AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Anti-Locust Research Centre Archive

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0060 AL
Held at: Natural History Museum
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Anti-Locust Research Centre Archive
Date(s): c.1850-2002
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 15 series
Name of creator(s): Anti-Locust Research Centre
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Colonial Office of the UK government set up the Anti-Locust Research Centre as an independent research institute in 1945 because of the threat from locusts to overseas agriculture. Sir Boris Uvarov (1889-1970) was appointed as its first director. Uvarov pioneered modern locust studies and proposed the phase theory of locusts to explain the origin and disappearance of locust plagues. Formerly, Uvarov was head of a small locust research unit at the Imperial Institute of Entomology in London. International collaborations were successfully achieved through this unit's work and were then formalised at a series of international anti-locust conferences organised during the 1930's. It was these conferences that ultimately led to the formation of the Anti-Locust Research Centre (ALRC).

The ALRC's primary aims were the coordination on international research in acridology and international cooperation in locust control. From 1945 to 1970 the scientists at ALRC made great advances in operational tactics, application methods, survey techniques and locust biology, within the objectives of improved forecasting of locust activity and the effective control of this important migrant pest. Originally the ALRC was based at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington , before subsequent moves elsewhere in London.

The ALRC's remit was broadened to include more general aspects of both plant and animal protection, and pest management. With this expanded remit it became the Centre for Overseas Pest Research (COPR) in 1971. In 1983 COPR was amalgamated with the Tropical Products Institute (TPI, founded in 1958) to form the Tropical Development and Research Institute (TDRI), which was managed by the Overseas Development Administration of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 1988 TDRI was relocated to Chatham, where it merged with the Land Resources Development Centre (LDRC, founded in 1964) to form the Overseas Development Natural Resources Institute (ODNRI). The ODNRI became simply the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) in 1990. The NRI was transferred to the Univeristy of Greenwich in 1996.

Acridology is no longer a central focus of the NRI's work and now primary operational and survey responsibilities for coordinating locust forecasting and control have been transferred to the Locusts and Other Migratory Pests Group (which includes the Desert Locust Information Service, DLIS) of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), based in Rome.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Anti-Locust Research Centre, c 1850-2002, principally comprising: locust report forms, narrative reports, survey reports, control campaign reports; cables, letters, transcripts; organisation and committee papers; bulletins, abstracts, memoirs; indexes, registers, catalogues; field note books and records; synoptic meteorological and hydrological data and reports; photographs and slides; films and microfilms.

Key components of the archive are: the report forms, cable messages and supporting correspondence detailing records of locusts and locust activity, spanning over 100 years of sightings; the long runs of meteorological data used in conjunction with locust reports that enable forecasts of future locust activity to be made; the large collection of maps (estimated at 18,000 items) recording locust sightings and distributions, and meteorological data such as temperature, rainfall and humidity. The same locust event is often described in several different documents, and information taken from several reports combined with meteorological and habitat data is required to build up a complete picture of the original observation. The large collection of photographs and slides (an estimated combined total of 15,000 items) provides a valuable pictorial record of locust research and control, and of the people involved and places visited. The archive holds information on locust records spanning nearly 3,500 years. The earlier dates are from analyses of historical documents that contain records of locust plagues.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in 15 series.

Conditions governing access:

By appointment with the Archivist, by email to or by post to the Museum Archivist, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD.

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the Archivist's discretion. Photocopying service available. Digital photography (without flash) permitted for research purposes on completion of a photography permit form.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The Anti-Locust Research Centre Archive was formerly administered by the NRI at the University of Greenwich in Chatham.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred from the Natural Resources Institute to its current location in the Entomology Library of the Natural History Museum, London, in July 2005.

Allied Materials

Related material:

A collection of specimens of locusts and related species from the ALRC was transferred to the Entomology collections of the Natural History Museum, London, ahead of the archive.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry copied from Natural History Museum online catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

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:
Sep 2008

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"