British Rayon Research Association

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The British Rayon Research Association was a research institute formed in 1946 by the British Rayon Federation and others.[1] It was funded by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and by voluntary funds from industry[2] to investigate the chemical and physical properties of rayon and rayon fabrics, using a wide range of laboratory and theoretical methods. John Wilson, who was its Director from 1948 to 1958 was appointed a CBE for his work at the BRRA.[3] It was located near Ringway Airport in Manchester, initially, and then at Heald Green near Manchester after 1955.

Work from the Association included academic publication, that included papers by Leslie Treloar in the journal Polymer.[4] The BRRA sponsored Andrew Donald Booth's early research into computing at Birkbeck[5] and was home to the first of his All Purpose Electronic Computers built in 1952[6]

Under Wilson's leadership, the staff of BRRA grew to nearly 300 and gained an international reputation in textiles research.[3] The BRRA also offered annual Technological Scholarships in the Departments of Textiles at the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds.[7]

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh opened the new BRRA laboratory at Heald Green on May 11, 1955. It cost £500,000.[8] British Pathé filmed footage of research, at BRRA, on the strength of fabrics.[9]

John Wilson was succeeded by Leonard Albert Wiseman in 1958.

Merger with Cotton Research Association[edit]

By at least 1955 it was apparent that there was potential for overlap in research with the work of the British Cotton Industry Research Association. In 1957 an official agreement was made to avoid duplication.[10]

Wilson retired from the BRRA in 1958, and Len Wiseman became Director.

Consensus emerged that a merger between the BCIRA and BRRA was needed. BRRA's life ended with its merger with the BCRA to form the Cotton, Silk, and Man-Made Fibres Research Association in 1961, better known as the Shirley Institute.[11] Len Wiseman was appointed its Deputy Director.[12]

Notable employees[edit]

Publications and articles by the BRRA and staff[edit]

  • Application of high-speed photography to textile problems, G. A. J. Orchard, R. A. Barker, British Rayon Research Association
  • The physics of rubber elasticity, L. R. G. Treloar Clarendon Press, 1958

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Times, November 29, 1946 page 10
  2. ^ http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=1961-05-08a.173.0 Commons Debates 1961
  3. ^ a b The Times, John Wilson obituary, 15 September 1976
  4. ^ a b Polymer Journal, 50th Anniversary site
  5. ^ The British computer industry: crisis and development By Tim Kelly, page 41
  6. ^ http://www.dcs.bbk.ac.uk/~rgj/Computer%20Science%20at%20Birkbeck%20College%20comp
  7. ^ Journal of Education, Vol 81, 1949
  8. ^ The Times, 12 May 1955
  9. ^ Duke at British Rayon Research
  10. ^ The Times, 18 February 1957, page 15
  11. ^ Hansard, written answers, 9 February 1961
  12. ^ Len Wiseman obituary, TI News, Textile Institute 2009
  13. ^ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article4411781.ece
  14. ^ Tanner, R.I. & Walters, K. (1998) Rheology: An Historical Perspective, Elsevier Science Ltd., ISBN 978-0444829450, pp. 98-99