Alumni noticeboard: April 2019

Since the last alumni noticeboard, Henry Palmer and Peter Anwyl got in touch with us with some updates.

Henry Palmer (Eliot, 2013: Film And Philosophy)

This book is about Bristol’s changing face. Written by an author who grew up in the heart of Bristol’s ghetto, Palmer sheds light on the supposed ‘renovation’ that Bristol’s poorer quarters have been undergoing. Growing up in Easton’s neighboring Whitehall, he would get into fights, be beaten up, be robbed at the end of a gun barrel, and experience the rough and ready upbringing that youths in these areas face the country over. After returning from university, however, he began to hear that Easton and similarly poor areas like St Pauls and Bedminster were ‘up and coming’. To get to the bottom of this claim, Palmer interviews countless people and draws on much research to reveal the shocking reality that faces the type of people he grew up with: rent hikes, snobbery, homelessness, institutional racism, and removal from the communities they once loved.

‘His is a reasoned and elegant ‘voice from the street’… If you care about cities and want to understand why they have become far too expensive, and if you want to do something about it, then this is the book for you.’ – Dr. Tom Slater

‘A superb foray into gentrification in Bristol, rich with instances, class based situations, and evidence of the gentrifiers mindset.’ – Professor Loretta Lees

Henry’s book ‘Voices of Bristol: Gentrification and Us’ was published in April 2019 and is being launched at Waterstones Bristol – Galleries on Saturday 27 April – find out more and attend.


Peter Anwyl
(Rutherford, 1968: Sociology and Politics & Government)

Peter Anwyl student card
Peter’s student card

Prompted by mention of my name in the Spring 2019 edition of the Kent magazine in helping stage the Led Zeppelin concert in 1971 (page 21) I thought I would briefly bring you up to date to what happened to that long haired, bearded, hippy radical of that time.

After 23 years as the chief executive of International Students House in London (a registered charity) I finally retired at the end of December 2016. I have spent most of my professional career working with students in higher education following a previous 15 year spell as chief executive of the University of London Union. I then took part in a job exchange in 1990 with the chief executive of the student union equivalent at Colorado State University one of the largest student centres in North America (actually in the world, with around 650 employees!). This was a truly life changing experience, personally, since it led to us buying a second home out there, at nearly 10,000 feet in the Rockies, where in retirement we now spend a substantial part of our time.

This all came about as a result of being elected as Sabbatical Treasurer of the student union at UKC back in 1970 and then getting elected onto some NUS committees. One of my later staff responsibilities at the NUS included managing the annual rock ‘n roll conference for university Social Secretaries so the Led Zeppelin experience came in useful! To this day I remember, along with Max Hole, the Union Social Secretary (later of great music management fame), counting out the money to Peter Grant, the manager of Led Zeppelin.

Just before I retired I was surprised and pleased with being presented with an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Letters) by the University of Westminster. It was in recognition for work promoting global education and international understanding amongst students from around the world, who in turn become the future leaders of our global community. On a different occasion an even more memorable event was spending some two hours with the 14th Dalai Lama and being presented with one of his blessed holy shawls.

I remain in touch with many friends from Kent including skiing holidays out in Colorado with John Murray (Sabbatical Treasurer 1972) and Lee Tappenden (Keynes) and attending and organising informal mini reunions and dinners and overnight stays with likeminded friends from Kent. Currently travelling the world as much as possible with my wife, Ellenor, with repeated visits to India where we sponsor and fund Indian students to study a Master’s degree at the School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS) at London University. After having seen half the world whilst I was working we are off to try and cram in the other half in retirement!

Peter Anwyl and family
Peter Anwyl and family at his honorary degree conferral, University of Westminster