Norman Swindin Collection

Scope and Content

Personal, business and scientific papers (including laboratory notebooks), research notes, lectures, and material used for his published autobiography

Administrative / Biographical History

Norman Swindin (1880-1976), a pioneer in the development of chemical engineering, was born at Silkstone, Yorkshire, and educated at Macclesfield Grammar School. Leaving school at the age of 14, he worked as a factory clerk while taking evening classes in maths and science. In 1901 he became a draughtsman for Davis Brothers of Manchester, Consulting Engineers, and assistant editor of the Chemical Trade Journal. In Manchester he attended lectures by Osborne Reynolds and joined various social and radical groups. Swindin moved to London in 1910 as Chemical Engineer to the Lennox Foundry Company, and went on to work for Ashcroft Inventions Ltd, the Gas Light & Coke Company, the Safety Celluloid Company, the Chemical & Metallurgical Corporation, and the St Helens Cable & Rubber Company. He then set up as a consulting chemical engineer, founding Nordac Ltd in 1928, which specialised in the manufacture of acid proof tanks, pipes, valves and pumps and pioneered the use of rubber lining. He was active as chairman of Nordac until 1952. The company was sold to Woodhall Duckham Ltd in 1958. Swindin was a founder member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, though too much of a maverick ever to attain high office. He was awarded the Institution's Moulton Medal in 1944 and the Osborne Reynolds Medal in 1947. Norman Swindin was made Honorary Reader in Chemical Engineering at Loughborough College of Technology (now Loughborough University) in 1962 and endowed the Davis-Swindin Lectures there. He was awarded an Hon M.Tech by Loughborough University of Technology in 1968.


13 sections: Personal Papers; Correspondence; Early Career; Nordac Ltd; Research; Autobiography; Publications; Professional Institutions; Rotary Club; Photographs and Slides; Scrapbooks; Miscellaneous; Drawings and Charts

Access Information

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

Donated via Professor Donald Freshwater, Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University of Technology post 1976

Other Finding Aids

Typescript catalogue available in the searchroom

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jenny Clark, University Archivist. See: N Swindin, Engineering Without Wheels (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1962) ; D Freshwater, 'Famous Men Remembered: Norman Swindin', The Chemical Engineer, no 408, Nov 1984.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made for research purposes at the discretion of the University Archivist. Requests to publish, in extract or in full, should be submitted to the University Archivist