December 9th, 2012
In December 2010 former student Brian May revisited Imperial College London as part of a BBC documentary programme retracing the early life of members of the group Queen. The documentary was called ‘Queen – Days of Our Lives‘ and was aired on BBC2 in May 2011.
There does not appear to be much in the college about his time as a student, but I did find an interesting early reference to his involvement with Queen in the Felix archive. See the top of page 6 for a review of their album “Queen II” and note the reference: “…it is very unlikely that they’ll ever need to have connections with their previous vocations again.”
In the same article it referred to Queen’s Imperial concert in the previous term and I have found the advert for that event. I think 30p was reasonable admission to see what would become a World famous group!!! If you click on the photo it will enlarge full screen. Read the rest of this entry »
December 3rd, 2012
Only recently I remembered that I had a copy of an old 45rpm disc. It was called IC for sale Vol 2. It was given to me by Richard Woodhead (one of our students) around about 1972 so that’s over 40 years ago now. What I had forgotten was that it contained some unique sounds of Imperial College. It has great recordings of the three college unions C&G, RSM and RCS chants plus the Imperial chant Hey Vivo which I can’t recall the last time I heard it. The 45rpm disc -or any tape recording of it- do not exist in the main Imperial College Archive, so I’ll be putting a CD of it in there soon. I have found a review and reference to the original first pressing of the disc in the searchable newspaper PDF archive of FELIX May 1965. See page two at the top called ‘Gateway to Industry’.
Also, if you know Imperial from far enough back you will remember the City and Guilds building clock and bells (photo on the left). Or if not, you will know that the clock mechanism relocated to the Mechanical Engineering Building foyer (photo at bottom) some time after the original buildings were starting to be pulled down in the late 1950′s.
The bells were moved (photo on the right) way up on top of the building overlooking, what was, the green Dalby Court area. This is now where the Faculty Building is located. The bells would ring the quarters, half and so on and could be heard throughout most of the college area. I gather that regular mechanical & electrical problems caused the demise of the chimes! But, these can once again be heard on the disc. Read the rest of this entry »
November 27th, 2012
In February 1969 the then Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey made a visit to Imperial College. From the 3rd to 6th of February he had several engagements at Imperial. But the most important to us was a special televised event at 12noon on Tuesday 3rd when Sinclair Goodlad hosted “Face to Face” in the fledgling TV Studio, then located on level 3 of Electrical Engineering. The programme was relayed live to many locations as well as recorded onto videotape. As you will already suspect, that videotape was lost a long time ago.
What we have left is one black and white photograph taken at the time. But, I did happen to have my 8mm cine camera loaded with film and had it with me on the day. The fragment of 24 seconds of colour film is therefore all that remains of this important day. I did manage to find a reference to his visit in the archive collection of Felix, the Imperial College student union newspaper. The file will download as a PDF and look at the top of page 3 for the article.
Colin Grimshaw November 2012
November 16th, 2012
If you are new to the blog or perhaps arrived via the Alumni web page, you might have missed some previous gems. If you go back further to earlier entries you will find some memories of Imperial College captured on videotape. One such recording is the only interview we have with Victor Mooney (Died on December 27th 2012 aged 89), college catering manager from 1953 to 1985.
He was a major figure in college life, especially with the student’s phrase “Going for a Mooney”, which meant going to the refectory for a meal of some kind. Do you remember the Upper and Lower Refectories in Southside? How about WAITRESS service in part of the Refectory in Sherfield? And also a time when the JCR eatery was still called the “Buttery”!
I have now managed to clean up the quality of the recording which was made in November 1979, just prior to us going into full colour. Here’s Victor Mooney, in the College TV Studio, talking to STOIC regular presenter Dave Ghani.
If you have any film or photos of the college eating places in use during the years before say 1970, then please get in touch. Please also add comments or memories of eating at Imperial
Colin Grimshaw November 2012
November 5th, 2012
In “Promotion: 1″ (March 2010), I mentioned the Civil Engineering and Chemistry Departments. In June 1981 I was asked to take on the task of making a promotional video for the Chemistry Department.
This was intended to promote all aspects of what the department did and to assist in the recruitment of new students. I also recall it being shown at Open Days which seemed obvious . Two members of the staff were appointed as ‘producers’ so most of the content and the wording of the voiceovers was decided for me. Looking back at the video over 30 years later it has too much in it. The history section seems unnecessary and there’s too much detail in the various elements featured. It runs for nearly 20 mins which is about two thirds too long in todays modern YouTube video world. Leave them wanting more is the theory, not wanting to leave the room as soon as the video has eventually finished! This was one of two videos made for the department, the second being made four years later in July 1985. It’s worth noting that both of these videos were made using our original colour camera. It needed massive amounts of light (as mentioned in the Library video) and suffered ‘smearing’ on highlights, the colour itself was none too brilliant either! Read the rest of this entry »
November 1st, 2012
In recent months, whilst the blog has been on hold, I gather there has been great interest in the late Professor Eric Laithwaite’s research work. To see all the videos available that feature him, you may wish to go to the Imperial College YouTube Archive Playlist.
Some while ago I came across footage of the experimental tracked hover train that was built at Erith in the UK. He had expanded his original designs of the Linear Motor, with support from a government grant of £5 million. The result was a prototype for the world’s first magnetically levitating train. The ‘Tracked Hovertrain’, as the prototype was called, was a high-speed, wheel-less vehicle which was propelled by the force of a magnetic field. Early trials of Laithwaite’s model looked promising with the prototype reaching speeds of up to 100mph, yet in 1973 the government cancelled the project, blaming high costs for little return.
I know very little about the project, but after the Government brought it to a halt there were bitter exchanges between Eric Laithwaite and Government Ministers. Around 1974 Eric Laithwaite asked me to make a recording (in audio) -in his own words- of what really happened; who said what and why. In front of me, that audio tape was put into an envelope, sealed and signed and was then to be held in his bank until his death. That tape DID surface again after his death, I personally unsealed it and transferred the contents into digital form! I did not keep a copy of this tape or digital transfer. Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2012
Once again we are in October and it’s time for the Graduates to visit the Royal Albert Hall for Imperial College’s Commemoration Day.
This brief entry is to remind you of the post I made two years ago this month. That post contains all that we have in terms of archive audio/visual material relating to the ceremony. Most importantly, of course, we do have the sound recording of King George 6th from 1945. And to just repeat myself: The October Commemoration Day graduation ceremonies recall the visit made to the College by King George 6th and Queen Elizabeth in 1945, on the centenary of the foundation of the Royal College of Chemistry, Imperial College’s oldest forerunner.
You will also read in that previous entry about the difficulties associated with the transfer of these original sounds recordings from 78rpm discs and ‘paper’ magnetic tape. Both are now saved into digital form.
Colin Grimshaw October 2012
October 21st, 2012
In the entry “Promotion: 2 – Mathematics” I made reference to the videos I had made in conjunction with the London Mathematical Society (LMS). These came about for two reasons. Firstly we had made the departmental promotional video, as seen in that previous blog. This was not a huge success and we needed an alternative way to promote the department. The second reason was that a member of the Maths Department was connected with the LMS, who ran their Popular Lectures at Imperial College each year. He asked if I could record these lectures when they were taking place. As most people who know me will know, I am never very keen on the ‘live’ recording of lectures or presentations. This is because I would have no control over them and couldn’t start or stop the event to get the best version for the recording. After all, if you are going to watch a video of a lecture, you want to see it at its best AND be presented to YOU, not a group of people you can’t see or interact with. If you have ever watched the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures then you may appreciate the great control the TV broadcasters have over its content and tight scripting. Any mistakes or problems are taken care of at the time of the lecture and if needs be everything is stopped. Read the rest of this entry »
October 18th, 2012
This is the first blog entry since it restarted earlier this month and we’re going to look back to the summer of 1979.
One of the first programmes we made in colour was a guide to the Life Science Library. That was 33 years ago in August 1979 and colour was so new that we didn’t even have a colour logo caption at the start, in fact it’s our original black and white logo. Interestingly, the video is a great snapshot of what libraries looked like and how they operated at that time. Card indexes were still the norm with microfiche readers being a new addition. There is also mention of having a literature ‘computer search’ carried out at a cost of around £5, a cost which was probably considered high at that time and would have been carried out by a librarian for you. One of the great advantages of us moving into colour was the fact that we were able to edit. Until then it was possible, but difficult and in black and white too. The video required a lot of different shots, like close-ups of index cards, so editing was an essential part of the production, in fact, without editing this programme could not have been made. Read the rest of this entry »
October 4th, 2012
I’m very pleased to be able to say that the Video Archive Blog has returned. I took early retirement in January of 2011 but have recently been asked to restart and update my entries. So, we can look forward to more videos that are currently held in the video collection. I’ll also be trying to sort out and access the 15 year archive collection from STOIC the Student TV of Imperial College. That collection dates from about 1970 to 1985, or there abouts.
Working from home (and sometimes from Imperial) I can now devote as much time as I wish to this Blog. There are so many videos just waiting to be seen again. In fact I already have a few Blog entries awaiting the click of a button to make them live. The most time-consuming thing is the transfer of videotape into a digital format. What I’m currently doing is to make a DVD in maximum resolution of the video, before creating an on-line video held on the server. The DVD is stored along with the original videotape to make access easier. But the problem is that a 30 minute video takes 30 minutes to copy into a new format. That can take a lot of time!
Anyway, keep looking to see what’s changed or been added and let me know if you have any special requests or material that would be of interest to Imperial College.
Colin Grimshaw October 2012