Alistair Brown
Primary: Butterburn
Secondary: 1948-53
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I went to Butterburn School for my primary education and, thanks to some excellent teachers, I got a place at the Morgan in 1948.

I left in 1953 with happy memories as well as a few Highers/Lowers and joined Keillers in Albert Square as a laboratory assistant. I intended to study for a BSc through evening classes but found it difficult to concentrate on my studies after work (it was an 8½ hour day) so I left Keillers after a year and enrolled at Queen’s College, Dundee. I obtained an honours degree in chemistry in 1958 at which time there were not many jobs on offer so I stayed on at Queen’s College to do research for a PhD. The following year my supervisor announced that he was moving to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver BC and suggested I go with him to complete my degree. By this time Elizabeth had come into my life and she was happy to go with me so we got married and went off together. We spent three wonderful years in Canada working hard but also finding time to explore British Columbia and much of the western states of the USA.

On return to the UK in 1962 I joined ICI and spent 31 years in a variety of jobs, including research and production management. This took us to Harrogate, Runcorn and eventually to Darlington where we still live. Working for ICI was often difficult and stressful but never dull. I made a lot of friends over the years, some of whom I still meet up with on a regular basis.

I left ICI in 1993 and joined a newly formed chemical company as Research and Development Manager but they were taken over after a couple of years and I decided to move on. I then set up a small business in collaboration with an ex-ICI colleague offering general consultancy services but specialising in health, safety and environmental issues.

In 1997 ICI called me back in to advise on the design and start-up of a new chemical plant to be built in Taiwan. This gave me a few trips to that country and an opportunity (I thought) to learn a few words of Mandarin but I got blank looks from the Taiwanese when I tried to speak their language – apparently because of the Scottish accent! The job came to an end in 2002 with the plant up and running and I thought I had finally retired. However in 2004 I was invited to join a business development organisation where my role was to give help to small companies. I retired for good in 2006 the day before my 70th birthday on the grounds that it seemed wrong somehow to go on working after that date.

We have two daughters. Kathleen was born in 1963 followed by Moira in 1966. Kathleen and her husband are both teachers and live in Dorset. They have a son and a daughter. Moira and her husband live near us in Darlington, both working as business consultants, in Moira’s case part-time so that she can look after their two sons.

Elizabeth and I celebrated our Golden Wedding in 2009. We live quietly but still enjoy regular holidays. In days gone by I got my kicks by flying gliders and light aircraft, also sailing on the tall ships but I have been forced to accept that these are pursuits for young people.

Darlington, November, 2010