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British Industrial History

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Hugh Ford

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Hugh Ford (1913-2010), Professor of mechanical engineering, Imperial College London

1913 July 16th. Born in Northampton

Educated at Northampton Grammar School and served an apprenticeship at the Great Western Railway.

He studied at City & Guilds College (Imperial College London) on a Whitworth scholarship, where he would earn a first class degree, and win the Bramwell Medal. He earned a PhD in heat transfer and fluid flow.

During World War II, he worked at ICI in Cheshire. He studied operations at strip mills, earning the Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal in 1948.

1942 Married(1) to Wynyard (died 1991. two daughters)

Beginning in 1948, he was Reader in Applied Mechanics at Imperial College. He was president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers from 1977 to 1978. Ford was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[1] in 1967 and knighted in 1975.

In 1970, he received the A. A. Griffith Medal and Prize. He was awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Science) from the University of Bath in 1978.

In 1985 he received the James Watt International Medal.

1993 Married(2) Thelma Jensen

2010 May 28th. Died London.

1965 Bio Note [1]

Prof. Hugh Ford, DSc(Eng), PhD, Wh.Sch. (Member), has been appointed Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, in succession to Prof. Sir Owen Saunders, DSc(Eng), MA (Past-President), who will now devote more of his time to research. The appointment will take effect from 1st January 1966.

Prof. Ford, who was recently re-elected to Council, joined the staff of the College in 1948 as Reader in Applied Mechanics. He was elected to the Chair in that subject in 1953.

A member of the CME Advisory Panel, Prof. Ford is also Vice-Chairman of the Editorial Panel of the Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science. He is the holder of a Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal and a James Clayton Prize, both awarded by this Institution.

1973 Bio Note [2]

H. Ford, DSc, PhD, FInstCE, WhSch, FRS (Fellow) was educated at Northampton School. He became a Premium Apprentice in the GW Locomotive Works, Swindon and in 1934 gained a Whitworth Scholarship and entered the City and Guilds College (Imperial College) receiving a first-class honours degree in Mechanical Engineering, being also awarded the Unwin Scholarship in 1936. His PhD followed three years' research on heat transfer and fluid flow problems.

From 1939 to 1942 he was a research engineer with ICI Ltd, Alkali Division. He was appointed Chief Engineering Officer in the Technical Department of the British Iron and Steel Federation and in 1945 became Head of the Mechanical Working Division of BISRA.

In 1948 he accepted the Readership in Applied Mechanics at Imperial College, and was awarded the DSc (Eng) (Loud). In 1951 he was appointed Professor of Applied Mechanics and in January 1966 succeeded Sir Owen Saunders, (Past-President) as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering becoming Professor of Mechanical Engineering two years later.

Professor Ford received the Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal of the Institution in 1948. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967, was President of the Institute of Metals in 1963-64, and is Chairman of the Engineering Board of the SRC.

He is a director of Alfred Herbert Ltd.

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