the department, a survey of its projects and a key to its technical history
ADM 277/2 Projected wire devices 1940-1945
ADM 277/3 Use of mercuric chemicals in anti-aircraft weapons
ADM 277/4 Plastic armour and protective plating
ADM 277/5 Camouflage
ADM 277/6 Acoustic warning device
ADM 277/7 Diffusion time delay mechanism
ADM 277/8 Camouflage of water surface
ADM 277/9 Radar reflectors
ADM 277/10 Target illumination
ADM 277/11 Gliders
ADM 277/12 Water hammer
ADM 277/13 Flame thrower
ADM 277/14 Shaped charge missiles
ADM 277/15 Radio remote control
ADM 277/16 Fresh water
ADM 277/17 Deceleration of parachuted stores
ADM 277/18 Float pier SWISS ROLL
ADM 277/19 Float incendiary gel
ADM 277/20 Cliff assault equipment and projection of stores
ADM 277/21 Land mine clearance
ADM 277/22 Wave abatement, bubble harbour
ADM 277/23 Ricocheting projectiles
ADM 277/24 Anti-submarine marker buoy
ADM 277/25 Floating breakwaters
ADM 277/26 Artificial harbours
ADM 277/27 Beach obstacle demolition
ADM 277/28 ASDIC beacon buoy
ADM 277/29 Projected line charges
ADM 277/30 Wreck dispersal
ADM 277/31 Anti-Gnat devices
ADM 277/32 Floating airfields
ADM 277/33 Canoe developments
ADM 277/34 Attack on bridges by mines
ADM 277/35 Kites and balloons in naval use
ADM 277/36 Towed lifeboat HIKER
ADM 277/37 Anti-submarine multi-spigot projector HEDGEHOG
ADM 277/38 Landing Craft Tank (Rocket) (LCT(R)) GRASSHOPPER

You need to quote the full piece number on your order e.g. ADM277/1. Final thought - allow plenty of time for your visit. You can lose track of time and get so absorbed in your reading that it's time to hand in your documents before you know it!

Happy researching!
John Anderson