The National Science Centre

travel button

The 1994 Proposal


The Patrons

The Earl of Selborne
Chairman, House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology

Sir William Barlow
President, Royal Academy of Engineering

Dr Nancy Lane
Department of Zoology, Cambridge University

Prof Howard Newby
Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University

Prof Sir Colin Spedding
Past President, Institute of Biology

Prof Roger Williams
Vice-Chancellor of Reading University

The Supporters

The Centre

Time is measured from Greenwich. So are the coordinates of world navigation. British scientists gave us antibiotics and the double helix of dna; the greatest names of the scientific era studied in British institutes. Science is crucial for the young. Their games and pastimes are rooted in the products of science. Now, the communications super-highway is bringing us new ways to locate distant truths. Our lives are liberated through the work of scientists. Today, more than ever, we need to mark Britain’s place in the realm of science. The Science Centre will be a world leader in its field. It will be a show-case, not just for inventions, but for the magnificent achievements of science. The universe of facts will be channelled through the Science Centre.

Careers advice, new techniques, rare documents, recent findings and the latest news on revolutionary drugs will be available at the Science Centre offices. Demonstrations of current experiments, genetic and health data, astronomical findings and the latest papers will be the life-blood of this vital and exciting site. On-line connections and animated screens will bring the state of science to the forefront of our lives. As an educational resource the Science Centre will be unmatched. Every known journal will be listed; interrogation of laboratories will be possible; exhibits will constantly change as our perspectives alter. Advice on a garden pest, a genetic hazard, a new food additive or the latest supernova will be instantly available. So will patent support, with contacts bringing venture capitalists and innovators together.

Guest speakers will cover the realm of science in all its forms, and large-scale cinemas, three-dimensional displays, working models and animated presentations will make science come alive as never before. There are many regional centres which display our industrial and technological heritage, and hands-on museums which give young visitors a chance to try their skills. The latest details of every museum will be available at the Science Centre, along with the largest picture and video library ever assembled.

The Task

to promote science
to advance public understanding
to stimulate the imagination of the young
to facilitate the spread of knowledge



Target Groups


The Site

The first flights in the history of British aviation were at Aldershot in 1909. Nearby Farnborough has been the venue of one of the world’s greatest air-shows for decades. And it is at Farnborough, internationally famous for its historic airfield, that the great Science Centre is planned.

Provisional Plan of the proposed Science Centre site

The Cost / Benefit

The establishment of the Science Centre demands funding for the planning and construction. But it is then planned to finance itself, with current income balancing costs year by year. Industry will be a major source of input, for the Science Centre will demonstrate new products aand the latest technological developments. Our information bureau will provide addresses and contact telephone numbers for people with special needs - a computer hardware problem, a spare part for a domestic machine, or academic advice about new discoveries or patent provisions - and our public relations activity will attract on-going industrial support.

Capital costs (m)

Building 18.0 Planetarium 2.0
Film theatre 1.5 Offices 0.5
Hands-on exhibits 7.0 Restaurants 0.6
Teaching centre 1.0 Shop / bookstore 0.3
On-line centre 2.0 Car parks, garden 0.5
Computers etc 2.0 Launch 1.0
TOTAL 40.00

Running costs (m/a)

Staff x 150 3.0 Shows 1.0
Teaching courses 0.1 Marketing / PR 0.6
Publications 0.4 Shop 1.0
Restaurants 0.7 Insurance 0.1
Utilities 0.6 Exhibits R&D 1.5
Overheads 0.9 Capital fund 1.1 TOTAL 11.00

Revenue (m/a)

Visitors (500k) 4.5 Members (10k) 0.3
Publications 1.2 Shop 1.5
Restaurants 1.4 Facility rental 1.0
Courses 0.3 Cinema 1.4
Car Park 0.4 TOTAL 11.00


Brian J Ford, Member of Board of Directors

Click here for a personal view and later summary.