David Jenkinson: dangerous school chemistry lessons

David Jenkinson remembers dangerous chemistry lessons at the Royal School, Armagh, Northern Ireland, in the early 1940s.

Listen to the full interview track and all other tracks from this interview on British Library Sounds

We did a lot of practical chemistry. We did things that wouldn’t be allowed nowadays, I mean even for the teacher to do. I remember seeing the laboratory green with chlorine, we were making chlorine and the kids were throwing it at each other. It got a bit out of hand. We were all choking with the thing. We did all the gases, you know, the oxygen, nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine and so on. Erm, yeah, I remember making hydrogen and you made hydrogen by pouring hydrochloric acid on zinc. And again you collected the hydrogen in the same way. And then you tested it to make sure there was no oxygen in it, and you lit it and it burnt. And if you hadn’t got it right, if there was still a bit of oxygen in it, there was one helluva an explosion. And I remember seeing the whole apparatus going straight up to the ceiling and coming down again in bits from somebody who hadn’t been as careful as he should have been.
  • Interviewee David Jenkinson
  • Duration 00:01:12
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 3/22/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/06

Related Audio Clips

The following clips are short extracts from an in-depth interview.
To listen to the full interview visit http://sounds.bl.uk

Related themes