Don’t look at me, nuffink ta do wiv me guv
I can ask - my source was doing her PhD there at the time*, so pretty much a first-hand report.
*Not, I hasten to add, in chemistry, nor in any subject that would allow her access to such material. (Unless it could be classed as “performance art”? Even then, I’d imagine the requisition would come under some considerable scrutiny)
I made TNT with a couple of friends at school
We were careful and used the chemicals in the chemistry lab at school
Well mix bored A level chemistry students and a library with recipe books and a well stocked lab with little supervision and you will get enquiring minds doing their own research
AIUI Today’s teachers aren’t even allowed to inflict capital punishment on the kids.
Issa disgrace. They’ve taken all the fun out of teaching.
Just checked the exploding toilet story, and it turns out I was wrong. It was a fellow doctoral student who had related the tale and it had happened at one of her previous colleges—possibly Nottingham.
On which subject:
I well remember our set, bound in dark-green, with gilt-lettering on the spine -
…I think they were my first encounter with a real encyclopedia, and I remember how us young 'uns chuckled at some of the pictures of the sculptures, showing as they did, all the “norty bits”.
… but often with no arms.
A lesson or warning to the muckier variety of schoolchild, d’you reckon?
Or something to do with the gunpowder?
In my final 6th form year (…day, aksherly) (1968) I remember putting a package of pure sodium (packed in oil-soaked newspaper¹) into the bogs of the boys’ latrines at my grammar school (Barnstaple Boys’ Grammar (…now Park School)) (…oh, wot norty, explosive fun!) - The good/sad side of the episode was that someone else got the blame (), so yours truly was never credited with the cunning plan or the brave execution of the daring stunt! ()
¹ sodium metal was stored in oil (that’s how it was shipped in order to prevent contact with air) and the newspaper (…my idea!) was to delay the contact with water when placed in the toilet-bowl and flushed)