Papers and correspondence of Christopher Alwyne Jack Young, 1912-1978

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 69 ARCH: YOUNG
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      22 boxes

Scope and Content

The papers consist mainly of material (memoranda, correspondence, research reports, committee papers) documenting various aspects of the history and development of the Central Instrument Laboratory, and include a set of the I.C.I. Instrument Information Bulletin, 1956-1962. There are some personal and biographical items, material relating to publications, lectures, speeches and conferences attended, and a little general professional correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Young was born in Calne, Wiltshire and educated at Colston's School, Bristol, 1926-1930, and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, 1930-1934. He left Oxford to become a temporary master at Radley College in the Easter term of 1934, moving for the Summer term to Cheltenham College where he stayed until 1938. In 1938 he became an assistant meteorologist in the Sudan Government Service, resigning in 1940 to volunteer as a pilot in coastal command. He was recommended instead to join Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd Engineering Department at Billingham where he worked on various wartime projects including FIDO (Fog Intensive Dispersal Operation) and the Tube Alloys (Atomic Bomb) project. In 1946 he became the first Director of the Central Instrument Section (later the Central Instrument Laboratory) of the Company. His health forced him to relinquish the Directorship in 1971 and he accepted the advisory post of Technical Director to the ICI Corporate Laboratory which was formed by merging the Central Instrument Research Laboratory at Bazedown with the Petrochemical and Polymer Laboratory at Runcorn in 1972. He retired from ICI in 1973.

The Central Instrument Laboratory was originally set up as a general research and development section to service all divisions. In the 1950s Young decided to concentrate the work of the laboratory on the design of process control systems. His objective was that process, plant and control equipment should be designed as one unified system to eradicate the practice of adding the control equipment on as an afterthought to a plant already designed. In order to achieve this he directed the laboratory towards the target of predicting the dynamic behaviour of chemical processes at the design stage, and introduced the concept of the mathematical model to describe any system under consideration. He sought to ensure that the Company took advantage of the most recent developments in the computer industry. He encouraged research into a new high level language specially designed for on-line computer applications, and a novel system of interface instrumentation, both of which were designed to reduce costs and thus improve the practical possibilities of implementing a complete on-line system. He was elected FRS in 1973.


By section as follows: Biographical and personal, Central Instrument Research Laboratory, Lectures, publications and conferences, Correspondence. Index of correspondents.

Access Information

48 hours notice required (stored off site).

Other Finding Aids

Printed Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Christopher Alwyne Jack Young (1912-1978) by J. Alton and J. Latham-Jackson, CSAC catalogue no. 70/8/79, 52 pp. Copies available from NCUACS, University of Bath

Custodial History

Received in 1978 by the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre from Mrs Young, widow, through the agency of Mr S.T. Lunt. Deposited in the Science Museum Library in 1979.