Mary Stopes-Roe was born in 1927, the second child of Barnes Wallis. Her two brothers (Barnes and Christopher) have now passed away, leaving Mary and her sister Elisabeth. Mary is the President of the Barnes Wallis Foundation as well as being a Trustee.
Mary remembers, at the age of 14, helping her father’s experiments with marbles, a tin bath, and a catapult on the terrace at the Wallis family home in Surrey. She keeps in touch with veterans of 617 Squadron – now a diminishing group. Mary has extensive archives of papers and artefacts, many of which are housed at museums around the country (Brooklands, RAF Museum, etc). Mary also has extensive archives at the Stopes-Roe family home.
Mary held academic posts in Social Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She edited the extensive pre-marital correspondence between Barnes and her mother Molly in the early 1920s which (for Molly’s father’s sake) took the form of a correspondence course in mathematics, but which covered for dozens of charming love-letters. This was published as Mathematics with Love in 2004.
Mary married her late husband Harry Stopes-Roe (son of the birth control pioneer Marie Stopes, and nephew of the pioneer aviator Alliott Verdon Roe) in 1948. She has lived in the family home in Birmingham since 1958, and has four children, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.