Category: College History

Imperial College TV Studio: 1970 film

This post is a real example of something I thought, like many videos, was lost for ever. Just for fun, back in 1970 I shot some black and white 8mm film of the fledgling TV Studio. We had the ability to add an incredibly small magnetic stripe to the edge of the film allowing us to create a sound track. It’s all rather amateur because I had to record the track in ‘real time’ and put it directly onto the sound stripe, hopefully in sync with what was happening, as far as the pictures were concerned that is.

old-studio-1968The film gives a behind the scenes view of what we had then created in the studio. We had little or nothing to work with and the original cameras were basic to say the least, but we managed. That’s me in the picture on the right with one of those cameras. You’ll see the array of old monitors and the Ampex video recorder too. Nothing really exists from that period except the rare recording with former Rector Lord Penney. I did however shoot some film from the TV screens and although there’s a strong flicker it does at least record what was going on.

The film captures the changes into something that was to become more like a TV Studio. I had the film, but had never bothered to try to get it on video. When the studio closed in Feb 2007 most of the equipment was put into a skip, but I made sure I kept the Eumig 8mm sound projector as this would be the only way to play back the sound track. This actual projector was used to record the track in 1970. I never thought I’d be able to rig it all back up and get the sound track off, but I did. A little bit of modern post production has improved the sound a little. So, here for the first time in 46 years is that film which captures another small part of the Imperial College history.

Colin Grimshaw November 2016

Mathematical Evidence: 1998

whiteheadThis is another presentation recorded on 29 January 1998 at the Chapman/Whitehead Memorial Meeting. Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947) and Sydney Chapman (1888-1970) were both former heads of the Mathematics Department during the 1920’s.

Philip Davis gave the A.N.Whitehead (photo right) Lecture entitled Mathematical Evidence. Davis is known for his work in numerical analysis and approximation theory, as well as investigations in the history and philosophy of mathematics.

 

 

South Kensington Campus: 1992

This 24 year old video will bring back memories for those who can remember Imperial’s South Kensington campus before all of the rebuilding work and many changes began. Back in late summer 1992 I shot some stock footage around the campus for inclusion in videos we were currently making. This is just a small selection of campus views and I intend to find others, shot prior to this current video.

Who knows, you could be one of the people seen walking along the old walkway from the Exhibition Road entrance. You’ll also see: Dalby Court as it was before the ‘blue box’ Faculty Building, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering as well as the old steps up from the pavement on Exhibition Road prior to the new main entrance.

I’ve not added anything to the sound track, so what you’ll hear are the sounds of Imperial as well as the sights.

Colin Grimshaw September 2016

Morphy Day: c 1972

A recently discovered 8mm colour film of Morphy Day from around 1972. It was shot for inclusion in the STOIC news programme TOPIC. The original videotape has long since been erased, but this film survived. Although we didn’t have colour TV equipment at the time, the only method of recording events was to shoot them on film and in this case it was in colour. Morphy Day was in fact the actual boat race, seen very briefly at the start of the film, afterwards the traditional ‘battle’ also took place on the Putney tow path. Here then is Morphy Day seen for the first time in colour since the film was shot.

Colin Grimshaw August 2016

Croquet at Imperial: 1972

Topic 1971I recently discovered this 8mm colour film shot for inclusion in the student news programme TOPIC. No programmes from that period remain and the one photo we have, on the right, shows me during a recording of that programme in 1971. This is, as far as I know, the only record of Croquet being played at Imperial. I’m not sure in which month of 1972 this was shot, but it’s either early summer or autumn. What I do know is that it’s the late Professor Bernard Neal (former head of dept civil engineering) playing. According to the Imperial obituary “…He was also an accomplished sportsman captaining Cambridge at tennis and excelling at croquet, playing for Great Britain and winning the All England Club’s men’s singles title 38 times.”

In June 2011 the BBC had a web page all about his croquet abilities saying “…He has won more Wimbledon singles titles than Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe combined, and yet you have probably never heard of him. That is because 89-year-old Professor Bernard Neal from Cheltenham is not a tennis player but a croquet player…”

Colin Grimshaw July 2016

From the Arithmometer to Electronic Arithmetic – 1998

On the 29th January 1998 a series of presentations and talks were given during the Chapman/Whitehead memorial meeting. One of these presentations was given by Anne Barrett from the Imperial College Archives. Her presentation was “From the Arithmometer to Electronic Artihmetic – The History until 1955.

Alfred North Whitehead was Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College 1914-1924 and Sydney Chapman was Professor of Mathematics 1924-1946.

Anne also mentions the construction, by college members in the 1950’s, of the Imperial College Computing Engine the ICCE 1.

Colin Grimshaw – May 2016

HM Queen opens College Block: 1969

A sad reminder of how we are slowly losing access to audio visual materials is the 1969 royal opening of what was originally called College Block, but is now known as Sherfield Building. Queen 1969 The event was covered on silent 16mm film. Once it was edited, we added a sound track to the film along with a commentary. Sadly the sound is on an unusual magnetic track format along the edge of the film and I’ve not succeeded in finding a facility to make a transfer into digital form (and at a cost we might agree on).

The one clip I have is from an early transfer I made myself onto videotape, but has since itself now disappeared. This clip was incorporated in a compilation video I made for the college archives, so only exists because of that tape. So, here is all we currently have of the full 16mm film, unless YOU know a way that we can get it transferred, preferably at no cost! The photo was taken many years ago from part of the actual 16mm film.

Colin Grimshaw March 2016

Leslie Croker: 1978

Leslie Croker came to work in the Chemistry Department of Imperial College in 1926 as a lab boy. In 1949 he was made a Laboratory Superintendent for the Physical and Inorganic chemical laboratories and later in 1956 for the entire Department of Chemistry.

He was greatly involved in the training of technicians at Imperial College (and in London in general) and talks about this in the video.

Colin Grimshaw February 2016

Star Wars comes to Imperial: 1977

Mark Hamill 3 38 years ago on 15 December 1977 Mark Hamill visited Imperial College to promote the forthcoming release of a new film. That film was Star Wars. We were lucky to get him to visit the TV Studio (then in Electrical Engineering Building) as part of the publicity rounds to promote the film. I suspect we’d never get a look-in these days, but back then no one had heard of the film and they needed every drop of publicity. Coming to the studio for the STOIC interview was closely timed because we’d been informed that he was next going to the BBC TV Centre for a live appearance on Blue Peter (the Children’s TV Show). The photo on the left was taken in the studio at the time of the recording. He was talking to James Sinclair who also happened to be the STOIC chairman at the time.

The day before the Mark Hamill recording we had also managed to get Gary Kurtz who was the producer for the first film and whose name seems to have almost disappeared when the film is mentioned these days.Gary Kurtz 1 Sadly this interview is one of those programmes now frozen in time on the old Ampex A format one inch videotape which sadly we cannot now play without a machine and those are now rare. We were still a few years away from moving into colour so the Mark Hamill interview is in black and white. For copyright the film clips are removed.

Because of the “Imperial Storm Troopers” and the fact that Mark Hamill was coming to Imperial College we bought him a T-Shirt. He proudly and immediately put on the Imperial College T-shirt and said he would wear it on Blue Peter, which he did a few hours later. He signed my autograph book “Galactically Yours, Mark Hamill”. Here then is the Imperial College connection to Star Wars from December 1977.

 

We made use of  the initial studio recording right away, but it was not ‘edited’ to neatly included the films clips until a later date. When you hear the reference by James to ‘earlier this year’ he’s referring to the academic year, which starts in October.

Colin Grimshaw December 2015