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Edwards Associated Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0014/EDWS AS

Scope and Contents

Material relating to Sir Robert Edwards.


  • Creation: 1978 - 2019

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Edwards was born 27 September 1925, the son of Samuel and Margaret Edwards. He was educated at Manchester Central High School, and the University of Wales, in Bangor, 1948-51, and the University of Edinburgh, 1951-57. In 1956, he married Ruth Eileen Fowler; they had five daughters.

On leaving Edinburgh, Edwards worked briefly as Resident Fellow at California Institute of Technology, 1957-58, then at the National Institute of Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, 1958-62, and at Glasgow University, 1962-63. In 1963, he became the Ford Foundation Reader of Physiology at the University of Cambridge. Edwards had begun work on fertilisation in 1955, and began his partnership with Dr Patrick Steptoe, a gynaecologist surgeon, in 1968. The first successful human test-tube fertilisation took place in 1970, though it was not until 1978 that Louise Brown, the first 'test tube baby', was born.

Edwards and Steptoe went on to found the first clinic for in-vitro fertilisation at Bourn Hall, Cambridge, in 1980, and Edwards served as Scientific Director of the Bourn Hallam Clinics in Cambridgeshire and London, from 1988 to 1991, also working as Professor of Human Reproduction at Cambridge, from 1985 to 1989. He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2010 and was knighted in 2011. He died on 10 April 2013.

Edwards's publications include: A Matter of Life (with P. C. Steptoe), 1980; Conception in the Human Female, 1980; (with C. R. Austin) Mechanisms of Sex Differentiation in Animals and Man; (with J. M. Purdy) Human Conception in Vitro, 1982; (with J. M. Purdy and P. C. Steptoe) Implantation of the Human Embryo, 1985; (with M. Seppälä) In Vitro Fertilisation and Embryo Transfer, 1985; Life Before Birth, 1989.


2 archive box(es)

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Other Finding Aids

Copies of this finding aid are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Professor Johnson and others between 2011 and 2020.

Related Materials

See also the Papers of Sir Robert Edwards (EDWS), the Papers of Patrick Steptoe (STPT), the Papers of Barbara Rankin (BARA) and Patient Pioneers Oral Histories (PPOH).


This finding aid was created by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in March 2011, with additions made by Madelin Evans in 2019 and 2020. Biographical information was taken from Edwards's entry in "Who Was Who, 1897 - 1996" (A&C Black).

2011-03-31 10:03:29.553000+00:00
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Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087