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Imperial College 1910 - 1920


1911 - Roald Amundsen Reaches the South Pole 1911 - Roald Amundsen Reaches the South Pole
Roald Amundsen raised the flag of Norway at the South Pole at approximately 15.00 on 14 December 1911, one month before his competitor Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen and his crew returned to their base camp on January 25, 1912, 99 days and 1,860 miles after their departure. Scott and his men did not survive their return journey.

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1912 - The Titanic Sinks 1912 - The Titanic Sinks
On the night of April 14-15, 1912, Titanic struck an iceburg whilst on its maiden voyage, with a loss of over 1500 souls. The disaster ranks as one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history. Titanic's design used some of the most advanced technology available at the time and the ship was popularly believed to be "unsinkable."

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1914 - Beginning of WWI 1914 - Beginning of WWI
World War 1 was fought between the Allied Powers (Britian, France, Russia, Japan and Serbia, who were joined in the course of the war by Italy, Portugal, Romania, USA and Greece) against the Central Power (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria.

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1914 - First Use of Poison Gas as a Weapon 1914 - First Use of Poison Gas as a Weapon
Germany was the first to make large scale use of gas as a weapon, although France deployed some tear gas grenades in 1914. On 31 January 1915, 18,000 artillery shells containing liquid xylyl bromide tear gas (known as T-Stoff) were fired on Russian positions on the Rawka River, west of Warsaw during the Battle of Bolimov. Instead of vaporizing, the chemical froze, completely failing to have an impact.

The deadly poison gas, chlorine, was used for the first time by the Germans at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915.

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1916 - The Battle of the Somme 1916 - The Battle of the Somme
The Battle of the Somme was planned as a joint French and British operation to relieve pressure on Verdun, whose defence had nearly destroyed the French army. On 1 July 1916, the allies advanced from their trenches, over a 20 mile front. By the end of the first day, one third of British troops were casualties (58,000).

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1918 - The Armistice 1918 - The Armistice
By the beginning of 1918 the tide of world war 1 turned and the German armies began to retreat. Demoralised German workers, suffering from food and fuel shortages, threatened revolution at home. German leaders feared a communist take-over and eventually asked the allies for peace. The armistice went into effect at 11am on 11 November, 1918.

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1910 - City & Guilds Delegacy 1910 - City & Guilds Delegacy
Incorporating the City & Guilds College into Imperial College involved altering the Charters of the City & Guilds of London Institute, City & Guild College’s parent body and Imperial. The C&G Delegacy replaced the temporary committee of management set up by the City and Guilds of London Institute until satisfactory negotiations regarding control were completed.
The City & Guilds Delegacy was the outcome, comprising 19 members from the CGLI, the Goldsmith’s Company and Imperial’s Governing Body. It was responsible both to the CGLI and Imperial’s Governing Body for the administration of the C&GC. As all engineering subjects were deemed part of the C&GC, an Engineering Board was set up to advise Imperial’s Board of Studies.

Sir Walter Prideaux 1846-1928 Knight clerk to the Goldsmith's Company, was one of the first members of the Governing Body and the Delegacy, serving 1907-1919.

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1912 - Bessemer laboratory opens 1912 - Bessemer laboratory opens
Bessemer Laboratory for Metallurgy funded by the Bessemer Memorial Fund, opened in 1912. It was established at the same time as the drive for a College such as Imperial and so deemed an integral part of the new institution.

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1913-14 - Beit Buildings completed 1913-14 - Beit Buildings completed
The original Students Union building in the north of the quad was designed by Sir Aston Webb and built in 1910-11. The idea for a building came from Sir Arthur Acland, a member of the governing body. He saw the need for a place in which students could meet and develop a collegiate social life. Sir Arthur 'emphasised the value in the life of students of a spirit of good comradeship, without which a student career was of little account'.

The east side was designed to house the departments of botany, plant pathology and physiology and was completed in 1914.

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1914-18 - The College at war 1914-18 - The College at war
By the outbreak of the First World War, there were approximately 900 students in college. Three hundred of them volunteered for war in 1914, joined by 60 staff members.

The South Kensington site was affected by the commencement of hostilities with buildings commandeered for war billeting of soldiers and military work. The War office pay office took over the top two floors of Goldsmith's extension and RSM rooms and the Army Pay Corps Machine Gun section commandeered the RSM examination hall. Admiralty Inventions & Research Board took over the Engineering Structures lab & hydraulics lab in Goldsmith's.

The Admiralty commandeered the Physics workshop for bomb sighting research. The Air board (royal flying corps) took over the Huxley building drawing office and printing press. The Air Ministry also operated from the engine testing house resulting in complaints of noise from their neighbours.

Irish and Scots Guards Reservists also billeted with soldiers were billeted in RSM.

Listen to Mrs Phoebe Arnold in a 1965 interview talking about the college during the first world war.

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1914-18 - Scientific contribution to the war effort 1914-18 - Scientific contribution to the war effort
The College's most significant contribution to the First World War came from its inventions and scientific advances made throughout the war. Official badges were issued to those engaged in war work. Just a few examples follow:

Alumni also contributed to the war effort:

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1917 - Technical Optics Course established 1917 - Technical Optics Course established
The first technical optics course in the world was established in the Imperial Physics Department, developed partly in response to World War I and the need for the development of technical optics in the UK after reliance on German technology until the war.

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1919 - Founding of Imperial College Boat Club 1919 - Founding of Imperial College Boat Club
The Imperial College Boat Club was founded on 12 December 1919, with Charles Bristow beginning a life long association with the Club. The club developed from a union of the three constituent College boat clubs.

The Club's first win at the Henley Royal Regatta came in the 1923 Wyfold Challenge Cup.

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1910 - Sir Alfred Keogh (1857-1936) 1910 - Sir Alfred Keogh (1857-1936)
Sir Alfred Keogh KCB, GCB, GCVO was the second Rector of Imperial College.

Keogh was educated at Queen’s College Galway with an MD from Queen’s University of Ireland 1878. Keogh worked at Brompton Hospital for Consumption and the Army Medical College Netley. A surgeon in Royal Army Medical Corps, Keogh became Surgeon General in 1904, re-organising the Royal Army Medical Corps. Keogh was involved with precursor of Territorial Army, the Territorial Force and became Director General of the Army Medical Service in 1905 until 1910 when he became Rector of Imperial.

He was known as a genial Rector with progressive ideas of pastoral care, the role of women in professional life and academic work. He asked Martha Annie Whiteley to set up a Women’s Association for the women students and staff at Imperial.

Keogh was recalled to the army by Kitchener 1914 to take charge again of military medical needs during WWI. One of the innovations he instituted was a hospital run entirely by women medical staff for military personnel in Covent Garden. His faith in the hospital was proved by its success; it closed only in 1919 when it was no longer required.
Keogh kept in touch with Imperial during his absence, sending a message of good wishes for the launch of the new Journal The Phoenix on January 30th 1915. Staff and students supported him by collecting for a new portable x-ray machine for military use. He came to College to accept the gift stating that it would be attached to No 15 General Hospital which was leaving for France that day, December 3rd 1914. That the collection took only a few days demonstrated the high esteem and affection that the College held Keogh.

Keogh returned to the Rectorship following the war until 1922.

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1910 - Francis Herbert Bramwell 1910 - Francis Herbert Bramwell
Francis Herbert Bramwell was awarded the first grant for study in aeronautics engine research at the National Physical Laboratory, partly funded by the Women’s Aerial League.

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Frances Mary Gore Micklethwaite (1909) Frances Mary Gore Micklethwaite (1909)
Frances Micklethwaite ARCS, MBE, FIC, FCS joined the RCS in 1898, remaining Private Assistant to Dr G.T. Morgan, a chemist until 1912. She was awarded a Beit Memorial Fellowship for Medical Research in 1914. After working for Boots' Pure Drug Company, Micklethwaite became Principal of the Horticultural College in Swanley, Kent - the first horticultural college in the world for women, between 1920 and 1921. Swanley merged with Wye College in 1945.

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Arthur Holmes (1890-1965) Arthur Holmes (1890-1965)
Holmes came to Imperial in 1907 to study Physics. In his second year he took a course in geology and decided to become a geologist. He graduated in 1911.

Whilst still an undergraduate studying the age of the earth, he undertook radiometric dating of rock specimens in the first such experiment known.

In 1912 he joined the staff at Imperial (as a Demonstrator), where he also obtained a PhD in 1917. He published the world renowned book The Age of the Earth in 1913, in which he estimated the Earth's age to be 1.6 billion years. This brought him recognition as an geochronologist, though his dating of the earth was questioned by geologists at the time. During his career he held a Chair in Geology at Durham before being appointed Regius Professor of Geology at Edinburgh. Holmes later refined his estimate of the age of the earth. In 1946 he announced that the earth was at least 3 billion years old and probably older. An age of 4.5 billion years is now accepted.

Holmes led the subject of continental drift, propounding the theory in his book Principles of Physical Geology.

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Alexander Eugen Conrady (1866-1944) Alexander Eugen Conrady (1866-1944)
Conrady became Professor of Optical Design in the new Technical Optics Section of Physics in 1917. Conrady frequently made his own instruments to his specifications. His daughter Hilda married Rudolf Kingslake who had been one of her father’s students. Rudolf set up the Technical Optics department at Rochester University. He and Hilda completed the 2nd volume of Conrady's book, Applied Optics and Optical Design, as Conrady died before being able to finish it. This volume was published in 1969.

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Sir Richard Glazebrook (1854-1935) Sir Richard Glazebrook (1854-1935)
The first Chair of Aeronautics in the UK was created in 1919, the Zaharoff Chair of Aviation, which was held by Richard Glazebrook.

Educated at Cambridge Glazebrook studied optics under James Clerk Maxwell and worked with Lord Rayleigh at the Cavendish Laboratory, becoming Director in 1891. Between 1898 and 1899 he was Principal of University College Liverpool. He moved to the National Physical Laboratory as Director in 1899, remaining there until taking the Zaharoff Chair.

During his time at the NPL he was a member of Imperial College Governing Body and took a great interest in the development of courses. He set up training opportunities at the NPL for students, supported by grants from the Women's Aerial League.

Glazebrook was President of the Physical Society from 1903 to 1905 and first President of the Institute of Physics.

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