September 3, 2015, by Rose Bramwell

Back to the Future!

For those of you that have been around Chemistry this summer, you  can’t have failed to notice the building works. For those that haven’t been in the School of Chemistry recently, the C floor is having a multi-million pound makeover.

UONCHEM 20.12.58

These works have prompted me to look into the history of the School of Chemistry and with some fascinating pictures from the archive, I now have a new found respect for this building. I used to look at it as one of the dated buildings on University Campus but now I feel that the School of Chemistry is a fundamental and iconic building at The University of Nottingham.Pictures below are of the original Arkwright building and the land before the School was constructed.UONCHEM 1881







So here’s a quick low down of the construction history of the School of Chemistry.From the founding of the University in 1881, Chemistry was originally located in the in Arkwright building, now known as Nottingham Trent University’s School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment. However, due to the large influx of students after the war the Department of Chemistry was relocated to the Trent Building and surrounding huts. I learnt in an article from in 1962 by Prof Addison, the original plan was to create an East Midlands University, but the ideas were scrapped due to commitment issues from the surrounding authorities.  The current building was completed in 1960 by Costain (these guys were the lead contractors for the Thames Barrier) and was designed by the architect Sir Basil Spence (famous for designing Coventry Cathedral).

Here is an image of researchers in the lab, 2 of whom happen to be smoking pipes :(.UONCHEM 1932














The department during the move in to the new building was managed by A. W. Johnson, with sub Management from Dan Eley (Head of Physical Chemistry) and Cyril Addison (Head of Inorganic Chemistry) all pictured here in the front row of this photo taken in 1957.













The pictures found were quite interesting in comparison to the building works going on now. We can see the comparison of time gone by. For example, Health and Safety which seemed non-existent back in 1959 (no hard hats, smoking on the job). We did come across this beauty which looks pretty similar to a picture taken back Martin Dellar of C Floor back in July, actually 2 weeks to the date that the first photo was taken in 1959.


UONCHEM Comparison

I’ll be putting some of these pictures on the shared drive for everyone to have a look at in their spare time. There are photos taken every month or so of the construction, some can be seen below.

UONCHEM 06.04.59UONCHEM 10.07.59.UONCHEM 20.05.60UONCHEM


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