British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS): archives
- British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS)
- Late 19th century-2018
- Archives and manuscripts
About this work
B - Local and affiliated groups: papers relating to the local and subject-based groups the constituted the BSSRS network, and other groups with links to BSSRS;
C - Associated groups: other groups not necessarily part of the core BSSRS network, but which were linked to or loosely affiliated with BSSRS;
D - Events and conferences: Papers relating to events and conferences organised by BSSRS, or to which BSSRS members contributed;
E - Subject files: papers relating to particular subjects but not necessarily directly relating to the activity of specific BSSRS groups:,
F - Publications by BSSRS: pamphlets, booklets and other items published by BSSRS;
G - Publications by others: publications from other sources that were collected by BSSRS members.
The British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS) was the centre of a 'radical science' movement in the 1970s, an influential movement among the scientific community and the general public. Formed out of a campaign in 1968 against university research on chemical and biological weapons, those who joined had a previous record of activism against nuclear weapons, through Scientists Against the Bomb, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, or in other left movements.
The organisation was primarily concerned with the misuse of science and technological innovation and the impact on the environment, both for the health of workers and wider society. Their focus on industrial health was to encourage people to identify hazards in their working and living environments and to take responsibility to improve these conditions thus minimising the impact on their health. They offered to provide workers with noise metres and samplers for dangerous gases and vapours to support this mission.
Some of the issues discussed include asbestos, noise and vibrations, carcinogenic materials, oil, solvents, shift-work, welding, dust, pollution and depletion of resources. They published informative booklets to raise awareness of these issues, a newsletter titled Newsheet and a bi-monthly magazine Science for People.
There was a National Committee and many groups either directly related, or satellites of the organisation. The National Committee established working groups on particular topics and there were many local groups which developed organically and pursued local campaigns and published newsletters. The most active of these groups were located in Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Sheffield.
The main building where the BSSRS was based in London was funded by Joseph Rowntree and housed many other 'radical' groups, which included the Radical Science Journal, to which members of the BSSRS played an active part.
The main aims of the society are;
Certain members of the society founded an archive group; collecting the materials created by the BSSRS and its associated groups.
Part of this description was taken from the BSSRS website and part was created by the archivist. More information can be found on the BSSRS website
The following collections are affiliated with the BSSRS;
Tim Lang (collection reference PP/TLA) catalogued and stored at the Wellcome Library
Alison MacFarlane and Radical Statistics (collection reference PP/AMF) stored at the Wellcome Library but currently uncatalogued
Dot Griffiths stored at the Science Museum but currently uncatalogued