Lawrence Lyle 1923-2019
We’re sorry to report the death, in December, of one of our oldest members, a remarkable contributor to Canterbury life. At the funeral in Canterbury Cathedral, Paul Bennett, Director of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust paid tribute to Lawrence’s “long and distinguished life”, saying “Lawrence Lyle excelled in many roles: in education, local history, archaeology, local politics, in the community of Canterbury and the congregation of this cathedral. As an example to others, he has no equal, save for his wonderful wife Marjorie. His legacy is indelibly printed in bold letters in the history of the city he served with such distinction.” 
We had a call a few days ago to say that, very sadly, Marjorie, too, died in the middle of March.  
Members will be reassured to learn that their webmaster has at last got around to taking his MA – not perhaps all that useful in managing this site, but it does mean that he is now
qualified to teach theology…
Grants 2019
Our grants committee is delighted to announce the following record crop of grantees:
Megan Bell. Trinity. Chemistry. Taking 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 do on the spot market research checking the satisfaction with the performance of the stoves and interviewing further potential customers.
Augustine Allan-Labon. Corpus. Classics..To attend a month long summer school at the Academia Vivarium Novum in Rome in immersive Latin. The aim is to attain near fluency in Latin.
Robbie Whittaker. St Hugh’s. History. To undertake 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. To travel 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 are helping Ramani with the fare to the ‘Warwick Translates’ Summer School.
We wish them well on their projects and look forward to reports by some of them at the AGM on 20th October.
Our talented Chairman!
“You may be unaware that our Chairman Peter Morgan moonlights as percussionist in two Jazz bands playing locally. One is the Vocalion Jazz Band, which plays jazz in the New Orleans style. The other is the Roaring Twenties Orchestra, which plays the dance music of the 1920s (and 1930s) such as The Charleston, Pennies From Heaven and Home in Pasadena. This band plays regularly at the George on Stone Street (just before the petrol station as you travel from Canterbury towards Hythe) on the fourth Thursday of every month. The band plays from 8. 15 to 10. 30. There is no admission charge and people look in for a drink (or a meal) coming and going as they please. It goes without saying that Peter (or Pete as he is known in those circles!) would be delighted to see you there and promises not to bore you with OUSOC business”.
The Very Reverend John Simpson, former President OUS East Kent Branch
John Simpson 1
Most of you will be aware that John Simpson died in the last week of April after a long battle with leukaemia – our deepest sympathies are with Ruth, Helen, Rebecca and their families. John’s funeral took place in Canterbury Cathedral on Monday 13th May, a service meticulously prepared by John himself – with the happy addition of a trumpet solo at the end of the Nunc Dimittis.
Talbot Penner writes:
“The Very Reverend Dr. John Arthur Simpson OBE died at home in Folkestone on 24 April 2019. He was Archdeacon of Canterbury 1981-86 and then Dean of Canterbury Cathedral 1986-2000. During much of that time he was also the President of the East Kent Branch of the Oxford Society (now the Oxford University Society). After retiring from the Deanship of the Cathedral, he continued as head of the East Kent Branch until 2016, providing  valuable guidance, always offered in an unassuming and friendly way, so that he was regarded by the members with respect and deep affection. A Keble man, he was keenly interested in Oxford and encouraged the programme of grants to Oxford undergraduates from East Kent. He chaired the Grants Committee from its inception until quite recently. Both he and his leadership were always inspirational.”


An encouraging message from 2018 Grantee, Joseph Double:

‘First of all, I must thank you again for the grant, and for the warmth and friendliness at your event; it was an absolute delight to give my presentation and talk to your members, as it has been interacting with you in general.

I had the opportunity to work with one of my tutors over the summer to produce pieces for a general audience about complex mathematical topics. Without the help of the OUS East Kent group, I couldn’t have taken up this opportunity – with their grant’s help, I was able to afford to live in Oxford through a large part of the summer, allowing me to work in close contact with my tutor and use his studio for creating the videos and audio pieces I worked on. The OUSEK grant can be put to use far more flexibly than those from bigger schemes (which always have preconditions to meet about how the project will apply to industry, say), so I couldn’t recommend applying more if you have an idea for a project for your time at Oxford which is on the unusual side!’

Pieces I produced during the project:

Why do Bees Build Hexagons? Honeycomb Conjecture explained by Thomas Hales

(A video I edited of Tom (my tutor) interviewing Thomas Hales about the mathematics behind beehives)

Would Alien (Non-Euclidean) Geometry Break Our Brains?

(My main video, written, filmed and edited by me, about demystifying non-Euclidean geometry)

Take me to your chalkboard

(My main audio piece, where I interview Professor Adrian Moore (also of St Hugh’s) about what philosophy can tell us about how aliens might do maths)

Maths proves that maths isn’t boring

(An article about Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, and how they show maths is always risky)

Getting tattooed for science…

(An audio piece I edited about a tattoo Tom got of the Platonic solids)

Alien maths – we’re counting on it

(An article about how we use the mathematics of prime numbers to send messages to the stars)

Play Nice!

(An article about a game theory paper which could amongst other things help stop deforestation)

The Committee reminds us that the Grants Committee will meet in May 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 (details on request).  If you have been paying your yearly donations by standing order, please amend the details with your bank so these donations can go into our Metro 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?
Patrick Wheeler and Hubert Pragnell, both active members of the East Kent Branch of OUS have recently had books published and it is with great pleasure that we bring them to your attention.


Hubert PragnellYork: An artists View, an Architectural Guide

Published by Northern Arts Publications, Huddersfield ISBN: 978-1-909837-22-5  136pp  on high quality art paper RRP £20. 
A substantial introduction to the history of York & its architectural heritage with approximately ninety of Hubert’s own illustrations in  watercolour and ink & wash covering the main streets and principal buildings within the wall and not least the Minster. The aim is for it to act not only as a guide to York but also the development of English architectural style from the Roman period with York being one of the few British cities which an show substantial remains for each period from the Roman.  There is a glossary and bibliography. RRP£20.
Further details can be obtained from Northern Arts Publications website:
  Patrick Wheeler: Ribbons Among the Rajahs  A history of British Women in India before the Raj
Published by Pen and Sword History ISBN: 9781473893276 246pp RRP £25.
From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, British women started travelling in any numbers to the East Indies, mostly to accompany husbands, brothers or fathers. Very little about them is recorded from the earlier years, about the remarkable journeys that they made and what drove them to travel those huge distances. Some kept journals, others wrote letters, and for the first time Patrick Wheeler tells their story in this fascinating and colourful history, exploring the little-known lives of these women and their experiences of life in India before the Raj. With a perceptive approach, Ribbons Among the Rajahs considers all aspects of women’s lives in India, from the original discomfort of traversing the globe and the complexities of arrival through to creating a home in a tight-knit settlement community. It considers, too, the effects of the subservience of women to the needs of men and argues for the fusion of European and Indian cultures that existed before imperial times.
Modern Greek Language Classes – and Greek Dancing!
Ms Andrea Kourellias, a committee member, continues to promote the teaching of Modern Greek in East Kent as a minority language.
Since 2010, she has been the only KCC Adult Education Modern Greek tutor in East Kent, and is only one of two tutors in the whole of Kent. Andrea has taught Modern Greek in Canterbury from 2010 to 2017, but since 2017 taught the first ever beginners Modern Greek class in Margate.
Modern Greek from beginners’ level to intermediate is advertised for the academic year online.
Anyone interested should go to the KCC adult education website or e-mail Andrea direct at Or call the adult education number on 03000 41 2222. The continuation class is for those who have a knowledge of Modern Greek, although Ancient Greek is useful, but the course includes speaking/listening/reading/writing and is more functional Greek for holiday use, with some incidental grammar where this fits in.
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