NEWSLETTER No. 42, early summer 2018

Edited by Adrian Peasgood




Forthcoming events

Several possibilities are being pursued at present, including visits to Plumpton Agricultural College and to Harvey’s Brewery.  (Because of building works, Glyndebourne is not offering back stage tours at present, but it will be approached in due course.)  Arrangements are relatively advanced for a tour in September of the campus ‘boundary walk’, with Martyn Stenning, and a talk by Martyn early in 2019.  Details will be sent out as soon as known.





Visit to the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

Two members report ...

The Suss-Ex Club’s visit to the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne on the 22nd February 2018 offered a rich menu of visual delights for attendees including a panoramic view of the South Downs from the coffee shop!  We were treated to a special viewing of the Towner Private Art Store established in 1922 and discovered that the collection’s original rationale concerned acquisitions of Sussex landscapes which was extended to allow pictures by Sussex artists (regardless of subject matter) and was later widened to include paintings by non-Sussex artists.  The Towner now houses an internationally renowned collection of around 4,500 works including many 20th century British artists, plus a special Eric Ravilious collection, and the works of many contemporary artists.

Three current exhibitions were also on offer.  The acclaimed Natural Selection represents a collaboration between artist Andy Holden and his father, the ornithologist Peter Holden.  This exhibition is highly recommended and is a fascinating exploration of the building of nests and the collecting of eggs.  The Inhabit exhibition takes the visitor through defined settings and the juxtaposition of a monochrome landscape, a domestic setting and a mountain/forest path featuring a wide range of artists.  We stared at the Moon from the centre of the Sun is an exhibition curated by internationally acclaimed artist Haroon Mirza with works from the Arts Council Collection.  These exhibitions are available till the middle of May/early June so it’s certainly worth a visit to the Towner Gallery for those who could not attend.

Linda Buckham


On February 22nd sixteen members of the group had an interesting tour behind-the-scenes to the Private Art Store of the Towner Art Gallery.  A member of the Gallery Staff, June Nelson, showed us a sample of the substantial and diverse collection of artworks held in this Store.  The paintings ranged from those in the original bequest by John Chisholm Towner in 1922, which were largely Victorian, through to those by contemporary artists.  Artwork from the 20th century included those by local, but nationally recognized, artists such as Eric Slater, Eric Ravilious, Harold Mockford and John Piper.  Suss-Ex members will be familiar with the beautiful tapestry by John Piper that hangs in the University Meeting House.  My particular favourite art works were those by Eric Ravilious, who lived near Firle in the 1930s.  Our group had the opportunity after the tour to see many more of his paintings in the permanent exhibition in the Ravilious Room, adjacent to the Art Store (example below).

Eric Ravilious, Beachy Head, 1939. Towner Collection.

Another temporary exhibition that we had the opportunity of viewing was that on ‘Natural Selection’, by the father and son team of Andy and Peter Holden.  This exhibition made a very interesting link between art and ornithology.  It includes many examples of birds’ nests and eggs which are explained, in short videos by the Holdens, to be of both scientific and artistic interest.  An example is the bower constructed and decorated by the satin bowerbird, show below.  One question posed is whether the bowerbird is merely acting out of instinct, or is it making some sort of artistic statement in its careful selection and arrangement of the ornamentation, which is different in every case.

Installation view, Andy Holden & Peter Holden : Natural Selection (photo on the left, by Pete Jones) that is an enlarged version of the nest of the satin bowerbird, which is built and decorated by the black male to attract the light green female (photo on the right),

Mike Ramsey





Professor J.F.C. (John) Harrison (1921-2018)

John Harrison, Professor of History at Sussex from 1970 until his retirement, died on 8th January, just a few weeks short of his ninety-seventh birthday.

Born in Leicester, a ‘scholarship boy’ as he described himself in his memoir with that title, his time at Cambridge was interrupted by war service in Africa with the King’s African Rifles.  After the war he taught for fourteen years in the Adult Education Department of the University of Leeds, which helped to develop his gift for lucid, accessible exposition for non-specialist audiences and led to his landmark study Learning and Living 1790-1860: A Study in the History of the English Adult Education Movement (1961).

His ambition to get behind public and institutional history to explore how ordinary people thought and felt acquired an international dimension after his move to the University of Wisconsin in 1961, particularly in his book on Robert Owen and the Owenites in Britain and America: The Quest for a New Moral World (1969).  He enjoyed his time in America, but was attracted to Sussex as Professor in 1970 by the strong History group and the opportunity to work in a distinctively interdisciplinary atmosphere.  His major study of popular millenarianism from 1780 to 1850, The Second Coming (1979), arose directly out of teaching a Sussex course with that title and the Acknowledgements page of the book records debts to Sussex colleagues in History of Art, French and Religious Studies.  The University Chaplain wanted to sit in on the seminars and was reported as asking what time ‘The Second Coming’ started.

Friendly and good-humoured, John responded mildly to the exasperating removal of a stile on a right of way on the Sussex Downs by conceding that with his long legs he probably didn’t need stiles.  A distinguished scholar who was also a generous enabler of the work of others, friends, colleagues and research-students, and a reliable source of sensible, even-handed advice, he was presented with an affectionate Festschrift to mark his seventy-fifth birthday under the title Living and Learning (1996), edited by Michael Chase and Ian Dyck.  His scholarship also found a wider audience, as he had always hoped it would, particularly with his much-reprinted textbooks The Early Victorians, 1832-51 (1971) and Late Victorian Britain, 1875-1901 (1990).

Norman Vance


There is an obituary notice for David Bailin in the Argus of 10 April.  It can be found on the Argus website at


There is an obituary notice for Edward Bishop in the Argus of 17 April.


Publications by members


Aubrey Jenkins

Dietrich Braun and Aubrey Jenkins, ‘Samuel Pickles Formel des Naturkautschuks’, Chemie in Unserer Zeit, 6, 2016, 378.

Mike Ramsey

Rostron, P. and Ramsey, M.H. (2017), Quantifying heterogeneity of small test portion masses of geological reference materials by PXRF: implications for uncertainty of reference values.  Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 41, 3, 359-473., DOI: 10.1111/ggr.12162.

Ellison, S.L.R., Ramsey, M.H., Lawrance, P., Stuart, B., Minguez, J., Walker, M.J. (2017), Is measurement uncertainty from sampling related to analyte concentration?  Analytical Methods 2017, DOI: 10.1039/C7AY00752C.!divAbstract

Ramsey, M.H. and Wiedenbeck, M. (2017), Quantifying Isotopic Heterogeneity of Candidate Reference Materials at the Picogram Sampling Scale.  Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 42,1,5-24, doi: 510.1111/ggr.12198 (published online 21 Nov 2017).

Ramsey, M.H. and Ellison, S.L.R (2017), Combined uncertainty factor for sampling and analysis. Accreditation and Quality Assurance: Journal for Quality, Comparability and Reliability in Chemical Measurement 22(4), 187-189 DOI 10.1007/s00769-017-1271-y

Ramsey, M.H. (2017), Sampling Proficiency Testing as a means to improve both the quality of sampling, and estimates of measurement uncertainty from sampling.  Extended Abstract, Proceedings of 6th International Proficiency Testing Conference, 3-6 October 2017, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, p 16-19.


Suss-Ex: the website and the Committee


The website

More information about Suss-Ex is available on its webpage at  ‘Suss-Ex Club’ in Google will get you there, as will, or you can find us in the A–Z on the University’s homepage.  The website has copies of past Newsletters.


The steering committee

Suss-Ex activities are organised by a steering committee, which currently comprises:

Sir Gordon Conway, Chair

Colin Finn

Jackie Fuller

Charles Goldie

Arnold Goldman

Steve Pavey

Adrian Peasgood

Jennifer Platt

David Smith

Paul Tofts


Ideas for the future.  We are always seeking ideas for social occasions when we can meet former colleagues.  Please let us have your suggestions, or volunteer to join the committee.  We meet once a term, when practicable immediately before a Suss-Ex event.