Posts Tagged ‘science’

Barnes Wallis visits Market Lavington.

March 12, 2011

Barnes Wallis was a famous inventor, scientist and engineer. He was born in 1887 and he is best known for inventing the bouncing bombs, which were used in the dambuster raids against dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II. But he also invented the geodesic airframe as used on the R100 airship, an airship with a short career because of disasters involving the R101 and the Hindenberg vessels.

It is no wonder that such a pre-eminent man should be in demand to give lectures. Dauntsey’s School certainly invited him to speak on a number of occasions.

On these visits to Wiltshire, Barnes and his wife, Molly, stayed at the Cliffe Hall Hotel in Market Lavington, which was run by Stewart and Barbara Reynolds.

Letters sent by the Wallises, requesting accommodation, have survived and are now at Market Lavington Museum.

A letter from barnes Wallis at Market Lavington Museum

In 1959, Barnes signed a typed letter.  Older readers of the blog will remember embossing address stamps, a device swept into oblivion by the word processor. This was the Wallis address and as late as 1959, the phone was just Bookham 27.

The embossed address

A later letter is less formal in style and comes from Molly

A letter from Molly Wallis

It certainly seems that 8 years on, in 1967, Mr and Mrs Wallis regarded the Reynolds family as friends.

The embossing address stamp was in use again, but it had changed.

Embossed address again - but with an updated phone number

The phone number had had 2000 added to it. Of course, this enlargement of phone numbers still has to go on.

In 1971 formality was back in order. Barnes can explain why in his own letter. It looks as though Barnes had been knighted since 1967 and the old address embosser had been discarded

Another letter from Barnes Wallis