John Fleetwood Baker

The Baker Years

Many look on the ‘Baker years’ as the transformation of the Department in terms of research. A Structures Research Laboratory was set up in 1944, where work on the plastic theory of structures continued, together with research into residual stresses in welded joints, brittle fracture and fatigue.

Baker Building South Wing

Baker Building South Wing, CUED

The site of the Welding Institute at Abington (now TWI), about 7 miles south of Cambridge was bought in 1946 to accommodate this research into welded structures, and Dr Richard Weck left the Department to become its Director.

This can be considered the first ‘spin-off’ from the University, and the start of what is now referred to as the Cambridge phenomenon.

Baker was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1956, knighted in 1961 and made a life peer in 1977. He accumulated numerous academic honours during his lifetime and joked in later years about whether he could acquire gold medals faster than grandchildren.

Recommended Reading

Royal Society Biographical Memoirs. John Fleetwood Baker, Baron Baker of Windrush. By J Heyman. 1985