Zuckerman Archive: Ministry of Fuel and Power Scientific Advisory Council

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1187 SZ/MFP
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      3 boxes; three files; 1.5 linear feet

Scope and Content

The documents in File SZ/MFP/3 focus largely on coal resources, including gasification and the production of synthetic oil from coal. They also address the problem of peak-loading of electricity and gas supplies, the potential for exploiting other forms of energy generation, and effective energy conservation. There are papers on: tidal and wind power; solar energy; gasification of coal at source (i.e. underground); the use of diesel oil instead of petrol for agricultural machinery; peat-fuelled gas turbines; methane; heat pumps; insulating materials; and flame radiation. This file also includes a copy of the interim report of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Committee on Air Pollution, HMSO, December 1953, Cmd 9011.

The documents for 1954 are for the greater part reports and papers on atmospheric pollution from sulphur and means of recovering sulphur from flue-gases. Sulphur and sulphur recovery also feature in the correspondence in File SZ/MFP/2. This was also an area of interest to the NRTC, from the point of view of exploiting indigenous sources of sulphur for industry (to which Series SZ/NRTC refers).

Administrative / Biographical History

1. To advise the Minister... on the scientific aspects of problems which he may remit to them in connection with his statutory duty of securing the effective and co-ordinated development of coal, petroleum and other sources of fuel and power in Great Britain, and of promoting economy and efficiency in the supply, distribution, use and consumption of fuel and power, whether produced in Great Britain or not.

2. To advise the Minister of new scientific knowledge or developments which in the view of the Council should be taken into account....

3. To keep the whole field of fuel and power under continuous review with the object of identifying problems needing scientific investigation...

The Advisory Council was established by the Minister of Fuel and Power, Hugh Gaitskell, in July 1948, under the chairmanship of Sir Alfred Egerton. Solly Zuckerman was a member of the Council, the work of which complemented his activities in respect of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy (ACSP), the Committee on Industrial Productivity, and subsequently the Natural Resources (Technical) Committee (NRTC). The terms of reference were:

Solly Zuckerman was formally invited by Gaitskell to join the Council in June 1948 but an earlier letter (13 October 1947) in File SZ/MFP/2 indicates that the two had discussed the scientific position already. Zuckerman re-assured the Chairman of the ACSP, Sir Henry Tizard, that his acceptation of Gaitskell's invitation would not compromise his commitment to the ACSP. By 1955, however, other commitments obliged Zuckerman to resign from the Council.


  • SZ/MFP/1 Minutes, 1948-1955
  • SZ/MFP/2 Correspondence, 1947-1955
  • SZ/MFP/3 Documents, 1948-1955 [in eight sub-files]

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.



Other Finding Aids

This series is described to series level in the online catalogue of the Zuckerman Archive, and in the general guide to the Zuckerman Archive, Deirdre Sharp: The Zuckerman Archive: a General Guide, University of East Anglia, 2000, which is available in print and online on the Internet.

Typescript lists of the correspondence in File SZ/MFP/2 and of the contents of File SZ/MFP/3 are available for consultation in the Archives Department.

Conditions Governing Use

Please refer to the fonds-level description for GB 1187 SZ.