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British Industrial History

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Admiralty Engineering Laboratory

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1915 A question about the material and design of pistons for submarine oil engines had been referred to the Board of Inventions by the Engineer-in-Chief of the Admiralty. An experimental engine to investigate the problem was built by Ruston and Hornsby Limited from which some solutions were identified.

1917 The Royal Naval Laboratory was inaugurated at the City and Guilds Engineering College, South Kensington, with Sir Dugald Clerk as Director and Engineer Commander C. J. Hawkes (later Professor Hawkes) as Superintendent. The name was soon altered to Admiralty Engineering Laboratory. The experimental engine was moved to AEL.

1917 The Mechanical Engineering Department was established

1919 The Electrical Engineering Department was set up

1919 The Sonic Works at West Drayton were in effect a large research laboratory which had been provided by the Admiralty during the war to allow Mr George Constantinesco to develop his various inventions. Queen Mary and the Queen of Roumania visited the Sonic Works in March 1919[1]

1920 The Mechanical Engineering Department and the Electrical Engineering Department moved to the Sonic Works at West Drayton to form the Admiralty Engineering Laboratory, though they remained two distinct departments, dealing respectively with engineering and electrical problems, and responsible to the engineer-in-chief and the director of electrical engineering. Sir Dugald Clerk resigned his position as director just before the time of the transfer.

1923 The Superintendent was Engineer-Commander H. B. Tostevin

1947 At the time of a visit by the Inst of Mech Engineers, it was indicated that a larger site was being sought for the Laboratory.

1964 The control of the Laboratory was vested in the Director General Ships at Bath

1972 Became part of the National Gas Turbine Establishment




See Also

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  • An early article on the laboratory was published in The Engineer 1923/05/11

Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Apr 17, 1919
  • National Archives