Members of the Civil Engineering ‘69 cohort smiling at 50 year reunion dinner

Read alumnus Alan Graham's perspective

  • 21 February 2020
  • 1 min read

A Civil Engineering ‘69 cohort met recently in Portsmouth for a fifty-year reunion.

The group spent time in the city where they studied, tracking down old haunts and spending time with fellow coursemates. Alumnus Alan Graham says:

"The four of us including John Dorward, Alan Graham, Bob Polden and Vic Trigwell started our Civil Engineering sandwich course at Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1965. In December 1969, we were awarded our degrees in one of the first polytechnic graduation ceremonies.

The years passed and in 2015, another of our fellow graduates Chris Suter suggested that we all meet. Unfortunately, Chris passed away before arrangements were complete. Nevertheless, we did meet in Stafford in autumn 2016 accompanied by our wives and Chris’ widow Val.

The idea was floated to meet again, this time in Portsmouth to mark the half-century since we were awarded our degrees. This meeting took place in January 2020, 50 years and one month after the award ceremony with the same people in attendance.

Portsmouth has changed since our day. Guildhall Square has gotten smaller, replaced by offices and pedestrian areas. Then there’s Gunwharf Quays. None of us could remember exactly what was there before, although I have a vague memory of sighting the first tattoo shop I’d ever seen, and chalkboards relating to the number of battleships and cruisers in port.

We were keen to see what was new and what we knew around the city. With help from the Alumni team and a current student tour guide, we visited familiar locations including Mercantile House and the Civil Engineering department, now held in Burnaby Building, which was C block to us. There we went into the structures laboratory where I recalled a 1960s memory of a reinforced concrete beam being tested to destruction, with spectacular results may I add.

The original Civil Engineering block, The Stables, was not so easy to identify but the consensus was The Fleet pub and Popworld were the likely location. If anyone could shed any light on this, that would be great.

To round off the weekend, we visited Old Portsmouth to have dinner in The Still and West. A good pub in the 60s and a great place to enjoy a meal on our final night in Portsmouth.

Everyone enjoyed the event and getting together was great. We’re looking forward to the next reunion."

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