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    Shropshire Pioneers Honoured at Harper Adams

    Posted 27 September 2007

    The Official Opening of the New Halls

    The Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Algernon Heber-Percy, recently officially opened a new Halls of Residence at Harper Adams University College. The names of Charles Darwin, Abraham Darby III and Eglantyne Jebb, three of the county’s most famous pioneers, were unveiled at the opening ceremony.
    Lord Stafford, the Chair of the Governors at Harper Adams said “It is very special that these buildings have been named after three people who have done so much for the county of Shropshire.”

    Eglantyne Jebb was born in Ellesmere in 1876 and was the co-founder of the Save the Children movement in 1919, the first truly effective international aid organisation. She, later in 1923, drafted a declaration of the Rights of the Child. These five simple statements were endorsed by the League of Nations in 1924.  Eventually an extended, seven statement declaration became the UN’s “Rights of the Child”, now ratified by all but one country on earth (the United States).

    At the opening ceremony Lionel Jebb, great-nephew of the author Louisa Jebb, Egalantyne’s elder sister, presented ‘The Small Holdings of England’ to Harper Adams. The timing could not have been better as Louisa gave this actual copy to Eglantyne exactly 100 years ago.
    Louisa Jebb was Eglantyne’s elder sister and was one of the first women to read the agricultural degree course. After studying at Cambridge she undertook a survey for the Co-operative Small Holdings Association which resulted in this seminal book ‘The Small Holdings of England’ which had a major impact of the ‘Small Holdings and Allotments Act’ of 1907.

    Abraham Darby III was born in Dale House in 1750 and is best remembered for his involvement with building the Iron Bridge. In 1785 the Society of Arts' awarded him its Gold medal, 'sensible of the magnitude and importance of this bridge'. It also became the symbol for industrialisation and a powerful announcement to the world that a new dawn had arrived, a time for man to define his environment.

    At the opening ceremony Michael Darby, a descendent of Abraham Darby III joined with members of his family to plant a rose garden in the middle of the complex. The rose varieties chosen are named after the Darby family and were presented by David Austin Roses. Michael Darby said “It is thrilling to be asked to allow the family name be used in this way at Harper Adams.”

    Darwin was a British scientist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution and transformed the way we think about the natural world. Charles Robert Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire into a wealthy and well-connected family.

    The new accommodation houses 150 students and is central to the college. Experts have installed photovoltaic solar tiles where the cells are semi-conductor devices that convert sunlight into direct current electricity. Groups of these cells are electrically configured so that it can be stored in batteries or used on the national grid. They create no noise, emissions and require minimal maintenance. It contributes to the University College’s Carbon Savings. They even generate electricity from sunlight even in cloudy conditions.

    Hall of Residence benefits:
    Estimated kWh per annum: 8,624 kWh                
    Estimated electricity cost saving: £366.52 annually
    Estimated revenue from Renewable Obligation Certificates: £360 annually
    Estimated Carbon Dioxide saving per year: 3,700kg

    The University College had adopted a variety of methods to tackle climate change and the Halls of Residence is just one part of the scheme of works. Other initiative that assist the University College to reduce its carbon footprint include; the development and installation of a prototype biomass generator, the radically designed Bamford Library which incorporates a natural ventilation system, rainwater harvesting and the use of a structural timber frame and is used to demonstrate the use of renewable technologies and natural materials in large-scale construction projects and a modern slurry storage and management system.

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