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Neil Chambers

Research Fellow

School of Arts & Humanities

Staff Group(s)
English, Culture and Media


Dr Chambers is Executive Director of the Sir Joseph Banks Archive Project. His responsibilities are wide ranging and include project administration, project promotion, fundraising, editing and publishing, research enquiries, recruitment and training, and staff supervision. He oversees editorial work on the Banks correspondence and is currently based at Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Chambers undertook the move to Nottingham from the Natural History Museum, London, in November 2008 since when he has published eight volumes, various academic papers, as well as organized international conferences and is curating forthcoming museum exhibition events.

Career overview

Dr Chambers previously worked at the Natural History Museum in London.

Research areas

Dr Chambers research interests include:

  • Joseph Banks
  • James Cook
  • William Bligh
  • Matthew Finders
  • The Royal Navy
  • Empire
  • The Enlightenment
  • Science
  • Exploration
  • Travel
  • The British Museum
  • Collecting

Dr Chambers regularly assists students and scholars around world with their work in various disciplines related to late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century travel, science and empire.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD in the School of Arts and Humanities exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Graduate School.

External activity

Dr Chambers reviews for:

He referees for:

He is a fellow of:

Dr Chambers is special curator of a forthcoming exhibition of Endeavour voyage collections to be held in 2014 at the Collection (Lincoln Museum) for which a major HLF grant has been awarded.

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Chambers has successfully held grants from over 50 independent funders amounting to several hundred thousand pounds. Funders include the Royal Society of London, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Commission for the Royal Exhibition of 1851, the Pilgrim Trust and others.

Dr Chambers has curated an exhibition of Endeavour voyage collections based on the work of the naturalist Joseph Banks who accompanied James Cook on this historic mission into the Pacific. Held at the Collection (Lincoln Museum), the exhibition was opened by Sir David Attenborough in February 2014 and has received record numbers of visitors. The result of a large Heritage Lottery Fund grant which Dr Chambers helped to obtain, the exhibition draws on unique material held in a variety of London-based and other institutions with which he is connected, such as the Natural History Museum, the British Library, the British Museum, the Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Dr Chambers has organized and given keynote addresses at conferences at the National Maritime Museum, Lincoln University, the Collection (Lincoln), the Sir Joseph Banks Society and at other venues.


Selected publications

  • The Indian and Pacific Correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks, 1768–1820 (8 vols). Chambers N, 2008-2013, Pickering & Chatto.
  • The Scholarly Library and Collections of Knowledge of Sir Joseph Banks.  Chambers N and Joppien R in (eds) Taylor B and Mandlebrote G, Libraries within the Library, The Origin's of the British Library's Printed Collections, 2008, The British Library.
  • R.G.W. Anderson, Director of the British Museum, 1992–2002. Chambers N, Journal of the History of Collections, 2008, 20, 151–2.
  • The Scientific Letters of Sir Joseph Banks, 1765–1820 (6 vols). Chambers N, 2007, Pickering & Chatto.
  • Joseph Banks and the British Museum: The World of Collecting, 1770–1830. Chambers N, 2007, Pickering & Chatto.

See all of Neil Chambers's publications...

Press expertise

Dr Chambers' press experience includes:

  • The British, Nutopia research and programme advice, a seven-part series for Sky Atlantic, first screened September 2012
  • 'Discover the world book promotion' Nottingham Evening Post, 3 November 2009, with Riah Matthews, p.10
  • 'Kew: The Garden that changed the World' Screened interview for Dan Cruickshank on BBC2, April 2009
  • 'A Fitting Home for an Explorer' Nottingham Evening Post, 7 February 2009 with M. Greenwell, p.3. Also on BBC Radio Nottingham and a feature in the Nottingham Journal.
  • 'The Captain Bligh Conspiracy Revealed', documentary Channel 5, screened interview and research assistance, September 2007
  • 'Science at Sea', episode 1 Joseph Banks, 17 October 2003
  • 'Inventors Imperfect', on Sir Joseph Banks, hosted by Adam Hart–Davis, BBC Radio 4, September 2002