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Royal Institution of Great Britain

Barlow, John (1799-1869)


Reference code(s): GB 0116 John Barlow Collection

Held at: Royal Institution of Great Britain

Title: Barlow, John (1799-1869)

Date(s): c1810-1875

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 2 boxes; 0.27 metres

Name of creator(s): Barlow, John, 1799-1869. Reverend. Secretary of the Royal Institution of Great Britain (1843-1860).


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Barlow was born the son of a parson in 1799. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge and took holy orders soon after. In 1822 he became curate of the Parish of Uckfield, Sussex; from 1830 to 1842 he was rector of Little Bowden, Northamptonshire. In 1824 he married Cecilia Anne Lam (c 1796-1868). He became a member of the Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI) in 1832 and a manager in 1838. In 1834 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. From 1837 to 1838 he was Secretary of the Zoological Society. In 1841 he succeeded Michael Faraday (1791-1867) as Secretary of the Lectures Committee at the RI. In 1843 he was elected Honorary Secretary of the RI, a position he held until 1860. In this role he made many far reaching administrative changes in the running of the RI. He gave lectures at the RI on the practical application of science. He published some of his research in The Discovery of the Vital Principle or Physiology of Man in 1838; he also published On Man's Power Over Himself to Prevent or Control Insanity, which highlighted the importance of moral management of the insane rather than the use of intimidation. In 1851 he became Minister of the Duke Street Chapel, London and from 1854 to 1859, he was Chaplain-in-Ordinary at Kensington Palace. He died in 1869.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Barlow include scrapbooks containing letters, newspaper cuttings, biographical notes, autographs, reports and photographs, c1750-1875 (JB1-JB2).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the scope and content field, though the final arrangement will be determined in a detailed catalogue of the Royal Institution of Great Britain collection, to be prepared.

Conditions governing access:

Access to bona fide researchers by appointment with the Keeper of the Collections or the Assistant Archivist, Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI).

Conditions governing reproduction:

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

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Card index at the RI.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Accumulated by the RI during the course of business.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Royal Institution of Great Britain holds a portrait, a bust and some photographs, of John Barlow.

Other papers of John Barlow are located at: Lambeth Palace Library (reference: MS 1379).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: card index at the RI, a detailed catalogue is to be prepared. Description compiled by Miss Ivone Martins, Assistant Archivist, RI.

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: April 2001

Science administration

Personal names
Barlow | John | 1798-1869 | Secretary of the Royal Institution of Great Britain

Corporate names
Royal Institution of Great Britain

London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe