Brown Teapots, Wigwams and Frankie Howerd

Following on from the previous post about the Chemical Engineering students at the University of Birmingham I have a few more stores including one about Professor Garner from a student of the time.

One of the events arranged each year by the Birmingham University Chemical Engineering Society (BUCES) was a lecture by the head of department to the students. Professor Garner, as head of department, was given a choice of topics to speak on including the option to speak on English Delftware. He could not pass up this offer as he was a renowned expert on English Delftware and just published a book on the subject in 1948. The lecture included a display of Delftware on the bench in the main lecture theatre. One cheeky student decided to rearrange the display during the tea break. He inserted into the middle of the display a large brown china teapot which stood out from the rest of the fine examples of China on display. When Professor Garner returned he spotted the amended display and commented that ‘it is not a good example’ of Delftware.

The students had some fun when they participated in Rag Week. To raise money they  decided to camp in the centre of Birmingham and to make things a bit more interesting they erected a wigwam labelled chemical ingineers.

Frankie Howerd

The students also decided they would attend the pantomime one year staring a rising comedian of the time, Frankie Howerd. The students were known for heckling and the manager of Frankie Howerd made an agreement with them that they would not heckle if Frankie attended the Chemical Engineering dinner. Frankie kept his word and turned up but in not too good a mood…

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