Reference numberWF
TitleThe Wolfson Foundation archive
CreatorWolfson Foundation
Date1955 - 1995
DescriptionThe Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity that awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health and disability, the arts and humanities and education. Their funds are generated through an endowment. Since their establishment in 1955, the Foundation have awarded over £800 million in grants (£1.7 billion in real terms), supporting over 10,000 projects.

The Foundation is made up of twelve trustees, a small staff team in London and a wider network of advisors and reviewers.

These records detail grants paid by the Wolfson Foundation on a case-by-case basis, listed by the institution or organisation who applied for the grant. The collection also contains some of the early administrative records of the Wolfson Foundation and correspondence from one of the four founder trustees, Lord Nathan. The collection dates from 1955 - 1980 although the Wolfson Foundation do update ongoing grants programmes with any new information. For further information please go to

A number of files in this collection relate to grants made by the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust, which is a sister trust to the Wolfson Foundation with the same administration and similar funding aims. There are also files relating to grants made jointly by both the Foundation and the Charitable Trust.

Grant applications are made under four programme areas: Science and Medicine; Arts and Humanities; Education; Health and Disability.

All of the files in this series contain succesful applications, and in some of the files, subsequent unsuccesful applications have also been filed.
Extentc. 2,600 files
ArrangementAs received from Wolfson archive - on deposit. Original file numbers retained where possible to ensure no confusion as possible between representatives of Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society when permission for access is given. As original file numbers have been retained, this has resulted in administrative records of the Wolfson Foundation which are not grants being catagolgued as WF/A, and there are also gaps in the numbering sequence where no grant file exists (or a file has not yet been transferred to the Society).

Some grants are joint awards from both the Wolfson Foundation (WF) and Wolfson Family Charitable Trust (WFCT). In some instances these will have two separate grant references but only one file; in these instances there is only only one catalogue entry, but both old grant reference numbers are listed in the PreviousNumbers field. Where joint award grants have two separate folders (one for the WF grant and another for the WFCT grant) these have been catalogued indvidually, with the description noting that the grant in question was jointly awarded.
Access statusClosed
Access conditionsPlease contact the Wolfson Foundation (0207 7323 5730) to request access to the files. For further information please go to
Administrative historyThese items are housed at the Royal Society on behalf of the Wolfson Foundation. The majority of the files were deposited in 2008 although material has been transferred direct from the Wolfson Foundation offices to the Royal Society since this date to add into existing files.

The Wolfson Foundation was established as a charity in 1955 by Lord Isaac Wolfson, Lady Edith Wolfson, Leonard (Lord Wolfson of Marylebone) and Lord Nathan. It is a grant giving body which supports projects in a variety of areas including science and medicine, health, education, arts and humanities. More information on both the history of the Wolfson Foundation and their current work is available at
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    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

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