Papers of Arthur Smithells, concerning the University of Leeds

Scope and Content

Includes letters from Geoffrey Woledge, and reprints of his articles in the Gryphon

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur Smithells (1860-1939) was born at Bury in Lancashire. He graduated in chemistry at Owen's College, Manchester, in 1881 (B.Sc., London), and continued his training in Heidelberg, under R.B. von Bunsen, and in Munich. He returned to Manchester as an assistant lecturer in 1883 but in 1885 was appointed professor of chemistry at the Yorkshire College in Leeds. Here he not only pursued his research into the structure of flames, which was his main contribution to pure science, but also played a full part in the broader development of the College and of the University of Leeds which it became in 1904. He was elected FRS in 1901 and was vice-president of the Royal Society in 1916. In 1913-14 he was a special visiting lecturer in chemistry at the Punjab University, Lahore. In the First World War he offered his services as an instructor in scientific matters to the Northern Command and soon became (1916-19) chief chemical adviser on anti-gas training for the Home Forces, with an office in the Horse Guards in London. He was granted the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was appointed C.M.G. in 1918 in recognition of his services. He resigned his chair at Leeds in 1923 to become the director of the Salters' Institute of Industrial Chemistry in London, and subsequently he was president of the Institute of Chemistry from 1927 to 1930. He devoted much time in his later years to encouraging the training of chemists and to arousing public concern at the dangers of chemical warfare and the need to make preparations against it.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted

Acquisition Information

Gift on behalf of Mrs Smithells, 1963


In English