Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Speaking Backwards at Christmas: 1974

Monday, December 18th, 2017

In previous posts I have mentioned the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures given by Professor Eric Laithwaite in December 1974.

I was involved with one of those lectures ‘Jam Tomorrow and Jam Yesterday’ which was lecture 3 in the series. During the late summer of that year Eric Laithwaite had approached me to discuss various ideas to do with things going backwards. He particularly wanted to play around with the idea of speaking backwards. These days you can very easily do such things on your computer let alone on a phone. I managed to find within our Electrical Engineering Department an audio/instrumentation recorder that was able to run backwards.

I asked Eric Laithwaite to call into the TV Studio so that I could demonstrate this to him. I recall us both playing around with speaking, or trying to speak, ‘backwards’ and then playing the actual tape backwards to see if it came out ‘forwards’. At one point he almost slid of the chair in hysterics at what sounds were coming out of the loudspeaker, some of which sounded very rude! He was sold on these ideas and I said that I would play around some more and make extra investigations. What I then decided to do was to create a tape with a sentence rather than just single words. It took ages to do and I had to cheat by editing a string of words together to create something special for the lecture. Over on the right is the original tape that was used in the lecture and now looking slightly aged.

When Eric Laithwaite heard my sentence he roared with laughter and said ‘right, I want YOU to present that in the lecture’. And so I was therefore seen presenting my achievement and also helping him during various sound recording experiments with members of the RI audience. I recall the first recording with the young boy who immediately turned his back on the cameras to face the tape recorder. The BBC floormanager then started to make furious gestures to me to get him to turn slightly so that the cameras could see him.

Five years later in his 1980 book, to go with the series, he gave me a most wonderful credit. “…Colin appeared ‘officially’ in the third lecture taking over part of the lecture in effect…”

And so, 43 years later, here I am speaking backwards at the Royal Institution.

Colin Grimshaw December 2017

ICU Sabbatical Officers: 1981

Friday, December 1st, 2017

In 1981, elections were due for the next year of Sabbatical Officers for the Imperial College Student Union. To assist people in deciding if they wanted to run for election, STOIC recorded interviews for the then current officers in post. John Passmore (ICU President), Rachel Snee (ICU DP) & Liz Lindsay (ICU Hon Sec) were all interviewed in their Union Building offices, rather than, as usual, the TV Studio. This is a wonderful snap shot of Imperial College student life, with the people currently doing union jobs recalling what they did during their one year in office.

Once more this was all shot in stunning black and white.

Colin Grimshaw December 2017

Michael Arthur – Welfare Advisor: 1979

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

38 years ago in May 1979, Michael Arthur held the post of Students’ Union Welfare Advisor. He later became College Assistant Secretary within Central College Administration.

Here he is talking to Paul Johnson about how to go about finding accommodation during the next academic year. Once again, this is an edition of STOIC’s Summer Lunch Break with an interview recorded in black and white, but with a colour introduction.

Colin Grimshaw November 2017

Commemoration Day Demo: 1979

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

In October 1979 Imperial College Students’ Union staged a series of protests against government education cuts. Occupation of the Senior Dining Room was one part of these protests. Another took place on Commemoration Day itself. Those who took part in the occupation, together with many others carrying placards and wearing black armbands, joined in a “Funeral March” following a black coffin, held aloft by six students, through the Beit building and on a journey around the Royal Albert Hall. Students were already leafleting the parents and other visitors to the ceremony in the Albert Hall.

STOIC were there to record the event and reporter Bob Powell spoke to a future ICU President John Passmore. Note that the incorrect name was used by Mike Prosser in the studio introduction to the news report.

Colin Grimshaw October 2017

Peter Mee: 2006

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Peter Mee graduated in economics from University College London. In 1959 he moved to Imperial as assistant planning officer, a position he held for eight years and in 1967 was appointed registrar, a post he held until 1996, then becoming College secretary and clerk to the governors until his retirement. In collaboration with John Smith, the then secretary to the College, he formed the Harlington Trust.

Consistent throughout Peter Mee’s time at Imperial had been his support of sporting activities. He had been president of the IC Union Football Club and chairman of the Harlington Athletic Ground Committee. And the boat named after him by the IC Boat Club has crossed the winning line twice at Henley.

This discussion between Peter Mee and Anne Barrett, the college archivist, was recorded in the college TV Studio in May 2006. It was used, in part, during Imperial’s centenary celebrations in 2007. This is the first time that the full interview has been made available.

Colin Grimshaw October 2017

Harvey Nadin – IC Radio: 1979

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

In 1979 BBC Radio London obtained a world record for broadcasting for 48 hours non stop. IC Radio were there as part of the attempt and Paul Johnson spoke to Harvey Nadin the newly elected IC Radio manager about this and his plans for the station in the new academic year. However, in January the following year (1980) Harvey resigned from his post. This could well be the only interview with him about IC Radio, unless I uncover something else!
Page 2 of the January 14th edition of the student newspaper FELIX has the report on his resignation.

Some of the tape has been damaged which you’ll see as lines running down the screen.

Colin Grimshaw August 2017

Centenary 10 Years On: 2007-2017

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Today marks ten years since the Imperial College Centenary Ceremony. If you click on the link in the previous sentence you can see the special page that was created with many memories contributed by past & present staff & students. See if you can spot my contribution too. But can you really believe it’s ten years since all the fun and games that marked the centenary of Imperial College from 1907-2007? The overall one-year celebration period was entitled “100 years of living science“. What you will see below are videos from that celebration period. However, in a previous blog I included the celebrations for Imperial’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee in 1957.

Things kicked off in the Great Hall on 30th January 2007 with the Rector Sir Richard Sykes giving his centenary launch lecture.

The highlight of the year was on 9th July 2007 when HM Queen attended the centenary ceremony in the college main entrance. We covered the event with three cameras running on wireless links to avoid any cables. This also enabled us to get shots from the pavement when Her Majesty, along with HRH Prince Philip, arrived and departed, in the royal car. You’ll see the latter at the end of the video. The whole ceremony was also relayed via a web-stream around the World, one of the earliest we had done. One of the cameramen got a lovely shot when the Queen was signing the visitors book just before her departure. Like many of these events you can plan well ahead, but at the time it happens you’ve not really had a rehearsal. As I always say about this type of event, you can’t ask the Queen to do a run-through and camera rehearsal for you! So, it’s nice when you can get some great unexpected shots as you’ll see in the video. Please note that unlike BBC broadcasts of such events, there is no added commentary.

A few days after the centenary ceremony a college-wide/campuses-wide staff party was held. On 11th July 2007 a party was held like nothing Imperial had ever seen, or has seen since for that matter. We covered that party during the entire time, as you’ll see in the video below, which was presented by Darren Queralt.

Because many people, including us, were actually working during the staff party, another event was put on at the end of the year in December. It was the Beach Party and here I am with my colleague Martin Sayers and Rector Sir Richard Sykes all trying to look like it was Summer, even though it wasn’t. And hey, I still had a video camera with me it seems! I must look for that tape…

Colin Grimshaw 9 July 2017

Mary Attenborough: 1979

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

In January 1979 a mass boycott was organised against the college increasing the price of food on campus. From the 26th January edition of Felix it was reported that:

“The Union is to organise a 24 hour boycott of Southside Refectory in protest against poor quality food and high prices.
The decision by Tuesday’s Union Meeting reverses the recommendation of IC Union Executive to postpone the boycott. Union President Mary Attenborough appealed for mass support for the boycott.”

Mary Attenborough was the 73rd Union President (1978-1979) and here, from May of 1979, she’s talking to Mark Foley about this and the possibility of the union setting up their own ‘snackbar’.

(This edition of Summer Lunch Break was one of the first to contain material originated from the college TV studio in colour, but as we only had the one colour camera multi-camera interviews continued to be recorded in black and white.)

Colin Grimshaw June 2017

Professor Dame Julia Higgins: 2015

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

This is one video in a series that we recorded called ‘Academic Interviews’ and it featured Professor Dame Julia Higgins.

Julia has been studying the behaviour of complex materials, particularly polymers, at Imperial College London since joining as a lecturer in the Chemical Engineering Department in 1976. Her research group specialises in the use of neutron scattering techniques to investigate polymer behaviour. She was appointed reader in 1985 and professor of polymer sciences in 1989.

She was elected Dean of the City and Guilds College from 1993 to 1997 and was appointed CBE in 1996. In 1995 Julia was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999. She was named a Dame in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Here, she is talking with Professor Lord Robert Winston.

Colin Grimshaw June 2017

HRH Prince Philip 1985 & 2007

Monday, May 8th, 2017

With the recent announcement from Buckingham Palace that Prince Philip will no longer carry out public engagements from this autumn 2017, I thought I’d look back at two visits by him.

Strictly speaking, the first one is not an actual visit to the campus but rather to the 1985 City and Guilds Centenary dinner held at the Guild Hall in London. He was the special guest and main speaker at the dinner and this was what he said.

During the Imperial College 2007 Centenary Celebrations a ceremony was held in the main entrance. The college conferred on Prince Philip the Degree of Doctor of Science. Lord Kerr was, at the time, Chairman of the Court and Council, the Rector was Sir Richard Sykes.

Colin Grimshaw May 2017