Collection MS 283 - Meteorological Office Data

Identity area

Reference code

MS 283


Meteorological Office Data


  • 1865-1989 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2.24 linear metres

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

George K. Symons (1838-1900) was an English meteorologist originally employed by the meteorological department (founded 1854) of the Board of Trade, which was the forerunner of the Meteorological Office. When Symons left this position he and a group of volunteers began to carry out surveys into the particulars of rainfall patterns throughout Britain. This led to the publication of an annual rainfall survey, known as Symons's British Rainfall based on information recorded by observers around the country. By the time of his death data was being collected from over 3,000 sites. Upon his death the publication continued as British Rainfall under other editors. From 1919 the volumes were published by the Meteorological Office (by then a part of the Air Ministry). British Rainfall was discontinued following the publication of the volume for 1968. Thereafter separate volumes were produced with one detailing rainfall and the other detailing snowfall (which had previously been covered by a small section in British Rainfall). Ultimately, publication of all of the surveys was discontinued as a cost cutting measure. The Thunderstorm Census Organisation was founded by S. Morris Bower in 1924, but following his death it became a part of the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation in 1984.

Archival history

Deposited in the National Archives of Scotland by Scottish Water. Records unwanted by NAS so Scottish Water contacted Andrew Black (University of Dundee Georgraphy) who recommended to the Archives that we take them. NAS does have other Scottish Water records.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

(Symons's) British Rainfall, 1865-1968; General Tables of Total Rainfall from British Rainfall, 1928-1968; Monthly and annual totals of Rainfall for the United Kingdom, 1970-1971; Snow Survey of Great Britain, 1967-1989 (These Annual publications gave the official record of rainfalls in the UK - monthly for all sites, with further records of notable daily falls where warranted - and records of snow falls and snow lines on mountains around Britain. The last publication(s) and associated survey were abandoned as a cost-cutting measure in the early 1990s); and copies of Thunderstorm Survey (1970 & 1978) published by Thunderstorm Census Organisation.


Not expected

System of arrangement

Usually chronological within series.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act (2018), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, 2018) and any other relevant legislation or restrictions. Clinical information is closed for 100 years.

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges may be made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply; please check with the Duty Archivist.

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Some digitisation of the best of the rainfall data has been done in a national programme, but possibly less than 5% of the total will have been processed in this way. The University Library has the 1967 rainfall volume only and no copies of the snow data.

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Description control area

Description identifier

MS 283

Rules and/or conventions used

Description compiled in line with the following standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) General International Standard Archival Description; International Council on Archives, ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997



Dates of creation revision deletion


  • English



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