The Reporter
Issue 497, 23 Febuary 2004
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Send your letters to editor of the Reporter, Vanessa Bridge. Email or send by internal post to press office, 12.67 E C Stoner building


PHILOSOPHY WITH PLUMBING (From Maurice King, obstetrics) We heard on the radio that a certain Peter Ginsberg PhD is giving up his research on arthritis, and retraining as a gas fitter, thereby doubling his present income from £25,000 to £50,000 a year. We also heard that there is a national shortage of 100,000 skilled tradesmen, all of whom could presumably command such salaries. The drive to put so many students into higher education has seriously depleted the skilled trades, yet at the same time philosophy students, for example, are apt to be at a loss as to how to earn their living. Since no honest work is demeaning, why does not the University run joint courses such as ‘Geophysics with gas fitting’ and ‘Philosophy with plumbing’ – philosophy to fill the mind, and plumbing to fill the belly?

FAIR TRADE THUMBS UP (From Professor Hugh Glover, University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa) As one who spent six months at Leeds in 1990, I wish to express my support, despite being far away, for the University becoming a fair trade institution, subscribing to the five goals laid down on your postcard. (see page 3, Ed.)

OLD MEDICAL SCHOOL (From Chris Hammond and Bill Mathie, school of medicine) Members of the University will be delighted to hear that following a submission by the Victorian Society and an independent assessment by English Heritage, the Old Medical School in Thoresby Place has been upgraded from Grade II to II*. This is a substantial regrading, as just 4% of Grade II buildings are starred. For those who do not know the building, which was completed in 1894, many of its architectural glories that warrant the starred status are inside. They include the entrance hall and stairway with its Burmantofts tiling and armorial panels, the smaller ‘hexagon’ hall and the former library, with its balcony and oak panelling. Perhaps the most significant interior feature is the former anatomy lecture theatre with its steeply-raked seating arranged in a semi-ellipse around the demonstration table, and with original domed plaster ceiling. Such forms of theatre were once common in the medical schools of Europe, being derived from the design of the fifteenth century example at Padua. The anatomy lecture theatre here is perhaps the only survivor in the country. An illustrated guide to the building, prepared by the undersigned for the 2002 Civic Trust Heritage Open Day, when it was open to the public, is available from the authors.

THE SOMME AT LEEDS (Professor Roger Boyle, computing) Congratulations are due to whoever had the idea of converting the area south of the EC Stoner building to a car park. What had been a space used only by idle staff playing boules, or eating sandwich lunches, has now been put to good use by those who are unable to get to work by foot, bicycle or public transport. I am especially impressed by the conversion of a level, gravel-strewn area to a rutted, undrainable, puddled Somme. Further, the practice of car users parking on footways has, with great success, impeded all use by cyclists, skateboarders and wheelchair users. Why are we not doing the same thing on St George’s Field?

PAPER DETERIORATION (From Ralph Hass) As a genealogist often finding archives in various stages of deterioration and disrepair, I am interested in what causes the biological deterioration of paper archives. What is the science behind the material breakdown of paper material? Is it ozone? Is it micro organisms in the air attacking the paper? Is it moisture evaporating from the paper product causing it to become yellow and fragile?
Can Reporter readers help?

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