The Skempton and Bishop Archives

Professor Alan W. Bishop
Landmark Years 1920 - 1945

Alan Wilfred Bishop was born at Whitstable on 27th May, he was e
ducated at King's College School, Wimbledon and the University of Cambridge, where he was a senior scholar at Emmanual College and took the 1942 Mechanical Sciences Tripos.

His first appointment was as an engineer with the Metropolitan Water Board; later seconded to the Building Research Station to work with their soils group.

Whilst at the Building Research Station he designed and built his own equipment for testing foundation soils and for taking soil samples. This early work typified the approach used by Bishop in that he always insisted that the best possible soil test data should be used in any analysis. If the apparatus available could not give the quality of data he required, then he simply devised and built equipment that would. Usually the apparatus produced was so much better than that currently available that the commercial manufacturers switched to his designs.

The combination of this practical ability with his capacity for analytical studies made him the obvious choice as the first member of the soils team which Professor Skempton set up at Imperial College.

Professor Alan W Bishop

click to enlarge

Automated stress path
testing equipment
designed by Bishop

We gratefully acknowledge permission granted by
the Institution of Civil Engineers
allowing us to reproduce items from their journal "Geotechnique".
For more information contact
College Archives, 455 Sherfield Building, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ
Tel: 0207 594 8850 Email: Fax: 0207 594 8872