• Title
    Papers of Sir Barnes Wallis
  • Reference
  • Production date
    1905 - 1973
  • Creator
    • Barnes Neville WallisBiography
  • Scope and Content
    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).
  • Extent
    18.00 metres (109 boxes and 10 large format items); 2 plan press drawers (1.44 metres per drawer)
  • Language
  • Archival history
    Barnes Wallis presented his papers to the Science Museum in 1979. The papers were stored by Wallis in files and file folders. Their order within these files was not disturbed. Photographs found in files have been left with the papers and not included in Section J which contains loose prints. Old and damaged folders were replaced. Some of the papers were badly damaged in a flood at Weybridge in 1968. Material relating to Wallis' involvement with Christs' Hospital, Epsom College and various learned societies has not been included in this list; nor have the books from his study at home, or the trade catalogues and printed technical literature receives with the papers. A separate list of this material is available for consultation at the Science Museum Library. 22 16 mm films forming part of the fonds were deposited with the National Film Archive by the Science Museum in May 1979 and have been described in the finding aid.
  • Level of description
  • Repository name
    Science Museum, London
  • Conditions governing access
    The collection is available for public consultation according to Science Museum Library and Archives policy in our reading room at Wroughton.
  • Conditions governing Reproduction
    Copies may be supplied of items in the collection, provided that the copying process used does not damage the item or is not detrimental to its preservation. Copies will be supplied in accordance with the Science Museum's terms and conditions for the supply and reproduction of copies, and the provisions of any relevant copyright legislation.The Science Museum does not own any copyright or reproduction rights.
  • External document
  • Related object
  • Appraisal
    No appraisal of this collection has been undertaken.
  • System of arrangement
    The files were grouped in 19 series, numbered alpha-numerically, according to subject areas. Original numbering sequences where evident, were maintained in the order of the files. Where no such sequence was evident, the order was decided by the archivist.
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