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The Boulton and Watt Collection

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

The Boulton and Watt Collection is the archive of the steam engine partnership of Matthew Boulton and James Watt, dating from its formation in 1774 until the firm's closure in the 1890s. The archive comprises about 550 volumes of letters, books, order books and account books, approximately 29,000 engine drawings and upwards of 20,000 letters received from customers.

Boulton and Watt manufactured the screw engines for Brunel's Great Eastern and the archive includes a portfolio of 13 albumen prints by Robert Howlett documenting the construction of the Great Eastern, including a rare variant of the Brunel portrait of 1857.

Engraving of The Soho Manufactory

This archive and the associated James Watt Papers and Matthew Boulton Papers comprise an unparalleled resource for economic and scientific historians of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

For more information:


Central Library Photographic Collections
Heritage: Art: Boulton, Watt and Murdoch
Museums: Soho House
Archives of Soho: An Introduction