Papers of Sir Barnes Neville Wallis

Wallis, Barnes Neville

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The fonds consists of biographical material (1901-1977) for example certificates, programmes, honours and awards, which reflect Sir Barnes Wallis' life, education and personal reminiscences. His work and research are reflected in official correspondence files and folders, minutes of meetings, reports, manuscript notes, calculations, working papers, printed material, photographs and design drawings. This material focuses on airships (1921-1929); the geodetic construction of aircraft (1930-1946); work on bombs, including dams, Highball, Card, Tallboy and big bomb developments, post war correspondence on dam raids (1939-1954); post war aircraft developments, including guided missiles, swing wing aircraft and supersonic and hypersonic flight (1944-1977); submarines (1946-1968); outside interests and consultancies, including cricket and golf balls (1936-1964), Isaac Newton and the optical telescope (1947-1955), Australian radio telescopes (1954-1963), the Central Electricity Generating Board (1962-1967), airship revival (1969-1972) and Messina Bridge (1971). The papers also include lectures, talks, participation in a British Broadcasting Company Television programme screened in 1967 covering Barnes Wallis' career and associated correspondence (1957-1972). Included is a series of patent files (1954-1968) and newspaper cuttings (1928-1978) containing, amongst others, articles about Barnes Wallis himself and his work on airships, dam busting, sinking of the battleship Tirpitz, the ten ton bomb, Swallow swing wing aircraft and Concorde.

The series of technical drawings relates to airships (20 blueprints, dyelines and tracings, 1919-1929), variable geometry aircraft the Swallow (14 tracings and hand coloured dyelines, 1957-1959), Cascade (13 tracings and hand coloured dyelines, 1959-1960), aircraft with cambered and ducted wings (16 tracings and dyeline prints, c.1960), the universal aircraft (51 tracings, dyelines, some hand coloured and dyeline prints, 1967-1971), submarines (29 tracings and dyelines, 1965-1966) and work for outside consultancies (25 dyelines and tracings, 1947-c.1970).

Photographic material in the collection comprises a series of personal and family photographs (182 black and white and colour prints and postcards, 1917-1977), technical photographs (725 black and white and colour prints, copies and postcards, 1913-1969) and 14 stereoscopic slides of the construction of the R100 in a shed at Howden, Yorkshire, 1928-1929.

The series dealing with work on bombs includes publicity and printed material relating to the Dam Busters, including printed histories, annotated film script and publicity material (1943-1972).


18.00 metres (109 boxes and 10 large format items); 2 plan press drawers (1.44 metres per drawer)
Open Access
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