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Dr Bernard Atkinson

(Chemistry, 1944, PhD 1951)
Dr Bernard Atkinson remembers Imperial College in the 1940s, including a student food protest

This photograph, taken in 1944 or 1945, reminds me of my time at the College.

I think women were excluded from the bar for something like 60 years, however there was one exception. The bar was managed by Jimmy Peacock, the Clerk of the Works, and at times his daughter, known as Queeny, ran the bar. Jimmy Peacock and his wife also ran the Union Refectory; during the war the food there was notably bad.

Early in June 1944, there was an organised student protest against the quality of the food provided by the supplier, Doubleday. The call was ‘Today is D Day. Today refuse your Doubleday’s Meat Pie and sausage’. Except for the weather it perhaps would have been!

As President of the Royal College of Science Union (1943-44) and a member of the Refectory Committee, I met most of the management of the College. I remember Miss Sherwood who manned the College switchboard with good humour and remarkable calm through the air raids, including one in which the bombs straddled the Beit Building and destroyed the Maison Française. The Secretary, Colonel Lowry, found flying bombs quite unbelievable.

  © 2007 Imperial College London

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