Christopher Hinton, Baron Hinton of Bankside, 1901-1983

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Hinton was born at Tisbury, Wiltshire. The son of a schoolmaster, he became at 16 an engineering apprentice with the Great Western Railway at Swindon. At 22 he was awarded the William Henry Allen scholarship of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers which sent him to Trinity College, Cambridge. He took a first class degree in the Mechanical Sciences Tripos in two years, spending the final year on research under C.E. Inglis. Hinton's first post on leaving Cambridge was on the staff of Brunner Mond&Company (later part of ICI) where he became Chief Engineer at 29. In 1940 he was seconded to the Ministry of Supply becoming, in 1942, Deputy Director General in charge of the Royal Filling Factories. At the end of the war he was asked to take charge of the production organisation of the newly-formed Department of Atomic Energy and when the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) was set up in 1954 he became a member of the Board and Managing Director of the Industrial Group. In the ten years, 1946-1956, his organisation was responsible for designing and building the factory at Springfields for extracting uranium from ore, purifying it into fuel elements for the nuclear reactors, for building Windscale with its production piles and complex chemical plants, the diffusion plant at Capenhurst, the first industrial nuclear plant at Calder Hall and the fast breeder reactor with its ancillary fuel element and chemical plants at Dounreay. In 1957 Hinton became the first Chairman of the newly-created Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) - a position he held until his retirement from full-time salaried employment in 1964. One of Hinton's interests during his Chairmanship was the development of the Board's research organisation; this interest continued until his death in his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the Electricity Supply Research Council.

Hinton continued to make many important contributions to public service in his retirement. In 1965 he worked for six months in the Ministry of Transport and afterwards became a Special Adviser to the World Bank. He served as Chairman of the International Executive Committee of the World Energy Conference, 1962-1968, retaining an interest in its affairs for the rest of his life. He was the first Chancellor of the University of Bath, 1966-1980. He was much involved with the activities and organisation of the engineering profession. He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1966-1967, Chairman of the MacRobert Award Evaluation Panel from the award's inception in 1969 to 1977, President of the Council of Engineering Institutions from 1976 to 1983 and from 1976 to 1981 first President of the Fellowship of Engineering (later Royal Academy of Engineering) which he did so much to found. Hinton was elected FRS in 1954 (Tercentenary Lecture 1960, Rumford Medal 1970). He was knighted in 1951 (KBE 1957), made a life peer in 1965 and appointed to the Order of Merit in 1976.

From the guide to the Papers and correspondence of Christopher Hinton, Baron Hinton of Bankside, 1913-1983, (Institution of Mechanical Engineers Library)

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creatorOf Papers and correspondence of Christopher Hinton, Baron Hinton of Bankside, 1913-1983 Institution of Mechanical Engineers Library
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associatedWith Hinton Christopher Baron Hinton of Bankside 1903-1983 person
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Nuclear energy


Birth 1901

Death 1983

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SNAC ID: 51331847