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Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine

JACKSON, Willis, Baron Jackson of Burnley (1904-1970)


Reference code(s): GB 0098 B/JACKSON

Held at: Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine

Title: JACKSON, Willis, Baron Jackson of Burnley (1904-1970)

Date(s): 1916-1970

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 56 boxes

Name of creator(s): Jackson | Willis | Baron Jackson of Burnley | 1904-1970 | electrical engineer


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born Burnley, Lancashire, 1904; educated Burnley Grammar School, 1916-1922; read electrical engineering at Manchester University, 1922-1925; lecturer in Electrical Engineering, Burnley Municipal College, 1925-1926, Bradford Technical College, 1926-1929; Graduate apprentice, Metropolitan-Vickers, 1929-1930; lecturer in Electrical Engineering, Manchester College of Technology, 1930-1933; postgraduate student at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1933-1936; DPhil, Oxford University, 1936; DSc, Manchester University, 1936; Research Engineer, Metropolitan-Vickers, 1936-1938; Professor of Electro-technics, Manchester University, 1936-1946; Professor of Electrical Engineering, Imperial College, London, 1946-1953; elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1953; member of the Royal Commission on the Civil Service, 1953; Director of Research and Education, Metropolitan Vickers, 1953-1961; knighted, 1958; Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Imperial College, 1961-1970; Pro-Rector of Imperial College, 1967-1970; life peer, 1967; devoted much time and energy to public service, especially on matters connected with education, science and technology in Britain and in developing countries, notably India and Africa; served on many official committees and advisory councils; died, 1970.
Jackson began to compile what he called his 'scrapbooks' in 1952 as a pastime on an Atlantic sea-crossing. Originally intended as a private record of social and personal engagements, the project developed into materials for a relatively complete autobiography, with annotations and 'chapter-headings' added by Jackson. He continued the work until his death, and also compiled a retrospective account from his schooldays onwards.
Publications: High Frequency Transmission Lines, etc (London, 1945); Advanced Courses in Electrical Engineering[London, 1950]; The Insulation of Electrical Equipment, Editor (Chapman & Hall, London, 1954); Scientific, Technological and Technical Manpower (University of Southampton, [Southampton], 1963); A Review of the scope and problems of scientific and technological manpower policy [Chairman, Professor Sir Willis Jackson] (Parliamentary Papers, London, 1965); Macdonald Trends and Developments in Engineering Series General editor (Macdonald, London, 1965-); Technology and the developing countries (London, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 1966).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Lord Willis Jackson, 1916-1970, comprising papers transferred from his office in Imperial College, namely personal and biographical papers, 1923- 1970, including student notebooks, [1923], visits abroad, 1961-1968, speeches and addresses, 1950-1970, family correspondence, Parliamentary correspondence, 1957-1970, photographs [1916]-1967, mainly of official events, laboratories and apparatus, Willis Jackson; papers relating to Associated Electrical Industries and Metropolitan-Vickers, 1951-1969, notably appointment as Director of Research and Education, 1953, correspondence and press cuttings, 1951-1969, engineering and staff courses, 1954-1959; papers relating to Imperial College, 1950-1969, notably lectures and speeches, 1950-1968, correspondence, 1953-1970, including with Professor Colin Cherry, 1950-1969, the Rector, Lord Penney, 1967-1970, papers concerning academic matters, 1955-1968, Committees, 1963-1969, societies and associations, 1950-1970, Electrical Engineering Department, 1964-1969; correspondence with Ministers, reports and papers relating to Government Departments, principally concerning committees and advisory councils, 1944-1970, notably the Admiralty (later Ministry of Defence), 1950-1968, Ministry of Education, 1954-1969, Ministry of Technology, 1965-1970, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1944-1965, Ministry of Overseas Development, 1965-1969, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (ORCD), 1961-1969, University Grants Committee, 1953-1969, Royal Commission on the Civil Service, 1953-1958, Delhi Institute of Technology, 1957-1970; correspondence, reports and committee papers relating to the Institution of Electrical Engineers, 1950-1968; correspondence, 1950-1970, notably with professional institutions and associations, such as the Association of Supervising Engineers, 1960-1968, Educational establishments, notably the University of London, 1953-1970, Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, 1951-1970, Sir Eric Ashby, 1959-1966, Bertram Vivian Bowden, 1958-1968, Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, 1957-1969, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1961-1969, Sir John Douglas Cockcroft, 1953-1964, Dennis Gabor, 1951-1969, Sir Harold Hartley, 1961-1968, Eric Balliol Moullin, 1953-1958, Kathleen Mary Ollerenshaw, 1958-1964, John Arthur Saxton, 1960-1967, Joseph Sidney Weiner, 1967-1968.

autobiographical scrapbooks, 1916-1970, from Lady Jackson, comprising 91 loose-leaf binders compiled from 1952, containing heterogeneous papers, including photographs, biographical material such as letters of appointment, comments and narratives, manuscript and published texts of lectures and speeches, press cuttings, social correspondence, travel schedules and reports on visits.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

There are two groups of papers (acquired from Lady Jackson and from Imperial College) which have been listed, and therefore arranged, separately. The papers presented by Lady Jackson and listed by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists are not sectionalised. The papers transferred from Lord Jackson's Imperial College office were rearranged from the order they were received into sections as outlined in the scope and content. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Conditions governing access:

Some papers in the collection are closed. 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:

Two catalogues are available in the reading room of the College Archives (CSAC catalogue no 28/5/75).


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Lady Jackson, widow, presented some of Lord Jacksons' papers to the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, University of Bath, in 1973.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Lord Jackson was Pro-Rector of Imperial College at the time of his death in 1970, and his professional and working correspondence and some personal material from his office were transferred to the College Archives. A second group of papers from Lady Jackson were transferred from the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, University of Bath, to the College Archives after 1973.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Records of the Governing Body (GB), Department of Electrical Engineering (KEE) and papers of Dennis Gabor (B/GABOR), held at Imperial College.

Correspondence with Stanley Gill, 1965-1969, held at the Science Museum Library.

Publication note:

Memoir by Dennis Gabor and J Brown, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society vol 17, 1971



Archivist's note: Sources: Partially based on the guide compiled by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists; 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: October 2000

Educational administrators | Educational personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Engineering education | Higher science education
Engineers | Scientists | Scientific personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Government departments | Central government | Public administration | Government
Photographs | Visual materials
Politicians | Political leadership | Internal politics
Scientific organizations | Science administration
Speeches | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Educational policy
Electrical engineering
Engineering personnel
Technical education

Personal names
Ashby | Eric | 1904-1992 | Baron Ashby | botanist x Ashby | Baron
Blackett | Patrick Maynard Stuart | 1897-1974 | Baron Blackett of Chelsea | physicist
Bowden | Bertram Vivian | 1910-1989 | Baron Bowden | technologist
Cherry | Edward Colin | 1914-1979 | Professor of Telecommunication
Cockcroft | Sir | John Douglas | 1897-1967 | Knight | physicist
Cullwick | Ernest Geoffrey | b 1903 | electrical engineer
Gabor | Dennis | 1900-1979 | physicist
Hartley | Sir | Harold Brewer | 1878-1972 | Knight | chemical engineer
Jackson | Willis | 1904-1970 | Baron Jackson of Burnley | electrical engineer x Jackson of Burnley | Baron
Moullin | Eric Balliol | 1893-1963 | electrical engineer
Ollerenshaw | Dame | Kathleen Mary | b 1912 | née Timpson | educationist
Penney | William George | 1909-1991 | 1st Baron Penney of East Hendred | nuclear scientist x Penney of East Hendred | 1st Baron
Saxton | John Arthur | 1914-1980 | radiophysicist
Weiner | Joseph Sidney | fl 1952-1974 | South African evolutionist and paleontologist

Corporate names
AEI | Associated Electrical Industries x Associated Electrical Industries
Delhi Institute of Technology
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine x Imperial College of Science and Technology x Imperial College x University of London | Imperial College
Institution of Electrical Engineers
Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co Ltd
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Overseas Development
Ministry of Technology
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development x ORCD