Christ Church Chemistry Affinity Group Committee


Minutes of the Second Meeting

th May 2014, 5.30 pm, The Dodgson Room, Christ Church



Present: Martin Grossel (1973), David Franks (1973), Ann Holloway (1989), Judith Fox (1989), David Dunmur (1959), Ian Jones (1964), Graham Allatt (1967), Will Peveler (2007), Alex Robinson (2002), Kiri Stevens (2004), Tristan Smart (2006), Richard Wayne (1965), Fiona Holdsworth (1981), George Marston (1980), Sarah Allatt (1986).

Apologies: Alex Ashcroft (1985), Charlie Vincent (2000), Craig Mills (2001), David Wheeler (1978), Irene Leung (2003), Leia Clancy (Development Office), Mike Tuddenham (1983), Simon Hall (1975), Tony Law (1965), Alex Drong (2006), Nick Allen (1979), Sean Murray (2000).



1. Welcome and Matters Arising

Martin Grossel welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Information regarding the location of Christ Church Chemists was circulated by Fiona Holdsworth and was discussed.

It was agreed that there should be discussion about the sorts of events that might appeal to different age groups.

The publication of the minutes on the Christ Church Chemists’ Forum was highlighted.



2. July 5th Event


The July 5th event would be going ahead as planned. The Lee Building and the Masters’ Garden had been booked. (The Governing Body has a right to veto the use of the Masters’ Garden. However, on this occasion both the Masters’ Garden and Lee Building were available.) Some concern had been expressed about staffing issues for tea and refreshments, but the Steward had been informed that only hot water, plates and cutlery were required.


The idea of basing the day on an “Alice in Wonderland” theme had already been suggested, and it had now been discovered that July 5th was “Alice Day” in Oxford. Christ Church had a specific Alice display planned for the Picture Gallery that day which people attending the Affinity Group event might like to visit.

Plans for the day were discussed. These included picnic lunches (which those attending would bring), competition events for children, and tea in the Lee Building. Families would be welcome but the numbers involved should not be allowed to get too big and it might be necessary to impose a limit on numbers attending and a cut off date for registration. Activities that might form part of the day included a photography competition, a treasure hunt, a croquet competition, and other garden games. The JCR/GCR croquet sets might also be used. It was suggested that people might enjoy the opportunity to go punting.

ACTION (Martin Grossel): To investigate possibility of access to College punts on the day.

Questions were raised about the cost of the event and food. If tea was to be provided there would need to be some sort of charge for the event. It was therefore decided to charge £5 per adult and £1 per child to cover the cost of tea. It was noted that these charges should only be to cover costs as the financial implications for attending the event would be substantial for some. Any surplus generated should form a small float for future events. The possibility of some sort of tax on events in general was discussed.

There was some discussion concerning the provision of music for the event and it was agreed that any musicians who performed should receive some form of recompense. Alex Robinson and Will Peveler agreed to discuss music for the day and to contact Judith Fox and Ann Holloway.

The Part II students had agreed to help on the day – they would still be in Oxford waiting for their vivas.


Martin also pointed out that Allan Chapman would be delighted to give a talk for a chemists’ event, including the one on July 5th.

Registration for the event would be via the website.



3. Regional Events


There was to be an Old Member event on the 12th and 13th July at Alnwick Castle. Martin Grossel would consider attending that event and exploring the possibility of it being the first regional event.


David Dunmur also mentioned a regional event in York.


The extent to which regional events could become “chemists’ events” was discussed – should there be a minimum number of chemists attending? Attendance should be borne in mind when organizing any regional events.

Will Peveler had recently visited the RI and thought it a wonderful space and worth considering as a venue – it was agreed to explore possible contacts at the RI (and the Science Museum) The possibility of a regional event in London, especially for younger people, was discussed, a small number of people having specifically requested events in London. It was agreed that this should be explored.

It was also noted that Old Members are particularly keen to return to Oxford and particularly to Christ Church.


4. 2015 Dinner Update


It had previously been agreed to try and have 2 dinners every 5 years. Good times of year for these dinners were thought to be early July and the end of September. In the New Year, just before term starts, would also be a suitable time. It was agreed that alternating between a summer dinner and a winter event was a good idea.


The Committee was still waiting to hear about availability for the summer 2015 dinner, but were hoping that the next big event would be in July or September 2015 in any case.

ACTION (Martin Grossel): To discuss potential dinner dates with the Steward.

Other future events were also mentioned. These included a Christmas party (2014) in London and something for January 2017. Possibilities such as talks and guest speakers were mentioned, and it was noted that Friday and Saturday nights are preferred by most people, although Friday can be difficult for working people who need to travel.


Lectures are good and well received and it was suggested that these could be extended to include music. A display of posters from Part IIs and graduate students could also be of interest. Archival displays could be discussed with Judith Curthoys.


Martin Grossel noted that he was also interested in the history of Dr Andrea Angel, who taught chemistry at Christ Church and was posthumously awarded the Edward Medal, having been killed in the Silvertown explosion in 1917. Martin had made connection with the family and suggested that Affinity Group members might be interested to learn about the role that Christ Church Chemists played in WWI and about the Silvertown explosion. It was agreed that there is interest in this topic, about which Martin is currently writing.


5. Graduates

Fiona Holdsworth explained that the Committee currently have details of 48 non-gremial graduates. These are people who only did postgraduate work at Christ Church. A survey asking for their views would be sent out to them shortly organised by Dr Craig Mills. Whilst some of these people may have come from other Colleges within Oxford, their association with Christ Church Chemistry made them eligible Affinity Group membership though some separate events might also be appropriate for them.


6. Christ Church Chemists’ Web Forum


It was reported that Dr Biggs had very kindly set up a web forum for the Affinity Group. Committee members were asked to access the forum and register on it, adding information about themselves. It was felt necessary to ensure that only chemists sign up to this resource – Peter was currently acting as moderator for the forum, and an “unsubscribe” option should be available. A “help” button was also requested.




7. Funding and Membership


The question was raised as to whether everyone is automatically a member of the Affinity Group or whether there should be a mechanism for signing up to the Group. Should there be an option to opt in or out? There are people who have given their details to Christ Church but who have said they do not wish to be contacted.

At the moment communication was still going through the Development Office, who had sent out a general note about the July 5th event. It was agreed that we must be mindful of data divulgence issues, though at some point perhaps Fiona Holdsworth would have a list of Affinity Group members’ details and we could contact people directly without imposing on the Development Office.


It would also be good to “catch” the undergraduates as they leave – each year could be approached as they reach the end of their course.


It was agreed that a tax on events would be appropriate, as would, maybe, a future subscription.



8. Next Steps


(a) The Summer Event would be held on July 5th.


(b) A meeting would be held in September to review the July 5th event.

(c) Any further ideas should be submitted to Martin Grossel or Fiona Holdsworth.


9. A.O.B.

It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on Saturday 27th September 2014.