Archive Collection HL - Loebl (Herbert) Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Loebl (Herbert) Archive


  • 1939-2003 (Creation)

Level of description

Archive Collection

Extent and medium

24 boxes, (10 linear metres)

Context area

Name of creator

(1923 - 2013)

Biographical history

Herbert Loebl moved to the North East of England as a refugee from Nazi Germany and remained in the area for the rest of his life, becoming an important industrialist in the region and a major employer. Loebl specialised in the production of high-tech scientific equipment focussed mainly on the newly emerging medical laboratory analysis market. Loebl’s many products include the Microdensitometer used to visualise the properties of DNA, the Chromoscan for identifying chromosomal regions in genomic studies, the Magiscan method of image analysis, collaboration with the Ford Motor Co. to produce the “Commuta” battery electric car, and one of the first analogue computers, the “Sunderland Computer”.

Loebl later became a pioneer of technology transfer, working with universities in the area on research. In 1973 he set up Enterprise North, which became the prototype for government support agencies for businesses around the country.

Loebl's engineering companies were particularly notable as major exporting enterprises. Joyce, Loebl & Co. exported 70% of its products and by 1967 5% of the freight handled at Newcastle airport came out of Joyce Loebl group factories. In 2011 Loebl founded the Herbert Loebl Export Academy at Newcastle University for the promotion of exports.

Herbert Loebl was widely decorated at home and abroad for his commitment to industrial development, and to the education of his employees. In 1967 the firm Joyce Loebl & Co received the Queen's Award for Industry. Herbert Loebl was awarded an OBE in 1973 for Services to Exports, the Citizen's Medal of the city of Bamberg in 1996, the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1997and the Bavarian Order of Merit in 2001. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by Newcastle University and in 2010, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the North East Business Executive.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of Herbert Loebl's business and personal records.

The business records contain group papers, sales and marketing files, finance files and general correspondence files for the following engineering and knowledge transfer enterprises with which Herbert Loebl was involved in his lifetime:

The collection also contains a number of annotated scrapbooks which trace the history of Loebl's engineering enterprises through photographs, newspaper cuttings and other ephemera.

Herbert Loebl's academic collection contains his early student notebooks from his degree studies in Electrical Engineering, and notes and source material for his subsequent doctoral thesis and Jewish history research. The collection also includes his certificates and various degree ceremony photographs.

Herbert Loebl received various awards during his lifetime and his personal collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and letters of congratulations regarding his many honours.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Material has been arranged according to the individual engineering and knowledge transfer enterprises with which Herbert Loebl was involved in his lifetime. Academic records and personal files follow.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing reproduction

Permission to make published use of any material from Newcastle University's Special Collections must be sought in writing from the Special Collections Librarian (email: and from the copyright owner if appropriate. The library will assist where possible with the identification of copyright owners, but the responsibility to obtain copyright clearance rests with the user.

Language of material

  • English

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Accession area