CARDIFF CONSERVATION – THE EARLY YEARS

OR, A FEW SCRAPBOOK IMAGES FROM HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND CONSERVATION PROFESSOR DAVID WATKINSON

This is an arbitrary range of pictures that I happened to have. There are many more people, students and staff, who are not mentioned or imaged – sorry but that is a function of the pictures I had available. You are all important and I send you all best wishes. To Phil Parkes – sorry Phil, I did not have any images of you – camera shy? And for Nicola Emmerson, I imagine the legendary picture of you working on the Egyptian Coffin has been used during the week. I had no images of you in the lab so I post one at the end of a conf erence with our research students at Metal 2019.

Apologies over. Now to it…

The Head of the Department of Archaeology was Professor Richard Atkinson, when it all began in 1974 at the instigation of Professor William Manning (Figure 1) who supported establishing a conservation degree at Cardiff. David Leigh (Figure 2) was appointed as the first lecturer in conservation and was supported by a technician. Initially there were 2 students on the degree had who transferred from Archaeology to Conservation. Louise Mumford went on to become a conservator in the National Museum of Wales, where she works to this day, and Ruth Goldberg worked in the British Museum for many years. The degree was housed with Archaeology in the original University College building in Park place for 1 year, before moving to the new Humanities Building funded by the University General Council. It is still taught in that building today, renamed the John Percival Building.


Fig 1. Professor Bill Manning, whose expertise was in Roman ironworking. Good that conservation carried on the theme in its research.
Fig. 2. David Leigh.
Fig. 3. Dave Watkinson arrived in 1976, initially working on conservation of material from the Welsh Archaeological Trusts but soon moving onto teaching conservation students laboratory practical and working on…iron treatment. He is seen here in 1980 measuring chlorides.
Figure 4. The early conservation team outside the New Humanities Building in 1979. From back left  clockwise – Dave Watkinson, David Leigh, Peter Price, Janet Warren, Pam Lake.
Figure 5. Peter Price yields the legendary Conservation Laboratory whip! No shirking in the lab!!!
Figure 6. Sonia O’Connor and Dave. They worked as a team teaching and on various professional tasks such as editing Conservation News for UKIC. Janet Warren left Cardiff and was replaced by Sonia, who worked on material from the Welsh Trusts and taught student sin the labs.
Figure 7. There was rarely a dull moment in the labs, as this group picture with personalised PPE testifies. Back row; Ian (went on to work in various London Museums), Martin (went into marine conservation, diving and worked for Mary Rose Trust and now is at Portsmouth University), David Leigh – Second row; Peter Price, Melanie (Curator at Bristol Museum), Dianna O’Sullivan (worked in National Museum of Wales and alter taught at UCL now retired), Sue (remained in conservation on graduation), Tim (became an officer in the army) – Front; Mary (Conservation at Birmingham Museum), Ingrid (head of Conservation at the Was a Museum Sweden), Sonia O’Connor, Dave (with friendly gas mask)
Figure 8. Another jolly group image but all students this time. Some well known faces for current students. From the left: Michael Larenzakis-Lascaris or ‘Michael the Greek’ as he was fondly known (runs a private conservation practice in Greece), Jim (found his calling as a hospital porter after working in conservation for some years), Alison (worked in Newport Museum), Dave (Sailed the Atlantic alone – respect!), hidden? Yannick (Conservator in Bradford), Pete (Went on to British Museum, Science Museum and then private practice runs his own business and is a part time PhD in Cardiff currently). Jane Henderson with the purple hair (holding a pot that she worked on for 3 years – use that ammunition you current students!), Dave (runs his own stone conservation business), Richard (Teaches conservation in Australia) Siobhan (taught conservation in Cardiff with Dave for 7 years until 2000 (Head of conservation at the Ulster Museum and recently gone into private consultancy).
Figure 9. Karena Morton (Currently Head of Conservation at the National Museum of Ireland). David Leigh left after 9 years in 1984. Dave Watkinson was alone teaching for 2 years and then Dianna O’Sullivan was in post for a while. Sonia O’Connor left and Karent Morton was empoyed to work on Archaeological Trust Materials. After many years in Cardiff, Karena left for the National Museum of Ireland and Phil Parkes was appointed to work on commercial projects. He later became involved in the teaching of students, which remains his role today.
Figure 10. Now in colour! The end of year party at Dave’s previous abode. Bottom image far left JP Brown, who taught conservation in Cardiff for 2 years and is now working in the Field Museum in Chicago and is an environmental consultant. Our current external examiner, Janet Berry, is second from right in the bottom image.
Figure 11. The legendary Llandeilo Tal-y-Bont where we lifted the wall painting for St Fagans Museum. As seen from the equally legendary filed used for the lunchtime football matches where JP ‘Chopper’ Brown practised his art of the disabling tackle!
Figure 12. My most recent (old) image but I have run out of time to produce this collection of images….name yourself!!!!
Metal 2019 Switzerland Research – Joanna Thunberg (Cardiff graduate and PhD student), Laurie King (Conservator at the Monitor USA), Dave, Nicola Emmerson (Senior Lecturer Conservation Cardiff) Pete Meehan (Cardiff graduate and PhD student), Kim Roche (Marine conservator), Jerrod Seifert (Cardiff graduate, PhD student and Analytical Laboratory Research Associate), Sarah James (Cardiff graduate and studying a PhD in Switzerland)

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