By Margaret Gowing (auth.)

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Additional info for Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952

Sample text

But only one bomb was being developed in the first years; later, although production in numbers had to be planned and advanced development begun, the scale of the work, apart from the test, was small. Besides, a great deal of information about the bomb had been brought back from Los Alamos, while the Armament Research Department was a ready-made establishment with highly competent and experienced staff. Hinton, on his side, had to select the sites for, design, organise the construction of, and then run, four large plants costing £74 million, «< in addition to designing the big experimental reactor at Harwell.

They knew Hinton well and understood him as a person. They had absorbed his high principles, standards and methods of engineering and management, and through them the traditions were transmitted to a rapidly expanding organisation. All of them were disciplined to the filling factory philosophy that Service demands, however unreasonable, had to be met. One of Hinton's original group of five - Leonard Owen - merits special emphasis from the outset. He was de facto, though not for some time officially, Hinton's deputy and his role in the production organisation was more crucial in a wider sense than the role of any single individual, however brilliant, in the teams of Cockcroft and Penney .

The figures for manpower in the project which are given in Appendix 19 are misleading as an indication of the burden on the economy because they exclude the men employed by the Ministry of Works and private industry. f Even if the figure were doubled to allow a generous margin for the men employed outside the project proper, the resulting strength comprises only a small industry. Even the figures for scientists and engineers were small- only a total of 1,578 scientists in 1952, of whom over 1,000 were analytical chemists or experimental (junior) grades.

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