Papers and correspondence of Robin Ralph Jamison, 1912-1991

Scope and Content

The collection contains significant biographical records, records of Jamison's research and lectures material. There are records of his career, appointments and awards from the University of Capetown to his retirement from Rolls Royce, including curricula vitae and testimonials and documentation of his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society. There are desk diaries kept by Jamison as a summary record of his professional activity, 1965-1974 and notebooks recording his work in engine research and development ca 1940-1990, and (one notebook only) his work for Bristol College of Science and Technology (later Bath University of Technology, University of Bath), 1964-1973. Research papers are substantial and present records of Jamison's work in engine research and development in the form of calculations, notes, drafts, reports, correspondence etc., 1939-1977, including the only extended correspondence in the collection, that with Sir Barnes Wallis, 1959-1974. There are also publicity materials relating to work at Bristol, 1954-1968, 1974, photographs, and material re computer applications prepared by the Rolls Royce Computer Education Service, 1969. A little material is included in the collection relating to Jamison's PhD research at the University of Capetown 1936-1937. Lectures material comprises the contents of two binders of lecture notes and drafts relating to Jamison's work in engine research and development, 1952-1973 and the contents of a binder of figures for lectures. There are also printed and duplicated copies of Jamison's publications, 1945-1969.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robin Ralph Jamison was born on 12 July 1912 in Horsham, Sussex but was brought up in South Africa. He was educated at South African College, Capetown, 1924-1928, and the University of Capetown, 1929-1933, where his studies combined chemistry with mechanical engineering. He went on to take a doctorate at Capetown researching on the refrigerated gas storage of South African fruit (Ph.D 1937). In 1937 he married Hilda Watney Wilson; they had four children.

He returned to England in 1937 and joined the Rolls Royce Aeroengine Division, Derby where he worked on the Merlin, Griffon and Vulture engines. In 1940 he transferred to a new department being set up by S.G. Hooker to develop gas turbines at Derby. Six years later he was appointed assistant to A.A. Griffith and employed on advanced performance and research planning for engines. In 1948 he became technical adviser to R.N. Dorey on centrifugal engines and was closely involved with the Derwent, Nene, Dart and Tay engines. Two years later he joined the engine division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. Shortly after arriving at Bristol he took charge of the department entrusted with the design and development of ramjet engines for the Bristol Bloodhound Guided Missile which saw service with the RAF. Jamison's work in missile propulsion led to the investigation of engines for supersonic flight. In 1962 he was given the task of setting up a new Advanced Propulsion Research Department at Bristol Siddeley Engines Limited. In December 1965 Jamison became Chief Engineer (Research) and in 1971 he was appointed Chief Technical Executive (Research) of Rolls Royce, Bristol Engines Division. He retired in 1975. Jamison was Visiting Professor at the University of Bath 1969-1973.

Jamison was elected FRS 1969 and FEng 1976. He died in 1991.


By section as follows: Biographical, Diaries, Notebooks, Research, Lectures, Publications. Index of correspondents.

Conditions Governing Access

No known closure or restrictions. Visits by appointment. Some form of identification required.

Other Finding Aids

Printed catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Robin Ralph Jamison (1912-1991) by P. Harper and T.E. Powell, NCUACS catalogue no. 63/3/96, 34 pp. Copies avaiable from NCUACS, University of Bath

Custodial History

Received in July 1994 by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists from Mrs Hilda Jamison, widow. Deposited in Bristol Univeristy Library in 1996.