William Rede Hawthorne

The Dracone Project

Hawthorne became well-known for a project which began in Cambridge in 1956 and which led to the development of the Dracone flexible barge - a long plastic tube which, filled with oil, fresh water or other fluids, floats in sea water and can be towed These vessels, some over 300 ft long, were used all over the world, and were particularly useful at the time of the Suez crisis.

Dracone flexible barge Dracone flexible barge
The Dracone flexible barge

Soon after he became Head of Department, Professor Hawthorne was appointed Master of Churchill College. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1955 and knighted in 1970. A member of the Pentacle club, Professor Hawthorne was well known for performing magic, and is remembered to this day by the kitchen staff as 'the man who made cheese rolls come out from behind his ears'.