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The Papers of Lord Todd

Reference Code: GBR/0014/TODD

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises notes, minutes and reports and correspondence with successive Lords President during the whole life of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy (ACSP) 1947-1964, of which Lord Todd was an original member and Chairman from 1952 onwards. There are papers relating to overseas research, scientific manpower, the "Brain Drain" and studies on natural resource research. There are also some bundles of papers of the Council for Scientific Policy (CSP) with which the Labour Government replaced the ACSP when they came to power in the mid-1960s. Lord Todd had declined to be a member of the CSP but agreed to be available to the first Chairman or any other member of the Government privately if they wanted his advice so all the CSP papers were sent to him for a few years until the arrangement lapsed.

Lord Todd was very much involved in the rehabilitation of the Beilstein Institute, Frankfurt and the Gemelin Institute, Frankfurt and there are interesting papers about this as there are, of course, about the Department of Organic Chemistry at Cambridge (of which Lord Todd was Professor from 1944 until 1971) and Cambridge University generally and also some papers about Christ's College, Cambridge, of which Lord Todd was Master from 1963 until 1978.

The papers also include material on Todd's honours, awards and academic achievements, some nuclear policy papers, Parliamentary and scientific committee papers, correspondence from the mid-1950's to 1995, administrative papers relating to Todd's various committees and academic posts, papers for Todd's biography of Sir Robert Robinson and his autobiography, lecture notes, speeches and articles, and a large number of souvenirs and photographs. Most of Lord Todd's many scientific and business interests are touched on in this collection and the range of topics covered is quite remarkable.


  • 1920 - 1996


Conditions Governing Access

Some files have been closed: please see individual files for details. The majority of 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

Alexander Todd was born in Glasgow [Scotland], on 2 October 1907, the eldest son of Alexander Todd, JP, of Glasgow. He was educated at Allan Glen’s School and the University of Glasgow. In 1937 he married Alison Sarah (died 1987), eldest daughter of Sir H. H. Dale, OM, GBE, FRS; they had one son and two daughters.

Todd's academic career included: Carnegie Research Scholar, University of Glasgow, (1928-29); University of Frankfurt [Germany] (1929-31); 1851 Exhibition Senior Student, University of Oxford, (1931-34); Assistant in Medical Chemistry, (1934-35), and Beit Memorial Research Fellow, (1935-36), University of Edinburgh; Member of Staff, Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, London, (1936-38); Reader in Biochemistry, University of London, (1937-38); Visiting Lecturer, California Institute of Technology, United States (1938); Sir Samuel Hall Professor of Chemistry and Director of Chemical Laboratories, University of Manchester (1938-44); Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, (1963-78) (Fellow, 1944); Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Cambridge, (1944-71); (first) Chancellor, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, (1965-91) (Fellow, 1990).

Todd was also Visiting Professor at institutions including: University of Chicago, (1948); University of Sydney [Australia], (1950); Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (1954). Other positions included: Chemical Society, Tilden Lecturer, (1941) and Pedler Lecturer, (1946); Meldola Medal, (1936); Leverhulme Lecturer, Society of Chemical Industry, (1948); Visitor, Hatfield Polytechnic [Herefordshire], (1978-86).

He was also Director of Fisons Limited, (1963-78), and President of the following organisations: Chemical Society, (1960-62); International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, (1963-65); BAAS, (1969-70); Royal Society, (1975-80); Society of Chemical Industry, (1981-82). He was Chairman of: the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, (1952-64); Royal Commission on Medical Education, (1965-68); Board of Governors, United Cambridge Hospitals, (1969-74).

Todd's honours and awards include: Fellowship of the Royal Society (1942); Lavoisier Medallist, French Chemical Society, (1948); Davy Medal of Royal Society, (1949); Bakerian Lecturer, (1954); Royal Medal of Royal Society, (1955); Nobel Prize for Chemistry, (1957); Cannizzaro Medal, Italian Chemical Society, (1958); Paul Karrer Medal, University of Zürich [Switzerland], (1962); Stas Medal, Belgian Chemical Society, (1962); Longstaff Medal, Chemical Society, (1963); Copley Medal, Royal Society, (1970); OM (1977); Lomonosov Medal, USSR Academy of Science, (1979); Copernicus Medal, Polish Academy of Science, (1979); Hanbury Medal, Pharmaceutical Society, (1986). He was knighted in 1954.

Todd's publications include his autobiography, A Time to Remember (1983), and numerous scientific papers in chemical and biochemical journals.

He died in January 1997.


245 archive box(es)

Language of Materials



The papers have been listed in the order in which they had been packed and Lord Todd himself provided a rather more detailed list of the contents of the first four boxes. There is also a detailed index by name and subject from which specific items or topics may be located.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London. Box lists to the papers can be consulted at Churchill Archives Centre.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Lord Todd and his executors in eight separate accessions between 1985 and 1997.


This collection (fonds) level description was prepared by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in July 2003, using information from existing box lists to the papers, and from Lord Todd's entry in Who Was Who (A and C Black).


Todd, Alexander Robertus

2003-07-15 08:50:52+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

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