Sir Harold Montague "Monty" Finniston
(1912–1991) was a British industrialist born in Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
Monty Finniston read metallurgical chemistry at Glasgow University, where he gained his PhD and then lectured in metallurgy. He spent the years of the Second World War in the Royal Naval Scientific Service. After the war he worked in Canada, and then was appointed Chief Metallurgist at the Atomic Energy Authority, Harwell. The years 1948-58 which he spent there were a time of rapid development of nuclear power. Finniston initiated and oversaw a wide-ranging research programme into the many metallurgical problems associated with nuclear reactor design, involving uranium fuel elements, their light alloy cladding, and reactor containment vessels.
In 1958 moved to north-east England to become Director of the Nuclear Research Centre newly founded by the Newcastle electrical engineering firm C. A. Parsons
C. A. Parsons and Company was a British engineering firm which was once one of the largest employers on Tyneside.-History:The Company was founded by Charles Algernon Parsons in 1889 to produce turbo-generators, his own invention. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the company was producing...
. In the early 1960s, when enthusiasm for atomic power waned, he persuaded Parsons' board to convert the Centre into International Research and Development Ltd. (IRD), a wide-ranging contract engineering research company.
He was Vice-President of the Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...
, 1971-2. He became chairman of British Steel
British Steel was a major British steel producer. It originated as a nationalised industry, the British Steel Corporation , formed in 1967. This was converted to a public limited company, British Steel PLC, and privatised in 1988. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index...
in 1973, and was knighted in the same year.
In 1977 the government, in response to complaints from industry about a shortage of qualified engineers, invited Finniston to set up a committee of enquiry into British engineering. In 1979 the committee delivered the "Finniston Report", which addressed the concerns that engineering was of relatively low status in the UK. One of the main recommendations was that universities should offer engineering degrees (BEng and MEng) rather than just science degrees (BSc). This report also led to the establishment of the Engineering Council in 1982, and WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) in 1984.
In 1981 he founded the Prison Reform Trust
The Prison Reform Trust was founded in 1981 in London, England by a small group of prison reform campaigners who were unhappy with the direction in which the Howard League for Penal Reform was heading, concentrating more on community punishments than on traditional prison reform issues...
Later he became Chancellor of Stirling University.
- Video interview
- N.J. Petch, FRS, "Sir Harold Montague Finniston", Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 38 (Nov., 1992), pp. 132-144.