Sunday, 10 November 2013

Camborne School of Mines 125th birthday party

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Camborne School of Mines (CSM), one of the world's foremost mining and minerals engineering institutions (see also MEI Online).

Professor Frances Wall, Head of CSM, said: "We are all very excited about celebrating this landmark occasion with the most important part of our history: our staff, students, alumni, collaborators and supporters. CSM has grown from fairly humble beginnings to now be regarded, quite rightly, as one of the best multidisciplinary mining schools anywhere in the world. Our achievements over the past 125 years are a source of pride, inspiration and motivation for everyone who is part of the CSM community, past and present. We are sure that the celebrations will highlight just what we have achieved together so far, and also our plans for the future."

2013 is also the 20th anniversary of CSM's association with the University of Exeter. It is now located in purpose-built facilities on the Penryn Campus, only a few kilometres from the MEI Office, and last night Barbara and I attended a celebratory party on the campus.

CSM has changed dramatically since my early days in the 1970s, particularly in the high proportion of female students. The first woman graduated in 1984, 96 years after the School's foundation, and Julie Holl opened the gates for many more female graduates, although when I left CSM in 1996 there had never been a female lecturer- now the Director is a woman and female minerals industry graduates are now commonplace around the world.

The all male final year dinner of 1977

I began my career at CSM in 1974, and, with colleagues Jim Turner, Roger Parker, Victor Phillips and Bob Barley, helped develop the degree course in Mineral Processing Technology, its first students graduating in 1979. In the 'first graduates' photo below I am seated next to the late Vic Phillips, Jim Turner, the late Roger Parker and Bob Barley.

It was disappointing that only one of my 1970s contemporaries, Dr. Tony Batchelor, attended last night's party, which was very well supported by current students and staff. Tony was a lecturer in mining when I started, and later became head of CSM's Hot Rocks Geothermal Energy Project.

Tony Batchelor with Sally Pine and Denise Pascoe

Current staff Rob Fitzpatrick,
Gavyn Rollinson and Ian Bailey

However, it was good to see Dr. Richard Pascoe and his wife Denise. Richard joined the mineral processing staff in the 80s and is still lecturing at CSM. He is pictured below with Dr. Mark Jordan, one of my stalwarts in the CSM cricket team in the 1980s. He graduated in Mineral Processing Technology in 1989, and then left with a PhD in 1994. He then took up school teaching, but unfortunately had to retire early due to ill health.
With Richard Pacoe and Mark Jordan
No one did more to make CSM a modern Institution than did Dr. Peter Hackett, who was Principal from 1970-1993. His legacy will be modern degree courses and post-graduate research programmes, as well as the successful association with the University of Exeter. Prof. Keith Atkinson, who took over from Peter as Director until 2002 unfortunately did not attend the party, but his successor Prof. Bob Pine (2002-2008) did, as of course did the present Director Dr. Frances Wall.

Peter Hackett, Bob Pine and Frances Wall
I feel immensely proud and privileged to have been part of CSM for over 22 years, and wish the School every success for the future. Unfortunately I have already made plans and so will not be able to attend the 200th Anniversary celebrations, but might just make the 150th!


  1. Great report Barry and great memories
    However I thought that CSM dated back to 1858 - that's more than 125 years
    Can anyone clarify
    Best Regards
    David Lees ACSM 1983

    1. David
      I agree with you both about the report from Barry and the thought that CSM has a history that goes back more than 125 years.

      Looking at Wikipedia's page for CSM there is a really interesting timeline summarising the history of minerals education in Cornwall pre 1888 which might explain our confusion

      All the best
      Tony Rhymer ACSM 1983

  2. From what I can recall, the first class graduated in 1890. The records are a little sketchy, but CSM was put in motion in 1887 and opened its doors the following year.
    Chris Bryan, CSM

  3. Happy Birthday CSM and Cheers to the next 125 years...
    How about bringing back Minerals Engineering/Mineral Processing one of these days???
    Dave Middleditch ACSM 2004


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