The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 139, 31 March 2004
£76m centre for clinical imaging«
Tribute to miracle miler Sir Roger«
Harriet’s prime howler!«
International student awards«
Making a grand entrance«
Lowering blood pressure«
It’s a bug’s life«
Will powers IC Trust«
We’re on the map«
Britain the ‘tobacco control time-warp’«
Cutting carbon emissions«
When too much competition can prove unhelpful…«
Emotional intelligence scrutinised«
Move to new headquarters«
Staff Pay and Grading update«
An international night to remember«
Water way to make a splash at College…«
Science soirée at Silwood«
Snap happy…«
In Brief«
Media Spotlight«
What’s on«

Tribute to miracle miler Sir Roger

A 50th ANNIVERSARY tribute to the man who ran the ‘miracle mile’ opened on 10 March, writes Tanya Reed.

image: Sir Roger Bannister

The £250,000 Sir Roger Bannister Lecture Theatre at St Mary’s Hospital was packed with wellwishers awaiting the man who made it all possible. Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the world’s first sub four minute mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds on 6 May 1954, was clearly moved by the reception that rose to greet him as he took to the floor.

“This is an overwhelming occasion,” he said. “The St Mary’s scene has been my life for 50 years and I am touched it has decided to honour me in this way with such a wonderful theatre. I remember the Dickensian theatre here before which was so high at the back, you suspected you'd suffer from vertigo.

“When I came to do medical work here, I was was swiftly engulfed in a heady atmosphere of work, sport, theatre and opera — I cavorted on stage with wobbly scenery, nearly-fitting costumes and moustaches which kept coming unstuck. The Queen Mother laughed from start to finish at our performance of Gilbert and Sullivan.”

Sir Roger did pre-clinical studies — psychology and research — at Oxford before moving to St Mary’s Hospital Medical School on an open and state scholarship in 1951.

He worked as a consultant neurologist at St Mary’s Hospital and the Western Ophthalmic Hospital from 1963 to 1985 and subsequently became a consulting neurologist. He also chaired St Mary’s Hospital medical committee from 1983 to 1985 and has been a trustee of the St Mary’s development trust since 1994 and its chairman since 1998.

Rector, Sir Richard Sykes, added: “Sir Roger has a long and impressive association with St Mary’s as student, athlete, researcher, consultant and trustee.

Not only is this theatre named after him, it is decorated with memorabilia celebrating his great achievements, including a portrait of Sir Roger, commissioned by the St Mary’s campus dean and painted by Humphrey Bangham.

“A framed photograph of Sir Roger being carried by his fellow St Mary’s Hospital Medical School students on the morning after his historic run, together with the stopwatch marking the time of that record breaking run are also on display.

“The St Mary’s development trust has generously supported the refurbishment of non-research space, something which is often neglected in major national funding initiatives, and which has a direct impact on the needs of the students studying at this campus.”

Designed to seat 70, the theatre has been fully equipped with modern audio visual equipment and flip-up cinema style seating, 10 per cent of which is set up for left-handed people.

The building forms part of a £30 million refurbishment of the former medical school building, much of which has been spent on research space.

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