Collection K/PP62 - DANIELL, John Frederic (1790-1845)

Key Information

Reference code



DANIELL, John Frederic (1790-1845)


  • 1821-1990 (Creation)

Level of description



2 boxes (0.02 cubic metres)

Scope and content

The collection comprises correspondence, mainly concerning meteorological readings and Daniell's religious beliefs, lecture notebooks and printed pamphlets on meteorology and the battery, certificates of membership of learned societies, and obituaries and biographies of Daniell, 1821-1990. Notably including correspondence between Daniell and friends and colleagues such as Charles Babbage, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, University of Cambridge, Charles James Blomfield, Bishop of London, Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, engineer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet, Michael Faraday, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, chemist, John Frederic William Herschel, astronomer, James Clark Ross, polar navigator, principally concerning meteorology and meteorological instruments, the chemistry of batteries, the publication of Daniell's books and articles, the management of the Royal Society, London, Daniell's religious beliefs, 1821-1857; manuscript copies of lectures delivered by Daniell including at King's College London and the Military School of the East India Company, Addiscombe, Surrey, 1831-1845; printed articles and pamphlets by Daniell or reviews of his work, including On voltaic combinations (London, 1836), reviews of Meteorological essays and observations (London, 1823), 1823-1860; membership certificates of Daniell to various learned societies including National Institute for the Promotion of Science, Washington, US, 1839-1845; obituaries and biographies of Daniell, 1845-1990.

System of arrangement

The correspondence is arranged alphabetically, the remainder thematically and in chronological order.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born 1790; educated privately; worked at sugar refining business of relative, 1808; attended lectures at medical school in Windmill Street, London, delivered by William Thomas Brande, Professor of Chemistry, Royal Institution, 1812; elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, London, 1814, largely due to the support of patrons including Brande, George Pearson, physician, and Samuel Lysons, antiquary and vice-president of the Royal Society, but also for having established a reputation for meteorological experiments carried out at a laboratory in his father's house, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, and at which Daniell accumulated a substantial collection of rocks and minerals, [1812-1817]; geological tour of British Isles with Brande, 1815; with Brande, launched Journal of the Royal Institution , 1816; tour of France, Germany, Switzerland, 1816; meteorological observations commence, 1819; invented hygrometer, 1820; work on the atmosphere of hothouses, [1824]; collaboration with Michael Faraday, [1824-1845]; Director of Imperial Continental Gas Company including tour of France and Germany to promote gas lighting, 1825; helped establish Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 1827; resigned from Imperial Continental Gas Company to concentrate on researches, 1829; developed version of pyrometer, 1830; Professor of Chemistry, King's College London, 1831-1845; collaboration with William Hallowes Miller, Professor of Mineralogy, University of Cambridge, on spectra, [1833]; developed Daniell constant cell, 1835-1837; taught chemistry, Military School of the East India Company, Addiscombe, Surrey, 1835-1844; Copley Medal, Royal Society, 1836; member, committee of the Royal Society on behalf of the Admiralty to standardise meteorological observations throughout the British Empire, 1836; Foreign Secretary, Royal Society, 1839-1845; member, Admiralty commission on protecting ships from lightning, 1839; died 1845.

Publications: With William Thomas Brande, A descriptive catalogue of the British specimens deposited in the geological collection of the Royal Institution (London, 1816); On a new hygrometer (London, 1820); Meteorological essays and observations (London, 1823); Chemistry (London, 1829-1838); On voltaic combinations (London, 1836); An introduction to the study of chemical philosophy (London, 1839); On the spontaneous evolution of sulpheretted hydrogen in the waters of the western coast of Africa (London, 1841).

Archival history

The bulk of the papers were presented by a relative, Miss Daniell, with additional material presented by Canon G W Daniell, grandson, and Samuel Hunter Christie, mathematician.

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied from open material for research purposes only.

Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archives.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Finding aids

Collection level description online and due to be published in hard copy. Detailed catalogue available in hard copy in the College Archives reading room, King's College London.

Related materials

King's College London College Archives holds further references to Daniell in College in-correspondence (Ref: KA/IC), Council minutes (Ref: KA/C/M), photographs (Ref: K/PHOTO), College Calendars;

Related descriptions

Publication note

David Davies, 'John Frederic Daniell', in Chemistry in Britain , October 1990.

Alternative identifier(s)

Place access points

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Archivist's note

British Library OPAC; Dictionary of national biography; David Davies, 'John Frederic Daniell', in Chemistry in Britain, October 1990; Manuscript Life. Entry compiled by Geoff Browell.

Accession area