Tony Benn at Winfrith

Jessie Fry with a pipe-smoking Tony Benn at Winfrith in 1969

NEW ERA: Prince Philip at Winfrith AEE for the opening of the Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor. He is pictured with UKAEA chairman Dr John Hill, board member Jimmy Stewart and, far right, Tony Benn, Minister for Technology

The Queen at Winfrith AEE in 1969 shaking hands with director Donald Fry. Tony Benn, the Minister for Technology, is on the right

First published in News

FOLLOWING the death of Tony Benn last Friday, March 14, Looking Back reader Peter Fry contacted us with a series of photographs from his past.

Peter’s father Donald was the director of the Atomic Energy Establishment at Winfrith in the 1960s when Tony Benn was Minister for Technology.

As such, he visited the centre with Prince Philip for the official opening of the steam generating heavy water reactor on February 23, 1968, and again, on an official visit, with the Queen and Prince Philip on July 11, 1969.

In one photo, Mr Benn can be seen smoking his trademark pipe next to Peter’s mother Jessie.

Peter said: “At lunch after the visit, my mother sat next to Tony Benn and I remember her saying how he became quite agitated towards the end of the meal because he wanted to light his pipe. He kept asking her if it was all right for him to smoke!”

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