I have included here, brief details of some of the people who I knew at the Polytechnic and the University, who were all friends and have now passed away. Wherever possible I have included a photograph.
Danny Moore was a well known and popular figure in 'B Block' where he worked as a caretaker.

He was also a polytechnic driver and worked at weekends behind the bar at the Himley Country Club.

He was a keen gardener and had a lovely garden at his home in Balmain Crescent.

Sadly he died of cancer on the 25th July, 1986 at the age of 51.


Danny Moore in 1984.

One person who worked throughout the establishment and was known by most people was photographer Geoff Knight. During his time at the Polytechnic he must have taken a vast number of photographs, which he also processed and printed. He had photos published in local newspapers and did wedding photography with his wife Elaine, who he married in 1976.

In his later time at the Polytechnic, he was moved to the photography section in the School of Art and Design, but was never happy there. In 1988 he got a job teaching photography at Wakefield College and Geoff and Elaine bought a bungalow at Skelmanthorpe, near Huddersfield. Geoff suffered from a recurring illness which was never properly diagnosed. He retired in the summer of 1997 and looked forward to enjoying a long retirement. He loved sailing and bought a new boat in readiness for retirement. Sadly, in January 1998, on his return from visiting his father in Scarborough, he had a massive heart attack and died. It was a few days before his 50th birthday. He might still be alive today if the illness had been properly diagnosed when it first appeared.


Geoff Knight in action in St. George's garden in the mid 1970s.


Geoff Knight playing with a friend's dog.

Another once well known figure was the late Jack Hammond, the Chief Administrator. Just before his retirement in 1980 he received an MBE for his work in educational administration. He was a sociable man who loved music and played the piano, guitar and double bass. He died at his Wombourne home at the age of 89, in 2008.
Another very well known figure was Harold Starr, who for many years worked in Audio Visual Aids. Harold had been a cinema projectionist before joining the college. On Friday nights he would be the projectionist at the students union film shows in the cinema in 'C Block' where popular feature films were shown.

He also became very involved in the staff bar in 'C Block' after it opened in the late 1960s, often serving behind the bar.

He was always friendly, outward going and helpful. One of Harold's hobbies was dancing with his wife.

When Audio Visual Aids on main site closed, Harold was transferred to Audio Visual Aids at the Dudley Campus. He retired in 1993.

Harold died in 2008 or 2009.


Harold Star in the late 1970s. Courtesy of David Parsons.


Will Parker.

Another sad loss, especially for me, is my brother, Will Parker, who was a programmer in the Computer Centre from 1979 until 1984. He enjoyed his time at the Polytechnic and regularly sang and played guitar at the 'Eleven O Five' folk club in the staff bar.

At that time, desktop computers were replacing large main frame computers and the Polytechnic still had a lot of Data Type terminals.

The Data Type representative who often visited the Polytechnic, talked Will into going for a job interview at the company's factory in Cwmbran, Gwent. Will got the job and with his family, moved to South Wales in the summer of 1984.

Data Type were planning to launch a high resolution colour terminal and Will was writing its software. Unfortunately about a year later the factory closed because there was little demand for the technology, which was rapidly becoming out of date.

Will then started his own software company and wrote software for all kinds of applications including control systems for the engines on Stena Line ferries, automated theatre equipment and even medical scanning machines. Sadly Will died from esophageal cancer on the 19th February, 2009, at the age of 55.
Austin Moseley was a well known and well-respected member of staff in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He was born in Tividale in 1930 and started his working life as an apprentice at John Thompson Limited, in Ettingshall. He did an engineering course at Dudley Technical College then moved down south for a while. After doing National Service, he returned to the Midlands and did an engineering course at Birmingham before becoming a lecturer and later a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, specialising in industrial design.

He was greatly interested in all aspects of industry in the West Midlands and took students on factory visits. He was a member of West Midlands Studies and contributed to their periodical, the Journal of Industrial Archaeology and Business History. He illustrated his articles with some of his brilliant sketches and became known for his drawings and paintings. In the 1980s he had an exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

After retirement, Austin concentrated on art and produced oil paintings using a palette knife. His paintings featured Black Country scenes, often with a character cycling or walking a dog through the industrial landscape. The paintings were greatly appreciated and he was elected as a member of the Birmingham Society of Artists. He also became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil.


Austin Moseley. Courtesy of David Parsons.

His paintings were on sale at several galleries and were very popular. His youngest niece Heather is also an artist.

Austin married his childhood sweetheart Sylvia and they had two sons. Sadly he died on the 2nd October, 2013. He was 83 years old.

A lovely sketch of the interior of the Swan pub in Darlaston, drawn by Austin Moseley in 1972.

It hangs on the wall in the bar.

 


Pat Lees, a secretary in the Psychology Division, was a popular member of staff. She began working at the University in 'C-Block' and then moved temporarily with the department to 'Bankfield House' in Waterloo Road, while 'C-Block' was demolished to make way for the 'Millennium City Building', where she ended her career at the University, before retirement. Sadly Pat died on the 2nd April, 2015 at the age of 68.

Many people will remember Ken Harper, who was laboratory superintendent in the School of Health Sciences, based in the Old Post Office. He started at the University in 1993, having previously worked for Dudley Council. He had earlier worked for the Polytechnic at the Compton Park Campus. Ken lived with his 'close-knit' family at Coseley and had many interests including holiday cruises, photography, football, golf and Sunday lunchtime visits to Parkes Hall Social Club. Ken retired in 2010, but began to suffer from a brain tumour a few years later. Sadly, he died in November 2015 at the comparatively young age of 62.
For many years, a familiar figure on 'The Marble' was head caretaker, Reg Kean. His office was on the right-hand side of 'The Marble', as you enter the building. Reg was in the Royal Navy for many years before becoming a member of staff. Thanks to his influence, in his day, most members of the caretaking staff were ex-naval men. He became president of the Royal Naval Association in Wolverhampton and actively supported other ex-navy men. He lived at Warstones in Penn and died on the 6th March, 2017 at the age of 96.
Reg Kean and his wife Elsie.

October 2009.

Courtesy of David Parsons.

Another long-serving Polytechnic employee was Keith Withington, who started working in the Production Engineering Department in 1970, based in rooms 51 and 52 on the lower ground floor. He was brilliant at woodwork and used to make his own acoustic/electric guitars. He was interested in photography and had one of the very first digital cameras. When he got married he moved to Penkridge for some years before returning to Holly Grove in Penn Fields, where he was born. He later worked in a room on the top floor until he was transferred to IT Services, following a reorganisation.

He had a camper van and greatly enjoyed staying on camp sites in North Wales, but began to suffer from Parkinson's Disease, which rapidly got worse. He passed away at home on the 24th March, 2017 at the age of 70.


Anyone who worked in 'C Block' in the 1980s or 1990s will probably recognise Sue Pinson, who was a cleaner there. She is seen here at a Boulton Paul Association's open day, exhibiting a display about Guy Motors, where she worked for many years before moving to the polytechnic. She retired in the 1990s and became a volunteer at Sunnyside dogs home at Coven, which was ideal because she loved dogs. Sadly she died of cancer in March 2019. Sue was always a friendly, kind-hearted and likeable lady. Courtesy of David Parsons.
Peter Burden will be remembered by many people. He was a lecturer in SCIT for many years and was first involved with the Wolverhampton & Staffordshire College of Technology, whilst still at Wolverhampton Grammar School in the early 1960s. At that time he wrote a program for the WITCH computer that produced combinations for safe locks for Chubb.

He was a born mathematician who read mathematics at Cambridge and later became very interested in computers and networking. In the 1990s he developed some software for use on the internet involving clickable maps and was involved in a project to enhance search engines.

He was an enthusiastic radio amateur who greatly enjoyed contacting other radio hams across the world and a regular at St. Aidan's Church. For some years he produced their website. He will also be remembered as a regular in the staff bar at lunchtime and a member of the folk club that was held there.

Sadly Peter passed away on the 6th May, 2020 after several strokes.


Peter Burden.

An article from the April 1996 edition of Network.

Courtesy of David Parsons.


The WITCH computer, with Peter Burden on the left and Frank Hawley on the right, examining some punch tape. At the time Peter was 17 years old and still at school.
The first head of the newly formed School of Health Sciences in 1987 was psychologist, Bob Jamieson. His hobbies included DIY and walking. He greatly liked the Shropshire Hills and when out hill walking always carried a packet of Garibaldi biscuits in his rucksack. In the early 1980s, Bob and his wife, Keitha won a competition for the best house improvements in Wolverhampton, run by the Express and Star. At the time they lived in Alexandra Road, Penn.

In 1990 or 1991 he returned to his home country of Australia and taught psychology at the Bendigo Campus of La Trobe University. One of his projects was to discover why so few people volunteered in local fire brigades, which included travelling to some of the more remote parts of Australia. It was something that he greatly enjoyed.

He retired in 2010. Bob and his wife Keitha, along with their children Sam, Naomi and David lived in a house in the outback at Junortoun, on the eastern side of Bendigo. After retirement he led a busy life and became Community Engagement Coordinator for Loddon Mallee Housing Services in Bendigo, which provides homes for homeless people or people who are about to be homeless. In 2016 Bob became Chairman of the Junortoun Community Action Group, of which he was a founder member. The group looks after the interests of the local inhabitants. Bob was a passionate supporter of Junortoun and the wider Bendigo community and served on several committees that also looked after local people's interests. Sadly Bob died  on the 27th May, 2020.


Bob Jamieson.

One of the longest-serving employees must have been Joyce Wilson, who worked at the establishment for the best part of 50 years. She began in the Department of Applied Science, where she worked until she was moved to an offshoot, the School of Health Sciences in 1987. She enjoyed her time on main site but was not so happy in the Old Post Office building that housed Health Sciences. She was very skilled in microscopy and histology.


Joyce, in the Great Western pub on the 5th March, 2010.

Joyce was also a talented performer in the South Staffs Operatic Society and the Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company, where she was known for her beautiful soprano voice. In the 1980s, with a friend, she co-founded Rainbow Pantomimes, a successful company that put-on annual productions, rehearsing at a school hall in Sedgley. Every year she would sell tickets to her colleagues at the University.
Joyce, at the age of 35, in costume as 'Adele' in the South Staffs Operatic Society's production of Die Fledermaus.

It was performed at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton in October 1971.

Joyce retired in November 2000, but for a time could often be found in the University because it took her a while to settle-down to her new life. She continued performing and greatly loved her cats and life with her partner, Bert.

She was born on the 8th November, 1935 in Glasgow, but lived in Willenhall from a young age. Sadly Joyce passed away on the 4th June, 2020 at the age of 84.


Joyce, on the right, in costume as Mrs. Botting for the Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company's production of Half a Sixpence at the Grand Theatre in 1986.
Alan Thomas, who worked in Languages and European Studies, will be remembered by many people. He started at the Polytechnic in about 1980 and retired in about 2010.

He will be familiar to anyone who spent time in the staff bar, where he often served behind the bar.

Sadly he passed-away at the end of April or the beginning of May, 2022, at the age of 75.


   
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