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Peter Clark

(Metallurgy, 1945)
Peter relives somes of his student memories from the 1940's at the Royal School of Mines (RSM)

Royal School of Mines Dinner, 1948I arrived in London on 28 September 1945 for the college start on 2nd October. I had not realised how close was the Royal Albert Hall; that night I attended my first concert at the RAH. There was the function later in 1945 attended by the King and Queen. I remember the King and Queen dancing amongst the students after they were supposed to have left. It made a great impression.

The Bessemer lab and the gold recovery exercise, casting ash trays in aluminium but no copper smelting as there was no fuel for the reverbatory. It did not matter as I obtained that experience after graduation. It seems such a pity that it all had to be swept away.

Physical Metallugy Lab, 1947Royal Schools of Mines in 1945 was such a small place, not much over 100 students, everybody knew each other and the staff. Professor Yeomans gave me a ticket to Covent Garden for the Magic Flute. The contact with staff and students was enhanced by the Easter geology trip, the Easter factory visits and the lab work. The compulsory industrial practical each summer provided a great background for the future.

Royal School of Mines Dinner, 1948Music was important to me and I joined the University choir. I sang the carols in St Paul's each December. My last concert was in the Central Hall Westminster in June 1948 with the LSO and the late Owen Brannigan. We sang Verdi's Requiem and Kodaly's Te Deum.

And Guy Fawkes Night! I bet the current students cannot get up to the pranks we did. They included stopping traffic on Kensington Gore, annoying the taxi drivers and having a bonfire on the road underneath Prince Albert's statue!

Royal School of Mines fancy dress ball, 1948There have been many memories since graduating as well. I vividly remember my astonishment bumping into Jalil Hassani in the AIOC (now BP) Abadan (Iran) drawing office shortly after I arrived there in March 1950, I had last seen him in the Guilds. In 1974, I bumped into another old student from the Royal School of Mines in the San Francisco Engineers Club. I recognised him from his tie. We currently have local active Imperial and Royal School of Mines associations and I enjoy the meetings.

I last visited RSM was in 1999 and I had a meeting in what had been Professor Dannat's study but now desecrated; to me wanton destruction.

My career has wandered across multiple areas of engineering through some 30 countries. I have always believed that the very broad and rounded training I received at RSM has been absolutely invaluable and here I am 80 in August this year and still working.
RSM long may you continue.

  © 2007 Imperial College London

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