November 8, 2012, by Malvika Johal

Is this lovely man our oldest alumnus?

By Simon Harvey

It’s that time of the year when Vic Taylor puts on his University scarf and his University-branded fleece to keep out the cold weather. Vic has a strong affinity with The University of Nottingham.

Such a desire to wear his University colours would not be a surprise in itself, especially if he’d just graduated, but Vic’s loyalty to Nottingham goes way deeper than that. A former President of the Students’ Union, Victor Harold Taylor graduated from Nottingham in 1939!

So the obvious place for Vic and his family to come back and celebrate his 95th birthday was lunch in the Trent Building at the University of Nottingham. Seeing him chatting to his modern equivalent as head of the Students’ Union was quite something – their periods in office separated by some 70 years and yet they immediately had so much to talk over.

Astonishingly, we had a photo of Vic during his time as SU President as he once responsible for greeting the students from Goldsmith College’s teacher training department in London after they were evacuated to Nottingham in 1939.

When he began at University College, Nottingham (as it was then) in 1936 there were just 800 students of whom 600 were men. There were just two men’s halls of residence, Lenton and Mapperley and Florence Boot Hall for women. Vic met his wife Win at the University as so many couples have done over the years. She completed a three-year physics degree in just two years.

With the outbreak of war Vic and Win’s plans to pursue careers in teaching evaporated never to be revisited. But both enjoyed top Government jobs – Vic seconded to undertake top secret work for the Admiralty during the war and after being the only civilian scientific advisor to Lord Mounbatten and Chiefs of Staff, and Win working on top secret radar developments.

I had the pleasure of visiting Vic at his home in Derbyshire recently and spending some time in his company. I sincerely hope that I’m as sprightly and that I have his power of recall when I’m his age.

Many happy returns once again Vic and come back and see us soon.


Posted in Remembering Nottingham