fonds VI/CB - Charles Baker Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Charles Baker Archive


  • 1815-1961 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.15 cubic metres

8 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

(fl 1765-1959)

Administrative history

The firm of C Baker was established probably at 244 High Holborn in 1765. Charles Baker (1820-1894) was in business by 1851 and prospered on the sales of good-quality microscopes and accessories.

In 1894 Charles Baker died and several generations of the Curtis family then continued to run the business. From 1918 premises were taken in Balham, later named the Metron Works, until 1947 when the company relocated to Purley Way, Croydon, Surrey. The shop and office at 244, High Holborn were retained.

The business was acquired by Cooke, Troughton & Simms in 1959, together with the services of Francis Smith, internationally respected as an optical engineer, who brought a large collection of patent specifications to the combined company. The Holborn premises and business were left out of the acquisition and the business continued in new premises as Rekab Ltd in the hands of Michael Curties.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 1989.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Corporate records, 1861-1921; family and historical papers, 1898; financial records, 1897-1902; personnel records, 1961; manufacturing records, 1913-1965; sales records; marketing, 1902-1962; photographs.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The archives of T. Cooke & Sons; Troughton & Simms; Cooke, Troughton & Simms; and Vickers Instruments are also deposited at the Borthwick Institute.

Books from the Vickers Instruments library, including 17th, 18th and 19th century works on surveying, astronomy and microscopy, form part of the University of York's Special Collections. A catalogue can be viewed online:

The archive of Vickers Instruments' parent company Vickers Ltd, 1850-1970, is deposited at Cambridge University Library (Reference: GBR/0012/MS Vickers).

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997)

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 17.02.17.




Archivist's note

Description compiled by Alison Brech in 2003.

Accession area