Haselgrove-Leech Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of the computer scientists Brian Haselgrove, John Leech, and Jenifer Leech (formerly Haselgrove, née Wheildon Brown). The collection includes a small amount of biographical material (HAS/A) and some correspondence including with R S Lehmann on Polya issues; on Difference Bases, and with Brian Randell on history of computing topics.

HAS/C comprises working papers and reports on EDSAC, radio ray tracing, 2 point project, Z and L functions. NHAC/HAS?D is a miscellaneous collection of offprints and papers, several of which are authorsed by Colin Haselgrove and Jenifer Haselgrove/leech.

Administrative / Biographical History

Colin Brian Haselgrove (1926-1964, known as Brian) studied mathematics at King's College, Cambridge (BA, 1948; PhD, 1950?), to which he was appointed a Fellow in 1950. Interested particularly in number theory, he became engaged in work on computational approaches at the University of Cambridge's Mathematical Laboratory using the EDSAC 1 machine. In 1956 he co-authored a paper on digital computing as applied to stellar evolution with the cosmologist Fred Hoyle. In 1957, Brian Haselgrove was appointed to a senior lectureship at the University of Manchester, with responsibility to promote mathematical computing. In 1958 he published the paper for which he is best remembered, demonstrating the existence of a counter-example to the Pòlya conjecture; computations underlying this work were performed on EDSAC and on the Mark 1 machine in Manchester. Brian Haselgrove remained active in teaching and postgraduate supervision until shortly before his death from a brain tumour in 1964.

In 1951 Brian Haselgrove married Jenifer Wheildon Brown (b. 1930) of Newnham College, Cambridge. As Jenifer Haselgrove, she was an EDSAC user from 1953 to 1956 as a member of the Radio Group of the Cavendish Laboratory. She is best known for the application of Hamiltonian methods in ray tracing, lending her name to the Haselgrove equations widely used in radio physics. During this period Jenifer Haselgrove was attached to the Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories, Jodrell Bank.

John Anthony Leech (1926-1992) was an undergraduate alongside Brian Haselgrove at King's College, Cambridge (BA, 1950) and proceeded to work on digital computing at Ferranti in Manchester, returning in 1954 to the Mathematical Laboratory at Cambridge. His work focused largely on computational mathematics in the areas of number theory, group theory and geometry; he is noted for the Leech lattice in packing theory. In 1959 Leech moved to the Computing Laboratory at the University of Glasgow. Jenifer Haselgrove and John Leech, who had known each other at the Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory, married in 1965. Jenifer (who appears as 'Jenifer Leech' in most subsequent correspondence, though some later published work appears under the Haselgrove name) also moved to work in computer science at Glasgow. In 1968, John Leech moved to head the Computing Science department at the newly-founded University of Stirling, where he remained, gaining a personal chair in 1970, until his retirement in 1980. Jenifer Leech remained at Glasgow until 1982.


  • NAHC/HAS/A - Historical and Biographical material
  • NAHC/HAS/B - Correspondence
  • NAHC/HAS/C - Working papers, reports
  • NAHC/HAS/D - Publications

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the NAHC by Jenifer Leech, 1998. Material in NAHC/HAS/A is collected in an envelope identified by Jenifer Leech as containing "John Leech's oddments".

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.


None expected.