By Margaret Gowing (auth.)
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Extra info for Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952
The record of success which comes later in this book reveals an excellence in these engineers which makes such criticism look absurd. It also emphasises Hinton's own achievement. Proud, uncompromising in his standards, incapable of dissimulation, sometimes difficult to bear, he was the driving force of the industrial organisation and his talents and inspiration made a motley team achieve individual and collective greatness. They felt themselves to be, and were, a 'buccaneering corps d'elite'. All the establishments had claims to be elites in terms of achievement.
Hinton had chosen to go there rather than near Harwell primarily because he needed to be near the South Lancashire engineering industry and ICI Widnes, and because the factory sites were likely to be found in the North-west. The Risley site had only one permanent building, and since at first the commitment was finite the temporary ones were not replaced until many years later. These buildings were a slum, composed of huts with 'pneumonia corridors' between them. For a time the only social facility was first a Ministry of Works hutted canteen and then a room above the Co-op in Leigh.
France (successive holders of the post who served the project extremely well), were thenceforward very good. Moreover, even London admitted that although Hinton might wear them out in arguing about a decision, he would meticulously abide by it, however unpalatable, once it had been reached. Otherwise, however, 20 Britainand Atomic Energy I945-I952 there was a lack of rapport* dating from the first days when Hinton felt that Lord Portal, his Controller, neither trusted nor supported him adequately and yet was critical if things went wrong.
Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952 by Margaret Gowing (auth.)