Library and Archives
Library and Archives - New Archive Acquisition - Papers of Professor Brian P Smith, Bsc(Eng), CEng, MIMechE, FIProdE, FBIM, FInstM, FIMC
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December 20, 2013
New Archive Acquisition - Papers of Professor Brian P Smith, Bsc(Eng), CEng, MIMechE, FIProdE, FBIM, FInstM, FIMC

The papers of Professor Brian P Smith, a former President of the Institution of Production Engineers (IProdE), have recently been deposited in the IET Archives. The Institution of Production Engineers was formed in 1921 and changed its name to the Institution of Manufacturing Engineers (IMfgE) just prior to its merger with the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1991.

The IET Archives holds the archives of the IMfgE/IProdE, including a comprehensive set of organisational papers. These include a full set of Council, General Meeting and Committee minutes as well as presented papers for the whole 1921-1991 period. Despite this, the IET Archives holds very few personal papers of prominent members and individuals associated with the IMfgE/IProdE. The exception to this is a small collection of Presidents' papers from the period from 1979 to 1988 when the relevant individual was in office.

The offer of the Brian P Smith papers from the Smith family therefore came as a very welcome offer particularly as they cover not just the period that Brian P Smith was President of the IProdE (1974), but also his whole life. After serving a full apprenticeship at Royal Ordnance Factories from 1941-46, he was one of a small team which established a new tool industry in the Cumberland Development Area, and was its General Manager when he left to join PA Management Consultants Ltd in 1949. He was appointed PA's Director of Research in 1959 and became Managing Director of the UK company in 1966. He became Chairman of the UK company and Managing Director of the international company in 1972 and subsequently Director of Development of the international company.

In 1976 Brian P Smith resigned his permanent position with PA to become an Associate Consultant with them, and on 1 January 1977 became the first Wolfson Professor of Design Management at the Royal College of Art. In this role his aim was to bring closer together the worlds of industry and design, and to build their mutual understanding and respect. He was a member of the Design Council and served on its Finance and General Purposes Committee; he was nominated by the Duke of Edinburgh as Vice-President of the Royal Society of Arts in 1976.

Building on his training as an engineer, his interests in management were to analyse the less tangible aspects of leadership, communications, human behaviour and design. He believed that such subjects were susceptible to a scientific approach and to practical training and that they were at the root of organisation and management performance.

The deposited collection consists primarily of Smith's published papers / articles, and notes / hand-outs for the many talks and speeches on management that he gave during his lengthy career as Managing Director of PA Management Consultants. However, there is also a wealth of additional material about Smith's life including, his own book of verse, his leisure and travel diaries, his journal, images of his many paintings (examples shown below) and audio recordings of two of his speeches including his speech at an IProdE dinner in 1974. The journal and travel diaries are particularly interesting as they cover Smith's thoughts and musings on a very wide range of topics.






Correspondence with a wide variety of senior government members and officials, Buckingham Palace and well known individuals such as the actress Joanna Lumley, the American jazz music impresario Norman Granz and the journalist Bernard Levin can be found in the collection.

The collection is titled, 'Papers of Professor Brian P Smith', and has been catalogued as collection SC MSS 251. It can be consulted in the IET Archives once the new archive centre opens in early 2014.

Written by Jon Cable

Edited: 06 February 2014 at 01:17 PM by Library and Archives Moderator


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 20 December 2013 02:43 PM     Archives  

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