Oxford University Society East Kent Branch

The East Kent Branch organises several events each year, including a spring lunch, a summer garden party, the AGM and a pre-Christmas lunch, as well as an outing to Oxford if there is something going on that appeals to members. Often we have informal talks on these occasions, given by members. These are all daytime events, normally on a Saturday or Sunday.
Many of these events support our student grant scheme.
Spring lunch and talk: CANCELLED
The East Kent Branch of Oxford University Society is having a spring lunch on Sunday, 5 April 2020 for members and their guests at 12.30 for lunch at 13.15 This event is to be held at The Cafe du Soleil, 4-5 Pound Lane Canterbury CT1 2BZ  We shall be eating in their comfortable upstairs room which has its own bar.
Following the success of our members’ talks given by an increasing range of topics, our member, Tim Armstrong will speak to us about “Dada and the Surreal – Carrots, the answer to everything?”
The Cafe du Soleil is adjacent to the North Lane car park at the Westgate and  is a short walk from the Pound Lane car park. Turn left on Pound Lane as you walk out of the car park and the first opening on your right is the bridge to the Cafe du Soleil. The smaller Millers Field Car Park is on the Causeway. From there one can cross a small bridge and walk along the river to the Cafe du Soleil. It is within walking distance of Canterbury West Station. From the Canterbury main bus station, buses number 4, 4A, 4X, 3, 3A and Unibus all go to the Westgate, St Dunstan bus stop, which is a short walk to the restaurant.
Please email, telephone or send a note to me of your intention to attend including the names of your guests, if any, by Thursday, 26th March 2020 at the latest. As always, early booking is recommended. We do not need to make menu choices as it is a buffet but please tell me of any special dietary requirements that you or your guests may have.
The cost for starters of bread and dips on the table as we sit down and choices from the following buffet menu, tea and coffee and including service is £27.50 per person. Please make cheques payable to “East Kent Branch Oxford University Society” and send to our Treasurer, Mr. Nigel Beevor, 10 B, The Street, Ash, Kent CT32HJ  It is essential that payment be with him by Thursday, 26th March 2020.
If you would prefer to pay by electronic payment here are the Treasurer’s instructions for electronic payments:
“I am happy to receive electronic payments into our account:
Metro Bank, sort code 23-05-80, a/c number 31777692  . Reference  (your name)+ event e.g.Spring Lunch 2020.  Could I also be notified by email directly at:  This will enable me to keep track of those payments which arrive by electronic transfer.
The buffet menu will be as follows:

Platters of rosemary and sea salt focaccia, garlic bread, smoked aubergine dip and avocado aioli

Slow cooked Brisket of Beef, Bourguignonne Sauce or

Chicken Saltimbocca, parma ham and sage

Mashed potato and wilted greens

Seasonal vegetarian risotto

Sticky toffee and pecan pudding, toffee sauce  or

Cheesecake with fruit coolis

We do not need to make menu choices but please let me know of any special dietary requirements.
The Committee reminds us that the Grants Committee will soon be meeting to receive applications for this coming summer. In the interest of knowing how much money they will have to award, the Treasurer would be grateful if those of you who have not yet sent him your donations could do so. Cheques should be sent to: Mr. Nigel Beevor, 10 B, The Street, Ash, Kent CT3 2HJ.  He will also be happy to have money transferred to him by electronic transfer (as above).  If you have been paying your yearly donations by standing order, please will you amend the details with your bank so these donations can go into our new bank account. If you have not yet set up a standing order, may I suggest that this is the easiest way for the Grants Committee to know what funds will be available to them?  Our Treasurer has asked that we date our standing orders for the 1 November to simplify the bookkeeping.
Jayne Cohen Hon. Sec.
24 Squire Avenue
Canterbury CT2 8PF
01227 764268
Jayne Cohen
Dates for your diary:
Saturday, 13th June 2020 CANCELLED   A Summer Garden Party by kind invitation of Lord and Lady Freud.
Early October- The Annual General Meeting with talks by grantees, probably at St. Augustine’s again.
Pre-Christmas lunch 2019
This year, at the suggestion of our committee member Andrea, on December 14th we went to the Turner Contemporary gallery at Margate for a guided presentation of the winning entries for the 2019 Turner Prize, followed by buffet lunch at the Sands Hotel.
Two of the Turner entries were videos: one concerning interpretation of sounds, “earwitnessing”, centred on the experiences of inmates in prison in the Middle East; the other considering victims and perpetrators of violent acts of “terrorism” or “resistance”, especially women. Femininity and feminism were the subjects of a room-sized installation of sculpture with an accompanying audio text; and, finally, we had papier mache versions of the workers of the world – brought down from London seated on the High Speed train – facing the bleak prospect of a black curtain obscuring the view of the sea, with just a torn crack allowing a glimpse of the brighter world outside. So, all political and all needing the insights that the guides provided. The four short-listed artists, by the way, requested that their work should be regarded as the product of a collective, so were awarded the prize jointly.
Afterwards we fought our way against a westerly gale to the recently refurbished Sands Hotel – owned by an Oxford graduate – where our private room had a dramatic view, looking straight out over the breaking waves.
OUS East Kent AGM 2019
The meeting took place on Sunday 20th October at St. Augustine’s again – many thanks to the King’s School for excellent service and catering.
It was chaired by our President, David Freud, in the absence of the Chairman, and began with a minute’s silence to remember John Simpson, our former President, and Terry Wheeler, both of whom died since the last AGM.
Four members of the Committee, Peter Morgan, Peter Berg, Gail Swainston and Jayne Cohen were re-elected nem con (note use of Latin, vide presentation below).
Peter Morgan’s report, which was read out, included thanks to the members of the Committee, in particular to Talbot Penner who served as Secretary for many years and was instrumental in setting up the Grants Scheme. The Alumni office in Oxford had also been very helpful during the year, sending out letters about our group to all alumni in our area. An area of concern is the lack of large houses and gardens for future fundraising events, so that subscriptions will have to be the principal support for grants in years ahead, implying that we need more subscribers and, possibly, raised minimum donations – see below.
The Treasurer, Nigel Beevor, presented the accounts for the year (full details under History and Accounts). The figures demonstrated very clearly that in order to maintain grants current levels and numbers, increased subscription income will be vital – a motion was immediately proposed and carried to raise the minimum from £10 to £20, due on 1st November.
Gail Swainston gave an enthusiastic account of the volunteer groups conference that took place in Oxford in September together with our Secretary, Jayne Cohen – and delegates from all over the world. The Alumni office clearly now sees groups like ours as important for the future of the University, and we can learn much from one another.
We awarded six grants this year, costing £3550.  The recipients were:
Megan Bell. Trinity. Chemistry. Took part in a 6 week project at Imperial College London with a research group investigating the solar-driven splitting of water to produce H2 and 02 as a fuel source. This is intended as a more efficient way to ‘store’ solar energy.
Ben Smart. Worcester. Engineering. A project with Cleen in Uganda helping to research the heating element in solar panelled ovens and then doing on the spot market research checking the satisfaction with the performance of the stoves and interviewing further potential customers.

Augustine Allain-Labon. Corpus. Classics. Attended a month-long summer school at the Academia Vivarium Novum in Rome in immersive Latin, the aim being to attain near fluency in Latin.

Robbie Whittaker. St Hugh’s. History. Undertook primary research in the archives of the Venerable Collegio Inglese in recently catalogued documents regarding the foundation of various overseas training establishments set up by the Jesuits in the 16th century, Rome, Seville, Douai etc. Robbie is learning Latin for this, the documents having not yet been translated.
Oliver Stapel. Worcester. Geography. Travelled to the Netherlands to undertake research into the integration of immigrants into Dutch society, specifically Anglo-American immigrants from a culture not deemed ‘different’ thus contributing to the understanding of the extent that immigration is a function of difference or a less binary process.
Ramani Chandramohan. St Anne’s. Classics and French. We helped Ramani with the fare to the ‘Warwick Translates’ Summer School.
Three of the grantees were present at the meeting and gave presentations about their projects:


Augie was introduced by our President with a few words in Latin – what else? – though most of the account was in English. Who’d have thought that Latin could be so much fun? A month spent with formal classes, tours of Rome, games and music, all in Latin. And Augie, by popular request, finished with a rendering of a short song to a text by Catullus.




Ben’s time in Uganda was spent with a small volunteer project looking at environmentally friendly ways of improving daily life for ordinary people with few financial resources. The traditional method of cooking, burning wood or charcoal in a pottery oven inside the hut, often leads to breathing and other problems. The aim of Ben’s group was to develop a solar-powered electrical oven. The first problem was to find components that were up to specification – not easy, but they were able to demonstrate how the set-up would work using mains electricity. The rest of the time was spent looking at ways of marketing and financing these systems – banks were remarkably flexible in their approach to providing the necessary, modest, sums.





Hydrogen may well be the clean energy source of the future, but the classic way of producing hydrogen by electrolysis using carbon electrodes is very inefficient and, therefore, costly, but Megan told us that the process can be improved dramatically by coating electrodes with various chemical compounds. Her project was to synthesise a complex compound including barium and niobium – quite a challenge, as it turned out to be dramatically sensitive to moisture, air and almost everything else. Success at the third attempt, and tests on the electrical properties turned out most promising.

Ben, Augie, David Freud, Megan

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