Department of Industry, Warren Spring Laboratory, 1974-1983
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Warren Spring Laboratory, 1958-1965
Department of Trade and Industry, Warren Spring Laboratory, 1970-1974
Department of Trade and Industry, Warren Spring Laboratory, 1983-1994
Ministry of Technology, Warren Spring Laboratory, 1965-1970
Administrative / biographical background:
The Warren Spring Laboratory was established under the control of the department at Stevenage in 1958/1959, taking over some of the work of the former Fuel Research Station with respect to the synthesis of oil from carbon monoxide and hydrogen and research into atmospheric pollution. It also took over the Fuel Research Station's Scottish branch at Thorntonhall.
It was initially envisaged entirely as a replacement for the earlier establishment, but the Research Council of the department decided to discontinue substantial parts of that station's programme and to accelerate the building of the new one for purposes much wider than fuel research, in particular for process research and development over a wide field. For this reason its name was derived from local topography and did not imply limitation to a specific field. It took over from the department's Headquarters Office the research programme in the field of human sciences.
Another important sphere of its activities was to be chemical engineering research, and in this connection it absorbed the Chemical Engineering Group of the National Chemical Laboratory in January 1959. In May 1964 that Laboratory's Extraction of Metals Group was taken over and integrated with the Mineral Processing Division.
The Warren Spring Laboratory was transferred to the Ministry of Technology in 1965, the Department of Trade and Industry in 1970, the Department of Industry in 1974, and the second Department of Trade and Industry in 1983. In 1978 the MAPCON Unit was set up within the Control Engineering Division (subsequently the Control Engineering/Computer Services Division). This administered a scheme designed to encourage the use of microelectronics by manufacturing industry.
In its latter years the Laboratory's research covered the bulk handling of powders, pastes and slurries; process control and on-line analytical systems; catalysis; mineral concentration; pyro and hydro-metallurgy; air pollution; oil pollution; and recovery of materials from domestic and industrial wastes.
In 1994 the laboratory merged with AEA Technology to form the National Environmental Technology Centre.
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