Royal School of Mines
(Amalgamated 1907, Imperial College London)
The Royal School of Mines comprises the departments of Earth Science and Engineering, Materials and Bioengineering at Imperial College London. The Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics and parts of the London Centre for Nanotechnology are also housed within the RSM. The school, as such, no longer exists, though the Edwardian building by Sir Aston Webb is viewed as a classic of academic architecture, and still carries its name, as do the relevant student unions.
The Royal School of Mines was established in 1851, as the Government School of Mines and Science Applied to the Arts. The School developed from the Museum of Economic Geology, a collection of minerals, maps and mining equipment made by Sir Henry De la Beche, and opened in 1841. The museum also provided some student places for the study of mineralogy and metallurgy. Sir Henry was the director of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, and when the collections outgrew the premises the museum and the survey were placed on an official footing, with government assistance.
The Museum of Practical Geology and the Government School of Mines and Science Applied to the Arts opened in a purpose-designed building in Jermyn Street in 1851. The officers of the Geological Survey became the lecturers and professors of the School of Mines. The Royal College of Chemistry was merged into it in 1853. The name was changed in 1863 to the Royal School of Mines, and was moved to South Kensington in 1872, leaving the Museum of Practical Geology behind in Jermyn Street. In 1907, the RSM was incorporated into Imperial College of Science and Technology, but remains a "Constituent College" of Imperial. The last Dean of the Royal School of Mines was Professor John Monhemius before the position was removed.
Today, the RSM no longer exists as an academic entity. The RSM is both the building in which the departments are housed, and the student body that organises social events, sports teams, clubs and societies for students within those departments.
Connection with India
The Indian School of Mines, in the city of Dhanbad of India (Presently Known as Indian Institute of Technology, Dhanbad) was established in 1926 by the British India Government on the lines of Royal School of Mines of London, by Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India. At that time India was ruled by Britain.
Designed by Sir Aston Webb, the RSM building is Classical in style with Ionic pilasters. It was erected between 1909 and 1913 specifically to house the school, which was previously resident in the Huxley Building on Exhibition Road, now the Henry Cole Wing of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The foundation stone was laid by King Edward VII on 8 July 1909.
The RSM was the last of many buildings that Webb designed for the Albertopolis area (including the Cromwell Road frontage of the V&A) and, some would argue, his least resolved. Constructed in Portland stone, the entrance is formed by a three storey, semicircular niche, flanked by two memorials (sculpted by Paul Raphael Montford, 1916–1920) to Alfred Beit and Julius Wernher who were major benefactors to the school. The western wing of the building is named after Webb, while the eastern end is named after the Goldsmiths' Company who helped to finance the building of the RSM.
The building in film
The distinctively Edwardian and academic styling cues used in the building's architecture have led to the RSM appearing in a number of film and television productions:
- 1965: The IPCRESS File. Directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Michael Caine. The protagonist walks into the RSM and is magically transported to the old Science Museum Library.
- 1993: Agatha Christie's Poirot (ITV television). Appeared as the frontage and main entrance of "Imperial College" on "Exhibition Road" (although the RSM is on Prince Consort Road, off Exhibition Road) in the episode "The Underdog".
- 1995: Jack and Sarah. Directed by Tim Sullivan and starring Richard E. Grant. A wedding party exits from the front of the building, pausing for photographs etc. on the steps.
- 1998: Sliding Doors. Front entrance to the building is used as a registry office/town hall for a wedding scene.
- 2004: Hustle (BBC television). Generic university frontage, briefly seen as an architecture student exits and is then approached by the main characters.
- 2015: Kingsman. Directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Colin Firth. Exterior and interiors used as the RSM building; subsequently shown to be blown up in a later scene.
RSM Student's Union
- The furthering of the interests of the members and the status of the RSM;
- The promotion of sport within the RSM;
- The promotion of interest in all aspects of geology and materials science;
- The promotion of social intercourse among its members.
These are achieved through sports teams, societies and events which span the academic year from October to July. The highlight of the sporting and social calendar is the annual Bottle Match against Camborne School of Mines, the second oldest rugby varsity match in the world.
Notable past students and professors
- James Allen, New Zealand politician and diplomat.
- George Frederick Ansell, author of a standard work on the Royal Mint
- Sir Henry De la Beche FRS, founder of the British Geological Survey.
- Peter Baxendell, former Managing Director of Shell.
- Henry Francis Blanford, meteorologist and palaeontologist. Founding head of the India Meteorological Department.
- William Thomas Blanford CIE FRS, geologist, zoologist and naturalist. Geological Society Wollaston Medallist and President (1888).
- Henry Yorke Lyell Brown, Australian exploration geologist, noted for his work in Western Australia.
- Sir C. V. Boys FRS, experimental physicist.
- Frederic Creswell, mining engineer and Minister of Defence in South Africa
- Edmund Daukoru, Minister of Energy for Nigeria and former OPEC President (2006).
- Sir Edgeworth David FRS, Welsh-born Australian geologist and Antarctic explorer who led the first expedition to reach the Magnetic South Pole.
- George E. Davis, pioneer in the field of chemical engineering.
- George Mercer Dawson, Director of the Geological Survey of Canada (1895–1901).
- Nick Dommett, Professor of Globalisation, King's College London.
- Robert Etheridge, Junior, Anglo-Australian palaeontologist.
- Andy Fanshawe, mountaineer.
- Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor, igneous and metamorphic geologist, former director of the Geological Survey of India and founding president of the Indian National Science Academy.
- Peter Francis, author and volcanologist.
- Sir Edward Frankland FRS, leading chemist and originator of the concept of valency.
- Professor William Fyfe CC FRS FRSC FRSNZ, eminent geochemist, winner of 15 major medals including the Logan Medal, the Wollaston Medal and the Roebling Medal.
- Sir Patrick Geddes FRSE, biologist, sociologist, philanthropist and pioneering town planner.
- Percy Gilchrist, British chemist and metallurgist who devised a standard method of making steel, with his cousin Sidney Gilchrist Thomas.
- Professor William Gowland FRS, British mining engineer and archaeologist. Known as the Father of Japanese Archaeology.
- Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas in the Sultanate of Oman.
- Frank Hawthorne OC FRSC, Canadian mineralogist and crystallographer. Geological Association of Canada Logan Medallist.
- Arthur Holmes, British geologist and pioneer of radiometric rock dating. Geological Society Wollaston Medallist and Geological Society of America Penrose Medallist.
- Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS, Professor of Natural History 1854–1885. Comparative anatomist; 'Darwin's Bulldog', author of Man's place in nature.
- John Wesley Judd, President of the Geological Society (1886–1888).
- Jeremy Leggett, social entrepreneur and author.
- Archibald Liversidge FRS, English-born Australian chemist, founder of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Rilwanu Lukman KBE, former Secretary General of OPEC.
- Lady Rachel Workman MacRobert, philanthropist and founder of the MacRobert Trust.
- Sir Roderick Murchison KCB FRS, Scottish geologist who first described and investigated the Silurian system. Royal Society Copley Medallist and Geological Society Wollaston Medallist.
- Richard Dixon Oldham FRS, Irish geologst who first identified seismic p- and s-waves and found the first evidence for the Earth’s core. President of the Geological Society (1920–1922).
- Benjamin Neeve Peach, FRS, geologist in the Geological Survey who resolved the formation of the Scottish Highlands.
- Sir Andrew Ramsay FRS, Scottish geologist and glaciologist. Geological Society Wollaston Medallist and President (1872).
- John G. Ramsay, British structural geologist. Geological Society Wollaston Medallist.
- Sir Aurelian Ridsdale, politician and chairman of the British Red Cross Society (1912–1914).
- Herbert Harold Read, British geologist who performed much work on the origins of granite. Geological Society Wollaston Medallist.
- Professor John Anthony Sydney Ritson OBE DSO, international rugby player (England and the British Lions), decorated soldier, and mining engineer.
- Professor Douglas Shearman, British sedimentologist. Geological Society Wollaston Medallist.
- Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth FRS, President of the Geological Society (1866–1868).
- William Johnson Sollas FRS, geologist and anthropologist. President of the Geological Society (1908–1910).
- George Reginald Starr DSO MC, mining engineer and Special Operations Executive officer.
- Ralph Tate, British-born Australian botanist and geologist. President of the Royal Society of South Australia (1878–1879).
- Sir Julius Vogel, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1873–1875).
- Professor George P. L. Walker FRS, mineralogist and volcanologist. Geological Society Wollaston Medallist and IAVCEI Thorarinsson Medallist.
- Professor Janet Watson FRS, igneous and metamorphic petrologist. First female President of the Geological Society (1982–1984).
- Sir Julius Wernher, German-born Randlord and art collector.
- Howel Williams, leading volcanologist.
- Robert Willis (engineer), engineer and architectural historian.
- Peter Harding (Royal School of Mines), metallurgist and captured WWII pilot (1919–2006)
- George Ekem Ferguson, a Fante, in the then Gold Coast, who after his education at the RSM, went on to negotiate treaties in the upper savannah of the Gold Coast.
The Royal School of Mines has a high reputation in Geology, Geophysics, Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Materials Science, Petroleum Science and Engineering. Through societies such as the RSM Association and the Chaps Club, the RSM maintains a strong alumni network in the global mining community.
- "Visit us | Imperial College London". www.imperial.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
- "History of the RSM". Royal School of Mines Union website. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- "About the RSM". Royal School of Mines Union website. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- About ISM
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- "Albertopolis: Royal School of Mines". Royal Institute of British Architects. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
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- 'CRESWELL, Lt-Col Hon. Frederic Hugh Page', in Who Was Who 1941–1950 (London: A. & C. Black, 1980 reprint: ISBN 0-7136-2131-1)
- "Passages: William Sefton Fyfe - C.C., FRS, FRS(C), FRS(NZ)". Geolog. Geological Association of Canada. 42 (4): 15–16. Winter 2014.
- Arhin, Kwame, ed. The Papers of George Ekem Ferguson: A Fanti Official of the Government of the Gold Coast, 1890-1897. Leiden: Africka-Studiecentrum, 1974.
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