BSc Civil Engineering, Class of 1953.
One half of a great Swansea love story.
A couple who fell in love at Swansea University in the early 1950s says the organisation will always hold a special place in their hearts. Ahead of the University’s centenary celebrations John and Diana Lomax, who now live in Swansea, returned to the Singleton Park campus to share memories of their time there.
As a couple who met at Swansea University, I imagine there are many fond memories for you both here. Are there any that stand out to you?
Reflecting on our time at the University College (as it was then called) during the 50s. Obviously the main fond memory for us both was meeting, becoming a couple, and in due course, marrying in Swansea. Diana was already living in Swansea – I was in student accommodation in Mumbles. We both thoroughly enjoyed our time together in the area. I graduated in 1953, stayed on to do some research and left in 1956 to take up my new employment in Kent and we were married in 1957. As a civil engineer, I was required to move around quite a bit and so we lived in many areas in the UK until returning to live in Swansea in 1988.
I understand you have always been very active members of the University, involved in sports and societies when you studied here. You must have made many close friends are you still in touch with them?
Because of moving around, we lost contact with many of the friends we had made in Swansea, but we have maintained contact with:
Dilwyn Griffiths – now retired as a Professor of Botany and lives in Melbourne and James Cook - University Townsville, Australia. We have met both in Australia and back in the UK many times.
Apart from working towards my degree, my greatest highlights during my time here were being elected Student Chairman of the Engineering Society and appointed as the Captain of the college squash team. I captained a combined University of Wales Squash Team (Swansea and Cardiff) in a competition against the combined Southern Universities – and beating them! In addition to this, I was the Chairman of the College Central Athletic Board.
Diana’s memories of her time at the College, initially in the Abbey and then in the new Natural Sciences Block are of a most enjoyable job – interesting work, no real pressure, dealing with very nice people, both students and staff.
One memorable weekend was when with a friend from the Engineering Department she went to the Albert Hall in London to attend The Women's’ League of Health and Beauty Conference (they were both members). They cleared their offices in their Departments (they worked Saturday mornings in those days!) and went. On Monday they were severely admonished by the Chief Clerk of the Registry – they did not know they came under the control of the Registry!
You recently planted an oak tree at the University as part of our centenary oaks project. It must have felt special to have planted a new life where you both met over 60 years ago, to benefit our future generations?
We have been delighted to be involved in the planting of one of the 100 oak trees on the Singleton Campus. As it is near the entrance on the Mumbles Road we shall be able to keep a track of its progress.
If you could both relive one experience or one day here, what would it be?
It would be great to relive my graduation day in 1953 – it’s all a bit of a haze now! Diana was a seating steward at the time of my graduation but we did not know each other then. Back then the campus hadn’t been developed very much, there were no cars and I think everybody knew each other’s names. It was a very exciting time to be here and we both have very happy memories of our time at Swansea.