April 23rd, 2015
In this blog entry I’m bringing you the oldest moving images that we have of an Imperial event. We are very fortunate to have a 1928 16mm film that an unknown person shot of both Morphy Day rowing at Putney and also of Sports Day, which is thought to have been held at the Chelsea Football Club grounds at Stamford Bridge. In 1920, Arthur Morphy had presented a cup for an eights race between the original three constituent colleges. Competition for the Morphy Cup became an important annual event in college life. From looking at the film, we can only assume that this was shot before the rivalry became common at Morphy Day between the colleges, that saw flour and eggs being thrown around on the tow path. None of that appears on this film. Interestingly, we can also assume that the film was shot by somebody who was not a student at the college, because when you look at the film the word Morphy is spelt incorrectly. Arthur Morphy’s Son attended City and Guilds (1917-1920) and went on to co-found the company Morphy Richards. Ted Coulson, seen in the second sequence of Tug-of-War and in the picture on the right, was the City and Guilds team coach. If you have any further information to fill in the gaps about this film then please do get in touch. We’d love to know who shot the film and why.
Colin Grimshaw April 2015
April 1st, 2015
If you saw the May 2013 blog entry you will have been taken back to 1982 with a video made in the Chemistry Department’s laboratory teaching video series.
These were designed to show students a definitive version of a laboratory experiment or technique. In this example we recorded a video to show how to correctly seal an Ampoule. Apparently too many mistakes were being made by students when trying to understand how to complete this task and therefore a lot of glassware (and chemicals) were being thrown away. With the video at hand, students could play it as many times as they needed and thereby get the hang of the techniques involved with the process.
So here then is Dr Derek Wollins back in 1984 showing you how to Seal an Ampoule.
Were you a student in Chemistry and did you watch this and other videos during your lab sessions? Do let us know if this was the case.
Colin Grimshaw April 2015
March 24th, 2015
Mr Lee served as Singapore’s Prime Minister for 31 years from 1959 to 1990, later becoming Senior Minister and Minister Mentor. During this period, Imperial and Singapore forged a wide range of education and research ties and in 2002 the College recognised Mr Lee’s extraordinary achievements with the award of the Fellowship of Imperial College at a graduation ceremony on its annual Commemoration Day.
On the eve of the ceremony, Mr Lee took the chance to reminisce about his first visit to London as a student in 1946, sharing some of his characteristically forthright views on Britain and the world at a special dinner for over 600 Imperial alumni, staff, students and friends held in the Natural History Museum’s Dinosaur Hall.
In 1965, when Singapore achieved independence, 19 Singaporean students attended Imperial. Today the College educates 400 Singaporean students, has a 2,000-strong alumni community, and Imperial researchers publish hundreds of joint papers with partners in Singapore.
The College’s ever growing ties with Singapore culminated in the establishment of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), a joint medical school between Imperial and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which welcomed its first students in 2013.
In October 2014, Singapore’s President Dr Tony Tan visited Imperial as part of his first UK State Visit, going on to lay the foundation stones for new buildings at LKCMedicine in January 2015.
March 2nd, 2015
The second and final IC Newsreel was recorded on 2 March 1970. It was shown, like the first programme, at lunchtime the following day in the Junior Common Room in College Block (Sherfield). This final programme was a bit different and had a scoop too. Prior to the main recording, the Yugoslavian Prime Minister was visiting Imperial College and we were able to get the departure of him, his Police escort and his entourage. Andy Finney and Vivienne Taylor stood outside the mechanical engineering building to cover the event, even though this was not originally their intention for being there. Andy was on a very long-range radio microphone and we used the longest lens possible on the camera, which (along with a second camera) was located on the third floor of the electrical engineering building. Because we had no way of inserting the item into the actual forthcoming news programme, Andy had to pre-record the item as it was happening, and we ran the item before the main program started. Not the conventional way to make a news program, but at least it was new and it was unique for that time. The news item by Andy is then followed by what was called a ‘crash’ edit (stop recording then restart again) so there are a few wobbles on the screen before the main programme starts.
Included in the programme were interviews with the three main candidates for the election of IC Union President. The first ever recording of this type. Judith Walker won the election and became the first female in the role. She talks to Vivienne Taylor, also seen in IC Newsreel Number 1.
Just as we had ended the main recording and faded to black, the current Union President Piers Corbyn asked to be able to say a few words. So, following yet another crash edit, we faded back up and sort-of started again. The reason for these types of stops and start edits was because we only had one Ampex Videorecorder and that could not actually edit anyway.
Sadly no photos were taken at the time of these two news programme recordings, only the videotape survives, which is rare. The upper photo is of the TV studio in the late 1960’s and the lower, is just before the Philips Videorecorder, seen in the photo, was replaced by the Ampex, which was used to record the two IC Newsreels. The opening coverage of the Yugoslavian Prime Minister’s visit also gives the original view across Dolby Court, all the way from Electrical Engineering to Mechanical Engineering, a view now lost forever with the creation of the Faculty Building.
Colin Grimshaw March 2015
February 17th, 2015
Recently digitised from the video archive collection is the very first news-magazine programme made by the student TV service, STOIC. 45 years ago on the 17th February 1970 an experimental programme was made to ascertain the feasibility of producing such a news programme on a weekly (or at least a regular) basis. At this time, STOIC used the TV studio facilities of the Electrical Engineering Department, as seen over in the right hand photo and with me operating a camera.
The original plan was to produce a light hearted and simple programme, reflecting what was currently happening in and around college. However, at 10am on the morning of the recording on Tuesday 17th February, the Pro-Rector Lord Jackson (1904-1970), who was also Professor of Electrical Engineering, died. Plans were immediately changed and his colleague, the Head of the Electrical Engineering Department Prof John Brown (seen on the left in the video) appeared to pay tribute. This itself is a unique recording, having been made within hours of Jackson’s death.
Although this was only a trial programme, some effort had been put into trying to make it look as professional as possible. A filmed report (on 8mm film) was shot at a Touchstone weekend being held at Silwood Park. Piers Corbyn, the controversial students union president (1969-1970), appeared in an interview. Another filmed report was on the first major event to be held in the then newly opened College Block (now renamed Sherfield Building). The programme was presented and linked together by Vivienne Taylor who went on to present a local TV programme on London’s Thames Television.
The programme was shown the following day (18th February) in the then new Junior Common Room in College Block. A copy of the original flyer can be seen below. It’s amazing the recording has survived all these years. The original one-inch Ampex videotape still exists, but only because I had given STOIC the videotape to record on, with the very intention of it being kept for posterity and 45 years later, I’m glad I did! If I hadn’t, then like many BBC videotapes, it would have been erased and used again for another programme.
Colin Grimshaw February 2015
February 4th, 2015
This presentation was recorded on 29 January 1998 at the Chapman/Whitehead Memorial Meeting. Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947) and Sydney Chapman (1888-1970) were both former heads of the Mathematics Department during the 1920’s.
The presentation is by Walter Hayman and consists of personal recollections and memories. Hayman joined the college in 1956 and was appointed to a chair of Pure Mathematics. He retired in the 1980’s and is now an Emeritus Professor in the department.
Colin Grimshaw February 2015
January 25th, 2015
On the 26th November 1997 a bust of P.M.S. Blackett, sculpted by Sir Jacob Epstein, was unveiled in the Blackett Laboratory to mark the centenary of Blackett’s birth. Patrick Blackett was head of the Department of Physics from 1953 to 1963 and was responsible for the design of the Physics building (since renamed the Blackett Laboratory). He was awarded a Nobel prize for research carried out while he was at the Cavendish Laboratory. He later became president of the Royal Society and a life peer. Talks about Blackett were given at the ceremony by Sir Bernard Lovell and Norman Barford. The bust, which is located in the main entrance hall of the Physics building, was unveiled by the president of the Royal Society, Sir Aaron Klug.
We have no moving images or sound recordings of Blackett in the Imperial Archives. I have found what must be one of a few moving images of him on the British Pathe web site and you can see that short clip below, but even then he’s mostly in the background.
During the unveiling ceremony there were speeches by Sir Bernard Lovell, Norman Barford and Sir Aaron Klug who then proceeded to officially unveil the bust which was mounted in the main entrance of the building.
Colin Grimshaw January 2015
January 12th, 2015
Just made available on Imperial’s YouTube channel is a new archive interview between Professor Lord Robert Winston and Emeritus Professor Robert Spence. This is the second in a series of Academic interviews with current and past members of Imperial College London. I’ll say no more about the video as it’s mostly self explanatory. To see all of Bob’s videos featured in this discussion simply click on his name in the text above.
Colin Grimshaw January 2015
January 1st, 2015
Proving extremely popular are the videos and films made with Professor Eric Laithwaite. In this blog I’m pleased to be able to bring you one of several films that were in the personal collection of Eric Laithwaite and that I was lucky enough to be able to secure in the Imperial Archive after he’d died.
Engineering the Hovertrain was made in 1972 by the then, Central Office of Information. It’s about the only real example of the creation and operation of the experimental hovertrain vehicle the RTV31, seen running on the test track that was built in the UK.
Colin Grimshaw January 2015
December 17th, 2014
This is the first in a series of interviews with leading academics from Imperial College London. The aim, is to gain an insight into the person and also the work that they are carrying out at the college. Our first interview is with Professor David Phillips who came to the Department of Chemistry at Imperial in 1989 from the Royal Institution. There, he was deputy to the Director, Lord George Porter; who prior to David, had also come to work at the college in 1987. At Imperial David held the Hoffmann Chair and his work studied the fluorescence in biological systems. He later became the head of the Department of Chemistry (1992-2002).
David is well known for his lively and entertaining lectures, normally ending with very loud bangs and flashes. You can see Chemical Christmas Crackers, one example, or a even Little Light Relief, both on our YouTube channel. In 1987 David jointly presented that years Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, entitled Crystals and Lasers.
For this interview, Professor Lord Robert Winston talks to David Phillips about his life and work.
The next video in this series will be Robert Winston talking to Professor Robert (Bob) Spence.
Colin Grimshaw December 2014