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Photographic collection of Tony Skyrme


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The collection comprises 8 albums of photographs and 3 of negatives and a few (unmounted) colour transparenices. The photograph albums are arranged roughly in chronological order. Album 1 records Skyrme's time in Los Alamos with other scientists working on the Manhattan Project after the detonation of the 3 atomic bombs. Photographs include the site and surrounding land, Dec. 1945-Jul. 1946. A few fellow scientists also appear. Albums 2-8 are mainly photographic records of travels while on holiday or attending functions. Album 3 is especially important because of his record of a skiing holiday with Rudolf Peierls in Saasfee, Switzerland, in April 1947, and fellow scientist, Klaus Fuchs, later exposed as a spy for the Russians. All albums benefit from detailed photograph captions with negative numbers and are often dated. Albums 9-11 contain negatives to most of the photographs preserved in Albums 1-8. Each negative is duly recorded in Skyrme's neat hand inside the cover of the negative album, then in more detail on inlerleaving between each of 6 sets of negatives, noting whether printed, printing 'stop' used and his judgement on the quality of the image. Precise dating is often given. Many negatives were never printed. Album 11 also includes unmounted, 'reject' colour transparencies taken during a world tour in 1959.


  • Creation: 1945-1961


1 Linear metre (15 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 13215 photogr. 1].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 13215 photogr. 1-15

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 13215


The personal albums of Tony Skyrme, containing photographs and associated negatives, Dec. 1945- May 1961

Biographical / Historical

Tony Hilton Royle Skyrme (1922-87) was a British theoretical physicist, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge. Initially recruited to work under the theoretical physicist, Rudolf Peierls of Birmingham University in 1943, he then followed him to Columbia University, New York and subsequently to Los Alamos in New Mexico to work on the Manhattan Project in July 1944, remaining there until Aug. 1946 after the work on the Atomic Bomb was complete. Though admitted as a research fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was actually based at the Dept. of Mathematical Physics at Birmingham University with a research fellowship from 1946-8. After short spells at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Institure of Advanced Study in Princeton, 1948-50, he moved to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, (then) Berks., working there from 1950-62, during which time his pioneering investigations into nuclear physics led to a 'Skyrme Model' and 'Skyrmions' relating to nuclear forces and particles respectively. He loved to travel before and after his marriage to Dorothy Millest, mainly travelling by car and camping. As a keen amateur photographer, he methodically recorded the flora, fauna and especially geological features wherever he went. For further details see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought, Modern First Editions, 1 May 2018.

Related Materials

The correspondence and papers (with supplement) of Sir Rudolf (Ernst) Peierls held by the Bodleian Library.

The papers of Tony Skyrme are held by Special Collections, Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham.

Catalogue of the photographic collection of Tony Skyrme
Colin Harris
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom