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Royal Institution of Great Britain

Desch, Cecil Henry (1874-1958)


Reference code(s): GB 0116 Cecil Henry Desch Collection

Held at: Royal Institution of Great Britain

Title: Desch, Cecil Henry (1874-1958)

Date(s): 1884-1949

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 1 box.

Name of creator(s): Desch, Cecil Henry, 1874-1958. Metallurgist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Cecil Henry Desch was born the son of Henry Thomas Desch in 1874. He attended the Birkbeck School in Kingsland as a child, and later went to the Finsbury Technical College. He studied at Würzburg University and also at the University College London. In 1902-1907, he worked at the Metallurgical Department of Kings College, London. In 1909 he married Elison Ann Macadam and they had two children. He was a lecturer in Metallurgical Chemistry at the University of Glasgow from 1909 to 1918. He then became Professor of Metallurgy at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow from 1918 to 1920. He was Professor of Metallurgy at the University of Sheffield from 1920 to 1931 and Superintendent of the Metallurgy Department at the National Physical Laboratory from 1932 to 1939. He was President of the Faraday Society from 1926 to 1928. From 1931 to 1932, he was the George Fisher Baker Lecturer at Cornell University. In 1936 to 1938, 1942 to 1944, 1946 to 1948 and 1949 to 1950, he was a Manager at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI). He was also Vice-President at the RI in 1937 to 1938, 1942 to 1944, 1946 to 1948 and 1949 to 1950. He was President of the Institute of Metals from 1938 to 1940 and President of the Iron and Steel Institute from 1946 to 1948. He died in 1958.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Cecil Henry Desch consist of correspondence (CHD/1) to and from various recipients, including Henry Edward Armstrong, John Oliver Arnold, Henry Balfour, Herbert John Fleure, Henri Frankfort, John Vernon Harrison, Sir John Linton Myers and Harold John Edward Peake; mainly relating to geology, archaeology, metallurgy and honours.


Language/scripts of material: English. Some French and German.

System of arrangement:

The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author and subsequently chronologically under CHD1/A; CHD1/B; CHD1/C; CHD1/D; CHD1/E; CHD1/F; CHD1/G; CHD1/H; CHD1/I; CHD1/J; CHD1/L; CHD1/M; CHD1/O; CHD1/P; CHD1/R; CHD1/S; CHD1/T; CHD1/V; CHD1/W and CHD1/OTHER for unknown authors, arranged chronologically.

Conditions governing access:

Access to bona fide researchers by appointment with the Keeper of the Collections or the Assistant Archivist, Royal Institution.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Reproduction of material is permitted at the discretion of the Keeper of the Collections.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

The collection is catalogued on the CALM database catalogue at the Royal Institution.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

There are also references to Desch in the Managers Minutes (RI MS MM) for the period of his position as Manager and Vice-President (1937 to 1950) at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Other correspondence and papers of Cecil Henry Desch are located at: Sheffield University Library and the Science Museum Library (reference: MSS B.156-230; MSS E.100-926 Passim).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Compiled by Mrs Ivone Turnbull, Assistant Archivist, Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2002


Personal names
Armstrong | Henry Edward | 1848-1937 | chemist and educationist
Arnold | John Oliver | 1858-1939 | metallurgist
Balfour | Henry | 1863-1939 | anthropologist
Desch | Cecil Henry | 1874-1958 | metallurgist
Fleure | Herbert John | 1877-1969 | zoologist and geographer
Frankfort | Henri | 1897-1954 | archaeologist
Harrison | John Vernon | 1892-1972 | geologist
Myers | Sir | John Linton | 1869-1954 | Knight | historian and archaeologist
Peake | Harold John Edward | 1867-1946 | antiquary anthropologist

Corporate names
Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited
BP | British Petroleum x British Petroleum

Cambridge | Cambridgeshire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
France | Western Europe | Europe
Germany | Western Europe | Europe
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
USA | North America