School of Chemistry

Our History


The History of the School



1881 - University College Nottingham opened at Shakespeare Street and consisted of four professors and three demonstrators. Frank Clowes gave all the chemistry classes to the day students.

1897 - F. S. Kipping took over from Clowes when he left. Kipping was already a Fellow of the Royal Society aged 34.

1911 - Only 12 Students had gained an Honours Degree in Chemistry.

1920 - The number of chemistry employees had reached 8. Kipping did pioneering research on compounds of silicon and prepared novel silicones. Examinations were still managed by University College London. Financially, the 1920s proved difficult, despite Jesse Boot's £20,000 gift and funding of a Lectureship in applied chemistry. Basic raw materials for research had to be made or were donated by the chemical industry.

1928 - Jesse Boot gave the college a splendid new site and buildings in Highfield, but chemistry staff continued to be responsible for evening classes at Shakespeare Street until 1945.

1936 - Kipping retired and was replaced by Professor J. M. Gulland, a pioneer in the analysis of DNA using physical methods.

1948 - J. M. Gulland was replaced by F. E. King. This was also the year Nottingham gained full University status.

1954 - Professors of Physical Chemistry were appointed

1958 - Professors of Inorganic Chemistry were appointed.

1960 - The number of staff in the Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry sections became equal and the department moved into a new, purpose-built building.

1960s  - The annual student intake doubled and annual numbers of research papers published by staff increased from 35 to 80.

1970s/80s - In addition to Kipping, 5 formers professors, 2 emeritus professors and 4 current professors were elected Fellows of the Royal Society.

1998 - The department formally became the School of Chemistry. In the 50 years since University status was awarded, Chemistry at Nottingham has moved from humble beginnings to one of the top Schools of Chemistry in the UK, with respect to the quality of its teaching and research.


School of Chemistry

University Park Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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