Papers of Sir Brynmor Jones

Scope and Content

Papers consist of the following: speeches given by Brynmor Jones to a wide range of groups and audiences including as Vice Chancellor of the University; correspondence between Brynmor Jones and various persons in both professional and personal contexts; publications and reprints of works authored and co-authored by Brynmor Jones; degrees, certificates and awards received by Brynmor Jones; testimonials written for Brynmor Jones in relation to applications for jobs and grants; miscellaneous files and papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 20 September 1903 in North Wales to a Welsh headmaster, Brynmor Jones received an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University College of Wales at Bangor in 1925. The following year he received a Certificate in the Theory and Practice of Teaching from the University of Wales. He went on to undertake doctoral work at St John's College, Cambridge, completing a PhD in 1933. He subsequently received a number of fellowships allowing him to continue his research in the Chemistry Department at Cambridge, including the 1939 Leverhulme Research Fellowship. Finally, in 1948 he completed a piece of research for which he was awarded the qualification of Doctor of Science.

In 1931, Jones began his first teaching appointment in the Chemistry Department of the University of Sheffield where he developed an interest in the area of liquid crystals research. During his 15 years at Sheffield he was responsible for drafting a publication detailing War Work undertaken by the University of Sheffield. He was appointed as G.F. Grant Chair of Chemistry at the University College of Hull in 1947. It was under Jones' leadership of the Chemistry Department that George William Gray was brought to Hull as an assistant lecturer in Chemistry. Gray would go on to head the internationally renowned University of Hull Liquid Crystals Research Group responsible for the invention of viable liquid crystal materials for LCD technology in 1972.

In the years following his initial appointment at Hull, Jones rose to the position of Dean of Science and then Deputy Principal of the University College of Hull. Following the granting of the University's charter in 1954, he was made Pro-Vice-Chancellor before being appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull in 1956. In this capacity he remained with the University until his retirement on 30 September 1972 after 16 years in office.

His time as Vice-Chancellor began coincidentally with the opening of a new quinquennium (1957-1962) which allowed him to be of significant influence over quinquennial policy for the following three quinquennial sessions. In the early years, he pushed for the development of the pure sciences and campaigned for the national need for physicists, chemists and mathematicians. He was involved in the development of the University under the Robbins Committee and then its report published in October 1963. He went on to see the University of Hull through an era of rapid expansion and growth. Campus buildings were increased as the Cottingham Road site was expanded, 13 new departments were opened, student numbers increased fourfold, and staffing in existing departments was increased. Jones was a great advocate of the need for a strong library within a university and his support for the library under Philip Larkin's librarianship led to the establishment of the new Brynmor Jones Library building opened in 1960. He also saw the University through a significant period of student unrest during the summer of 1968, which period became known as the 'Clearway Campaign' and led to the democratisation of the University administration.

Jones was highly influential in the world of education more widely, sitting on many committees and boards outside of the University of Hull. He was involved with the Education Committee of Hull Chamber of Commerce, the Planning Committee of the Open University, the National Council for Educational Technology, and the Committee on Audio-visual Aids (which published the Brynmor Jones Report).

In the course of his work for the Inter-University Council for Higher Education he travelled widely to speak out for the cause of higher education overseas. He also served as governor of Bishop Burton College of Agriculture and Pocklington School.

Outside of education, Jones was involved with the Chemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the General Medical Council, the British Medical Association Academic Council, the British Digestive Foundation Appeal Committee, the Committee of the East Yorkshire Local History Society, the Beverley Minster Appeal Committee and the Editorial Board of the Institute of Medical and Biological Illustration.

For his various and numerous contributions in the field of education he received many honours, most notably a knighthood in the 1968 New Year's Honours List. He also received honorary degrees from the University of Wales in Aberystwyth 1968, the University of Hull in 1972, and the University of Leeds in 1974. In addition, Jones was made a Fellow of St John's College Cambridge in 1969 and of the College of Preceptors in 1973. He was also given Honorary Life Membership of Hull University Union in 1971, and was the first recipient of the Brynmor Jones Award for the Advancement of Educational Technology in the UK in 1973.

Sir Brynmor Jones died on 16 July 1989 having made hugely significant contributions to the fields of chemistry and higher education.


Collection arranged into the following 6 series:

U DBJ/1 Speeches, 1940s-1980s

U DBJ/2 Correspondence, 1927-1988

U DBJ/3 Publications, 1920s-1960s

U DBJ/4 Degrees, Certificates and Awards, 1925-1974

U DBJ/5 Testimonials, 1926-1945

U DBJ/6 Miscellaneous Papers, 1929-1990

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader. U DBJ includes items containing personal sensitive information which are not available for public inspection for 75 years. This is in accordance with Section 1 (Principles 1, 2 and 7) of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Custodial History

The material was deposited with Hull University Archives in 1990

Related Material

[U ORP] - University Official Reports and Publications

[U DFJ/396] - Francis Johnson & Partners Project File, Brynmor Jones as client

[U DLCR] - Records of the Hull Liquid Crystals Research Group

[U DPL] - Papers of Philip Larkin, includes correspondence between Larkin and Jones