Catalogue description Catalogue of papers and correspondence of ARTHUR RODERICK COLLAR FRS (1908 - 1986)

This record is held by Bristol University Information Services: Special Collections

Details of NCUACS 3.2.88
Reference: NCUACS 3.2.88
Title: Catalogue of papers and correspondence of ARTHUR RODERICK COLLAR FRS (1908 - 1986)



SECTION B, AERONAUTICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ARC) With an introductory note NCUACS 3.2.88/B.1-B.22






The presentation of the material follows the sequence given in the List of Contents. In this small collection Collar's lectures and, to a lesser extent, his Aeronautical Research Committee (later Council) papers predominate.


Section A (Biographical) is very slight but includes notes on his professional career sent to the Minister of Technology in 1967 (NCUACS 3.2.88/A.2) and a copy of R E D Bishop's Royal Society memoir (NCUACS 3.2.88/A.5).


Section B (Aeronautical Research Council) presents a sequence of research papers and papers dealing with matters of internal organisation covering the period 1935-80; of some interest are items NCUACS 3.2.88/B.13 - B.15 which relate to the 1958 Munich air disaster. Also included in this section are a number of research papers prepared while Collar worked for the Royal Aircraft Establishment during the war. It should be noted that a great part of Collar's Aeronautical Research Council papers were destroyed at his own request after his death.


Section C (Lectures, Broadcasts and Publications) is the most substantial of the collection. There are lectures on aeronautics and matrices and lectures to a wide variety of audiences on more general scientific topics, such as engineering education and science and society. In his later years Collar gave talks on humorous poetry, of which he was both very fond and extremely knowledgeable. A few sets of ms notes for these talks can be found at NCUACS 3.2.88/C.45.


Section D (Scientific Correspondence) is again slight, but what survives serves chiefly to illustrate Collar's interest in matrices, a field in which he was an acknowledged authority.


Compiled by Peter Harper and Timothy E Powell


The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:


The Biochemical Society


The British Library


The City of Bath


The Geological Society


The Institute of Physics


Pergamon Books


The Royal Society


The Royal Society of Chemistry


Shell UK Ltd


The Society of Chemical Industry


We are very grateful to Professor Simpson and Mr Collar for making the material available, and for their advice and encouragement.

Date: 1935-1987
Related material:

A small collection of papers dealing with the family business of Arthur Collar Ltd., Household and General Ironmongers of Whitstable, Kent, together with the diaries of Arthur Collar (A R Collar's father and founder of the business), is deposited with the Kent Archives Office, Maidstone.

Held by: Bristol University Information Services: Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Collar, Arthur Roderick, 1908-1986, scientist

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were received from Professor Alan Simpson, Collar's colleague in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Bristol University, and Mr M J Collar, elder son, in March and May 1988, respectively.

  • Aerospace industry
Unpublished finding aids:

For a full account of the life and work of Collar see R E D Bishop, 'Arthur Roderick Collar 1908-1986', Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 33, 1987.

Administrative / biographical background:



Arthur Roderick Collar was born in West Ealing on 22 February 1908. He was educated at the Simon Langton School in Canterbury, before winning a scholarship to Emmanuel College Cambridge in 1926 to read for the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Triposes.


He graduated in 1929, joining the Aerodynamics Department at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington. Here Collar worked on propellors, airship dynamics, wind-tunnel design, and particularly on flutter and matrix analysis. His book, Elementary Matrices, written in 1938 with colleagues R A Frazer and W J Duncan, soon became a standard work in this field. From 1936 Collar was also involved with the work of the Aeronautical Research Committee (later Council). He served in various capacities with the Council and its subcommittees until its abolition in 1980, holding the Chairmanship 1964-68. During the war Collar headed research work on aeroelasticity at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough.


In 1946, partly through his pre-war work for the Aeronautical Research Committee, Collar was offered the newly established Sir George White Chair of Aeronautical Engineering at Bristol University. In addition to his duties as Professor, he served as Dean of the Engineering Faculty 1954-57, and in 1968-69 temporarily as Vice-Chancellor. An honorary Doctorate of Laws was conferred upon him in 1969 and upon retirement in 1973 Collar was appointed Professor Emeritus.


Among many other distinctions gained, Collar was made a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1944, serving as President 1963-64. He was awarded the Society's Gold Medal in 1966 and Hodgkin Prize in 1979. Collar was honoured with the CBE in 1964 and elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society a year later.

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