Twort, Frederick William

  • Twort, Frederick William (1877-1950)
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The material here consists largely of papers of Twort or about him, mainly his work at the Brown Institution. The bulk was arranged in files created by his son for the purpose of writing a biography. It includes: laboratory notes and correspondence, etc from the period 1903-1950, including correspondence on the study of bacteriophages.



Physical description

3 boxes


Most of the material was in post files, from which items have been removed and placed in acid free folders but otherwise kept together. Some slight rearrangement of the experimental notes in B.3 was undertaken to restore the sequence. The material relating to his wireless research, B.2, was loose in a file. One file of loose material labelled 'Various papers and letters', which includes career items, testimonials, congratulatory letters, and general correspondence with colleagues, associates and friends, has been sorted into several files now listed in Section A. The sections are as follows: A Personalia B Research C Case against the Medical Research Council

Acquisition note

These papers were received in Oct 1993 from Dr Antony Twort, the son of FW Twort, and an additional accession in May 2003 from the same

Biographical note

Twort went into research shortly after he qualified in medicine in 1900. In 1909 he was appointed Superintendent of the Brown Institution in South London, a post he held until the building was destroyed during the Blitz in 1944, apart from a period of service in Salonika at the Base Laboratories during World War I. In 1929 he was elected FRS and in 1931 the title of Professor of Bacteriology was conferred on him by the University of London. He did important work on the bacteriophage and was involved in controversy with Félix d'Hérelle over priority in research findings. Twort's research interests were wide and included developing improved wireless reception and work on removing impurities in latex. Described in an obituary as an 'erratic genius' he was no stranger to controversy, criticising his military superiors during his war service and initiating a legal case against the Medical Research Council when they terminated their funding to the Brown Institution. Details of a biography of Twort by his son are given below.

Related material

At Wellcome Collection: PP/COL, PP/CRA, PP/GSW, PP/HAR, PP/VAN, SA/AMC, SA/HIS, SA/LIS, GC/4, 12, 33, 70, 130, 170, 177, 180, 200, 221, 278, RAMC, WA/BSR, WA/PHO.


Permanent link


Accession number

  • 854
  • 1157