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Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine

PENNEY, William, Baron Penney of East Hendred (1909-1991)


Reference code(s): GB 0098 B/PENNEY

Held at: Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine

Title: PENNEY, William, Baron Penney of East Hendred (1909-1991)

Date(s): Created 1967-1991

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 1 box

Name of creator(s): Penney | William George | 1909-1991 | Baron Penney of East Hendred | nuclear scientist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, 1909; educated at Technical School, Sheerness; Royal College of Science, Imperial College (BSc); University of Wisconsin (MA), 1931-1933; Senior Student of 1851 Exhibition, Trinity College Cambridge, 1933-1936; PhD (Cambridge), DSc (London), 1935; Stokes Student of Pembroke College, 1936; Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Imperial College, 1936-1945; scientific work for Ministry of Home Security and Admiralty, 1940-1944; Principal Scientific Officer, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, at Los Alamos Laboratory, New Mexico, 1944-1945; Chief Superintendent, Armament Research, Ministry of Supply, 1946-1952; Fellow of the Royal Society, 1946; OBE, 1946; Knighted, 1952; Director, Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, 1953-1959; Member for Weapons R&D, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, 1954-1959; Treasurer, Royal Society, 1956-1960, Vice-President, 1957-1960; Member for Research, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, 1959-1961, Deputy Chairman, 1961-1964, Chairman, 1964-1967; Rumford Medal, Royal Society, 1966; created Baron Penney of East Hendred, Berkshire, 1967; Rector, Imperial College, 1967-1973; Director: Tube Investments, 1968-1979, Standard Telephones and Cables, 1971-1983; Glazebrook Medal and Prize, 1969; Kelvin Gold Medal, 1971; died, 1991.
Publications: include: The Quantum Theory of Valency (London, 1935); Accident at Windscale No 1 Pile on 10th October, 1957 [Report of the Committee of Inquiry. Chairman, Sir William Penney] (London, 1957); articles in scientific journals on theory of molecular structure.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Lord Penney, 1967-1991, comprising Royal Society memoirs, [1967-1968], including for John Douglas Cockcroft, (W Penney joint author) and transactions, 1970; addresses, lectures and some related correspondence, 1967-1973, delivered at various institutions and events, including memorial lectures, openings of buildings, dinners, services; correspondence with Sir Harold Hartley, [1968], retirement arrangements, 1972-1973; obituaries, 1991.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged as outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Researchers wishing to consult the Archives should first contact the College Archivist, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, for an appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction:

A photocopying service is available at the discretion of the Archivist. Photocopies are supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

A catalogue is available at the College Archives.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Accumulated by Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine during the course of business.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Records of the Governing Body (GB) and correspondence with Lord Jackson, 1967-1970 (B/JACKSON), held at Imperial College.

Correspondence with Sir James Chadwick, 1947-1966 (reference: CHAD IV 11/51), correspondence with Sir Edward Bullard, 1950-1966 (reference: BLRD), held at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge); correspondence with Lord Hinton, held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Library (reference: HIN).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; National Register of Archives. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: December 2000

Educational administrators | Educational personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Memoirs | Documents | Information sources
Speeches | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Primary documents

Personal names
Cockcroft | Sir | John Douglas | 1897-1967 | Knight | physicist
Hartley | Sir | Harold Brewer | 1878-1972 | Knight | chemical engineer
Penney | William George | 1909-1991 | 1st Baron Penney of East Hendred | nuclear scientist x Penney of East Hendred | 1st Baron

Corporate names