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50 Year Anniversary Brings Geographers Back to Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth welcomed back Geography students from the BSc/BA Geography 1965 intake last week to celebrate 50 years since they started their degree.

The group went for lunch at the Still and West in Old Portsmouth and were met by the Senior Lecturer of Geography, Dominic Fontana on the University campus.

The former students were then given a detailed talk on the progress of the Geography department today followed by a tour of the new laboratories in Buckingham Building.

Bryan Brown, who organised the reunion told of his University experience: “We were the second cohort to join the BSc/BA Geography course where the Department of Geography had a group of dynamic young lecturers, and as I remember some very keen students! We came from all parts of the country, and formed a cohesive and happy band of students in what was then a city still dominated by the Royal Navy and the Dockyard, and which was still rebuilding after the extensive bomb damage of World War II.

“Geography was based in a series of old, green painted, wooden huts, at 111 High Street, Old Portsmouth, on a site which is now redeveloped as housing. However, it’s not the buildings which were important, as what made for a really good academic experience was the people, staff and students, who formed a good community.

“Keeping in touch with fellow graduates in those days was not easy in the days before computing and social media, I suspect it mainly consisted of the occasional Christmas card exchange. However last year several of the group thought about the 50th anniversary of our first arrival in Portsmouth, and through extensive research, managed to track down almost everyone. 25 alumni assembled in Manchester (chosen for logistical reasons!), together with two of our lecturers from 1965 (David Carter and David Burtenshaw) who themselves had joined the department that summer. The brief details of our lives since are published in a booklet, and show how well geographers can do in life, and make good contributions the community.”

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