Papers of William Jolly Duncan, 1894-1960, Aeronautical Engineer, Mechan Professor of Aeronautics and Fluid Mechanics, University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1950

Scope and Content

  • Correspondence concerning the Royal Aeronautical Society 1946-1960;
  • Correspondence concerning the College of Aeronautics 1950-1958;
  • Correspondence concerning the hydraulics laboratory equipment 1950-1956;
  • Correspondence relating to the English Electric Co Ltd 1952-1958;
  • Membership panel 1953-1955;
  • National Physical Laboratory 1951-1956;
  • Quarterly Journal of Mechanics and Applied Mathematics 1947-1956.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Jolly Duncan was born on 26 April 1894  , the son of Robert Duncan MP, senior partner in the marine engineering firm of Ross and Duncan of Glasgow and Mary Jolly. He married Enid Meyler Baker in 1936 and had four daughters. He was educated at Allan Glen‰??s School, Dulwich College and University College London. He served with the Royal Army Service Corps in the First World War and then with the Aeronautical Inspection Department. He was a member of the family marine engineering firm from 1919-1926  becoming AMINA in 1920 and a partner in the firm by 1922. In 1926  he returned to aeronautics, joining the Aeronautics Department of the National Physical Laboratory. After a period on general fluid mechanics, he collaborated with RA Frazer on the problem of aircraft flutter. He became the first Head of the University College Hull‰??s Aeronautics Department in 1934  and then the Wakefield Professor there in 1938.

During the Second World War he joined the Royal Aircraft Establishment and worked on armaments and aerodynamics, was Head of the Air Defence Research Department at Exeter and Chief Scientist under the Ministry of Aircraft Production at Luftfahrtforschunganstalt Hermann Goring, Volkenrode, Brunswick in 1945. Duncan became Professor of Aerodynamics at Cranfield in 1945  . He became the Mechan Professor of Aeronautics and Fluid Mechanics at the University of Glasgow in 1950  . He was appointed Assessor at the Comet Accident Enquiries in 1956. He died on the 09 December 1960  . His publications include: The Principles of the Control and the Stability of Aircraft , (1952); Physical Similarity and Dimensional Analysis , (1953); with Frazer, R A and Collar, A R , Elementary Matrices , (1938); with Arnold, Edward, An Elementary Treatise on the Mechanics of Fluids , (1960).

Sources: Who's Who , (1956); The College Courant , Vol. XIII, No.26, (1961, Glasgow).


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit: Mr Richard D Gordon:1984

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S) 3052) and London (NRA 31891 Duncan)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

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Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

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This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History



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Related Material

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Location of Originals

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Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names


Compiled by Vikki Laidlaw, Hub Project Assistant, 08 October 2004

Geographical Names