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Sir Edward Maitland Wright (1906-2005) B.A., M.A., D.Phil., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S.E., Professor of Mathematics 1936-1962, Principal 1962-1976

Excerpt from interview recorded on 2 May 1986 with Dr Jennifer Carter. Here Sir Edward describes his experiences of fire watching in the University Union during WWII 

Image: Sir Edward Maitland Wright




I was very interested in student concerns. During the war I was one of the Senatus members on the Union Committee. We had the Air Squadron at Marischal. We had nothing that you could call a mess but we did use the Kirkgate Bar, and we used the Union to eat quite often. I knew the Union Provisor then very well. I actually fire-watched and he said, "Come and do it in the Union. I can give you a bed with sheets and a hot meal." So he could! You got Form 6 allowance. Everybody got this. Everywhere else you were paid at the end of your shift. At the Union you were paid at the beginning. You then went down with the students to the Kirkgate Bar, which was included in the Union. It would have been terribly difficult to get on to their roof, but still it was included. They paid partly for the night watchman and this sort of thing. You sat there, drinking gently; the students all had money to stand their round because usually they were very keen on standing their round, but you didn't like them doing it. Then at 9.30pm when the pub shut you went back and had supper, and went to bed. Fortunately we were never turned out. Of course, the Union roofs were not inviting.

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