The frostiness of Hinton

One joy of archival research is stumbling across documents that reveal the character of key players. Christopher Hinton, the engineer who pioneered (with others) British power reactors, was a towering personality, often feared. Imagine then a London bureaucrat daring to challenge him on fiscal responsibility, especially as Hinton prided himself on budgetary control.

Witness Hinton responding (Dec 1956) with venom: “It is unwise of you to speak about ‘the breakdown of financial control’ which has arisen to an organisation which, in spending over £40 M., is within 1% of its estimate. Such comment is neither reasonable nor helpful…”

Hinton letter


Hinton, Christopher. 1956. Hinton to Perrott, Dec. 7, 1956. AB 19/8. National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom.