1953 Birmingham University Chemists' 50th Anniversary Reunion, 2003

A reunion took place from the 4th to the 6th June 2003 of the chemists who had matriculated together in 1953 at Birmingham University. Here are a number of photographs and recollections, together with an account prepared by Derek Steele.

  Derek Steele's photographs

The reunion group, 2003      

    Sylvia William's  Photographs
(née Parkinson)
  Patricia Borrell's photographs       

  Neil Atherton's History  
  Patricia & Peter Borrell's
recollections and old photographs


Sylvia & Enid, 1953

Account from the Birmingham Magazine, Autumn 2003, prepared by Derek Steele

Fifty Years On; Reunion of 1953 Chemistry Freshers

Following a suggestion by Prof. Ernie Senogles a reunion was held from 4-6th July at the Apollo Hotel, Hagley Road, which is close to the University and Birmingham city centre. To our surprise we had located 38 out of the 45 who completed the first year, two of whom, Peter Thompson and Dr. Ted Williams had unfortunately died. Out of these twenty six attended, including three from overseas. Twenty one were accompanied by their partners. We began with a "meet and greet session", prior to a buffet meal held on the Friday evening. After, in most cases, such a long time of 'no see' it was with some trepidation that many of us came. After, in most cases, 47 years, recognition might have been expected to cause problems- if not due to ageing , then memory! In fact reunions went smoothly and with a lot of enthusiasm.
This was helped by the prior preparation of a booklet with autobiographies, not only those present, but also of several who could not make it. Photos were included.

On the Saturday morning most of the chemists visited the University Campus. Following short talks given by the Vice-Principal of the University and the Head of the School of Chemistry in the lecture theatre where we had our first lectures
in our undergraduate days, a tour of the Chemistry School took place. Lunch involved an exploration of our old haunts, such as the Gun Barrels (very much down hill!) This was followed by visits to the Lapworth Geology Museum and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

 On the Saturday evening the reunion banquet was held with Dr Jim Burdon as the after-dinner guest speaker. A great night was enjoyed by one and all. On the Sunday a farewell session was held over morning coffee. Of course the whole weekend was full of convivial reminiscing sessions involving varying groups and it is anticipated that these will continue post the reunion. A number of participants remarked that they had spoken to some of their ex colleagues more times during the reunion than in all of their three undergraduate years and certainly got to know them better!. Many friendships
were renewed and as far as we know all who attended considered this an excellent and enjoyable weekend.
The reunion booklet, mentioned above, featuring the collected career pathways of all the chemistry participants, was a memento of the occasion, but the best momento is likely to be the renewed friendships.

Noted added for web page
We are all grateful to Derek Steele and Ernie Senogles for the idea, the work that they put into making the arrangements, and for their role the all the events and arrangements themselves.