Tag Archives: imperial college

Birmingham Rag, October 1958


I’m not quite sure of the timeline here. I know my dad did National Service after he was at Imperial College, and I think that included a Masters degree.
But, now that he’s been demobbed, it looks like he’s back at university. I think he said once that he started on a PhD but couldn’t finish it as the grant ran out. So, I’m guessing that this is the PhD period, especially as it looks like he started a proper job in 1959.

"Sound Effects"

From the Imperial College Drama Society’s production of Dispersal.

It must have been really difficult to do sound effects for a play in those days, presumably before even tape recorders were widely available. I assume everyone does it from a laptop these days, with just a mouse click to kick off the relevant sound. Imagine trying to cue up records and start them off at the right point – not to mention stopping them in time as well.

"Bugs in Bed (5th floor)"

Another from Imperial College. Not a clue what’s going on in this one – it looks to me like someone’s been out on the sauce and has slept it off in the corridor. But, if that was the case, surely he wouldn’t have sheets, blanket and a pillow – not to mention an alarm clock on the window ledge.

Not sure who Bugs was, but judging by some of the captions on other photos, he might have been one of the rowing crowd rather than the drama society. Complete guesswork though, and I imagine we’ll never know the true story!
BTW, sorry for the gap in posting.

"Morphy Day, General Melee"

November 1955, on the footpath of the Thames
A bit of digging on t’interweb reveals that Morphy Day traditionally consisted of various bits of Imperial College (which was made up of the Royal College of Science, the City & Guilds College and the Royal School of Mines) having a flour and tomato fight on the towpath at Putney whilst the Morphy and the Lowry races took place between the three colleges on the river. Somehow I suspect the rowing wasn’t the most important bit of the day…

Commemoration Day, 1955


My father on graduation day (known as Commemoration Day), October 1955 at the Royal Albert Hall.

EDIT: Just found this in felixonline.co.uk (the IC student newspaper):

In 1945, King George VI and the Queen Mother visited Imperial College to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal College of Chemistry, the oldest of the institutions that were amalgamated into Imperial College in 1907. It was decided that this royal visit would be commemorated annually, and it is this ceremony, held in the Royal Albert Hall, at which Imperial undergraduate students celebrate graduation.

ICDS – Maidstone 1955

Similarly to the production that the Imperial College Drama Society put on in Cheltenham in 1954, they did the same in Maidstone in 1955.

Mr & Mrs Fletcher

Les and Ursula on stage

I think that the first shot is of the landlord & landlady in the pub that they adopted during their stay – there are several photos that appear to be in the pub.
I suspect that my father wasn’t acting in this particular play, as this was taken from above the stage. I don’t know what play they were doing – surprisingly enough his records don’t say.

I suspect the reason I never really became interested in the theatre (drawing a discrete veil over my appearance as a Munchkin) is that I was subjected to too much Shakespeare as a small child. My parents were (and my mother still is) long-standing active members of the Masque Theatre amateur group in Northampton, and they were always involved in the annual open-air productions. Being too young to be left at home, my brother and I spent many interminable summer evenings hanging around Abington Park trying to think of something interesting to do. We must have been too well brought up, as otherwise we’d have been off nicking hubcaps or something like that – although Abington is too nice a part of Northampton for that sort of behaviour thank you very much.

Rowing, 1955

Head of the River Race, 4th VIII throwing the boat.

Imperial College 3rd VIII at Walton Regatta, my father 2nd from right in the front row

Along with the Drama Society, my father also rowed for Imperial College, competing in the Head of the River race two or three times. I’m not quite sure how he managed to combine both of these activities along with studying for his degree, but he seemed to manage it!

Interestingly enough, three of his interests were photography, cycling and rowing – I do the first two and have done the third. Something went wrong though, as I’ve never been interested in the theatre.