Exhibition of first University spin-out. Pic supplied

New History of Science Museum exhibition marks 60th anniversary of first University spin-out

 2 mins | By Gill Oliver
 |  | Nov 26th 2019

A new exhibition at Oxford’s History of Science Museum marks the 60th anniversary of the first Oxford University commercial spin-out company, Oxford Instruments.

The display, called People|Science|Business, is mainly drawn from co-founders Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood’s personal collection.

go deeper
Sir Martin developed the world’s first superconducting magnet in 1962, and his research led to the manufacture of the first whole-body Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner now used in hospitals all over the world.

Oxford Instruments, which floated on the Stock Exchange in 1983, is now an international company with a £334m turnover.

It employs almost 2,000 staff at its headquarters near Abingdon and other offices around the world, and has won 14 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

The Museum exhibition traces the story back to when the couple started Oxford Instruments in 1959, from the garden shed of their home on Northmoor Road in north Oxford.

From there, they moved to a series of premises around Oxford, ranging from a former abattoir to a boat house.

Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood. Pic: The Oxford Trust

The display also includes a section on the work of charity The Oxford Trust, which the Woods set up in 1985.

It runs tech and science event Venturefest, IF: The Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, the Enterprise Awards, the Oxford Centre for Innovation and The Wood Centre for Innovation at Stansfeld Park in Headington.

History of Science Museum director Dr Silke Ackermann said: “We are delighted to be telling the fascinating story of Oxford University’s first spin-out company and celebrating a 60-year history of scientific innovation.”

The exhibition runs until March 1, 2020. For more information, click here

About the Author

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver is a professionally trained journalist who’s written for The New Statesman, The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, The Daily Mail’s business section This is Money, The Press Association, The Huffington Post plus a host of national magazines, news agencies and trade and industry journals. She’s also spent nine years reporting on the Oxfordshire business and tech scene for The Oxford Times and The Oxford Mail.

Subscribe to our newsletter