Christ Church Chemists’ Affinity Group Committee


Minutes of the Fourth Meeting

th January 2015, 5.30 pm, The Dodgson Room, Christ Church



Present: Martin Grossel (1973), David Dunmur (1959), Richard Wayne (1965), Alex Robinson (2002), Will Peveler (2007), Fiona Holdsworth (1981), Judith Fox (1989), Ann Holloway (1989), Allan Chapman, Graham Allatt (1967), Sarah Allatt (1996), Kiri Stevens (2004), George Marston (1980).

Apologies: Alex Ashcroft (1985), Ian Jones (1964), David Franks (1973), Tony Law (1965), Simon Hall (1975), Charlie Vincent (2000), Craig Mills (2001), Mike Tuddenham (1983), Sean Murray (2000), Tristan Smart (2006).



1. Welcome


Martin Grossel welcomed everyone to the meeting and congratulated Allan Chapman on his recent award of the Jackson-Gwilt Medal.



2. Minutes & Matters Arising


1. The Oxford and Cambridge Club.


Allan explained to us that he was participating in a chemistry event at the club during the week and there was mention that we might use the Club for future events.


2. The July 5th event.


Details of the finances from this event have now been finalised.

Revenue from ticket sales: £254 (£240 from adults, £14 from children).
Expenses incurred: £110 (£90 for cakes, £20 for tea, coffee, milk, etc).

The water left out on the day will not be charged for.

The event therefore made a profit of £144. This money is currently “held” in the Development Office and will need to be “withdrawn” in some way.

ACTION (MCG/FJH): Martin and Fiona to liaise with the Development Office about wrapping up this event and transfer of money.


The need to establish a mechanism by which Affinity Group finances are managed by the Group itself was discussed. It was also noted that we have successfully run an event that has made a small profit and have therefore shown that it’s possible to do so.




3. Regional events.


Portsmouth. Simon Hall has contacts in Portsmouth that could still be investigated. Martin Grossel has links with the Mary Rose Trust and Portsmouth Grammar School. The School is very accessible and has a lovely new sixth-form centre and the Mary Rose Trust would offer an interesting place to hold an event. HMS Warrior would also be a splendid location for an event on the South Coast and is lovely between Easter and October. It is, however, moderately expensive so people would have to be charged accordingly for an event such as a buffet on the deck of the ship. It might also be possible to use the School for an event and then to visit the ship afterwards.


ACTION (MCG): Investigate possibilities at Portsmouth Grammar School and find out what the charges would be at the Mary Rose Trust. – MCG to find out what they’d charge us.

4. The Hooke Anniversary event will be discussed later in item 5.


5. Intern events.


David Dunmur raised the matter of intern events in order to keep them on the agenda. Fiona pointed out that the Christ Church Association has run a number of evening sessions in the past but they have been very badly attended.

It was suggested that Fiona and Martin could look at the full list of chemistry alumni and draw up a list of those who might be invited to speak to current students. Martin has no doubt that he could get chemistry undergraduates to attend. Events dedicated exclusively to chemistry with old members might be more attractive to students, and it was suggested that Part IIs and DPhils could also be invited. There should be a balance of old members both with and without DPhils – there are many people who have successful careers outside of academia and could provide information not usually available to students. Wine could also be provided!



3. Funding, Membership Fees, and Bank Account


Setting up a club or society bank account is relatively straightforward. However, we do need a proper structure in place. We should have a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, auditors, a responsible body, a committee who can pass resolutions, and we should hold an AGM and have provisions for EGMs and so on.

Having auditors is a general rule. Sarah Allatt stated that she can do checks and balances, but is not a certified auditor.

We have to have an AGM to approve the constitution, which would be fairly easy. We need to decide whether the Affinity Group is a College club or University club and would have to take steps to become officially recognized. There are parallel groups within Christ Church – the Friends of the Cathedral and the SCR. The SCR has its own bank account.

Alex Robinson has knowledge of club formation and agreed to forward information on this to David Dunmur. Martin would also like to discuss the constitution with David. It was stated that the committee should run the accounts rather than relying on others.


At this point it was felt appropriate that those present should elect officers on the committee. David Dunmur was nominated as Treasurer by Richard Wayne and seconded by George Marston, then unanimously elected by all those present. Martin Grossel was similarly elected as Chairman, Fiona Holdsworth as Vice Chairman, and Ann Holloway as Secretary.

The question of membership fees was also discussed. It was agreed that no fee would be charged for membership of the Christ Church Chemists’ Affinity Group and that all Christ Church chemists are automatically members of the group. Funds would be raised through a small tax on events rather than any sort of membership fee.



4. Booking Systems, Website, and Social Media.


Will Peveler reported on his research into electronic booking systems. It turns out that free events are very easy but for charged ticketed events they’d charge a fee. Not a huge fee, but there would be a charge. The Steward’s office currently uses a ticketing system similar to that used by the theatre.


We do now have an e-mail address ( that could be used for a Paypal account and linked to the bank account.

Ann Holloway reported that she had set up social media pages and accounts for the group and agreed to forward details to the committee. The Facebook page is called Christ Church Chemists’ Affinity Group, as is the corresponding group on LinkedIn. There is also a twitter account @Ch3Ag, which is currently unprotected and can be followed by all. Photographs of events could be posted in some of these places and it might be good to have a photo archive of past events.

It was suggested that perhaps we should, from time to time, issue a newsletter and get the College to send it out with Christ Church Matters. Notifications of forthcoming events could be included or alternatively we could just e-mail the chemists. Newsletters could be issued from time to time, and we could produce one very soon. If we linked to another College mailing then it might be difficult to include something extra just for chemists, but perhaps the Development Office would do an
ad hoc mailing for us. We should also consider whether there would be printing costs.


The idea of having a paragraph in the Annual Report was also discussed. Whatever happens, we could include something in the back pages of the Report. Martin Grossel agreed to talk to the editor.

The College website is being rewritten at the moment but Pete Biggs is happy with our site as it is at the moment.




5. Potential Events in 2015


It was noted that at the moment problems exist in College that will impact on our activities. Hall is out of full use, possibly for as long as 6 months, as there is dry rot in the roof. The scaffolding currently comes down to head height. Chemistry collections are taking place in the PTCL, and there is also some impact on other places in College.


1. Lunch and talk.


This would be a more exclusive event than the inaugural event and not with families. The lunch would link in with a talk on Hooke’s Micrographia, given by Allan Chapman.

Allan presented an outline of his talk, and pointed committee members to the article on Hooke and Micrographia in the latest edition of Christ Church Matters. 2015 is the 350
th anniversary of the publication of Micrographia, and Hooke was the first really big scientist in Christ Church.


It was agreed that this would be an excellent talk and there was discussion of whether there could be visual demonstrations to complement it. Allan confirmed that The Royal Society are willing to loan the original manuscript of Micrographia to us for the occasion. The Library also has display copies and is planning an exhibition.

It was also suggested that a video clip, trailing Allan’s talk, could be placed onto social media.

Graham Allatt also has knowledge of Hooke’s work as the City Surveyor, and could give a 15 minute presentation on that role, making this a multifaceted event.


Some discussion of when this event could be held occurred. Martin Grossel agreed to investigate dates around the end of September and beginning of October.



2. Other events.


David Dunmur noted that the 2014 Nobel Prize was awarded for super resolution microscopy and noted that a talk on new ages of microscopy in 1665 & 2015 could be interesting. An event in Burlington house RSC/IOP presenting time-resolved movie is currently very relevant to put in the context of modern science. Dirk Aarts works on super resolution resonance microscopy and might be interested. David Dunmur has also spoken to Nakamura and he lit up and said he’d love to talk to us.

Options for talks include lunch, dinner, buffet lunch, inviting speakers to dinner. We would either need to get a critical mass or open up events to those outside the Affinity Group. If the College lecture rooms are too small we could use the PTCL. It is easier to arrange lunch in the Keene Room. We could organize talks round a lunch and invite people to stay for a less formal dinner or go out in town.


Fiona Holdsworth reported on her research into events at the House of Lords. It is entirely possible to hold an event there, and that event would be much more interesting when the House is sitting than when it is in recess. The cost would be around £48-55 per head, including VAT. There is a minimum number of 30 and a maximum of 60, and the price includes canapes and drinks. Most tours end mid-afternoon, but it may be possible to have a tour in the evening. There is heavy security.

It was agreed to compare a possible House of Lords event with a possible Portsmouth event when we had more information about Portsmouth.


London events have been requested. Both the RI and the RSC have been researched, although there are no preferential rates available at either of these venues. Perhaps we should aim to organize a London event next year.

Informal events were also discussed and it was suggested that an informal London meet-up could be organized via social media.


The idea of a northern event was also mentioned again. George Marston could assist with such an event and for a small number of people it could be easily organized.


3. Summary.


It was proposed that the events that will take place this year are 1. The Micrographia event in the autumn and 2. A possible Portsmouth event in the summer.

It was also agreed that Martin Grossel would pursue a date for the dinner next January.


It was also noted that there are several types of event we hope to organize: dinners, lunches, lectures, cultural events, family events, formal events. We hope to achieve a mix of these events.



6. Graduate Members


Graduate Members – Craig has surfaced after his move and there will be a survey sent out to graduates.  


7. A.O.B

The committee resolved to ask the Secretary to write to Adam of the SCR staff to thank him for his hard and efficient work on our behalf on the occasion of the event on 5
th July 2014.


Richard was thanked for providing wine and soft drinks, before, during and after the meeting.


8. Date of Next Meeting


Saturday 16th May was suggested as the date of the next meeting. Confirmation would follow by e-mail.



The Hooke event is planned for Friday 2nd October. It might include a wine reception run by us and lunch for a limited number of participants.


The dinner is booked for Thursday January 7th 2016.