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The Birkbeck Laboratory

George Birkbeck

With grant a from George Birkbeck (shown above, after whom another University of London college is named), Graham was responsible for the construction of the first laboratory designed for undergraduate practical work, the Birkbeck Laboratory, which is shown below.

Plan 1845Birkbeck Lab

Again, of course, in 1845, all the students are men. You will see in the image of the Birkbeck lab above that some of them are wearing top hats; presumably these are the demonstrators. Attempts to get demonstrators to wear hats of any description have, in recent years, failed.

Graham was followed in 1855 by Alexander Williamson from Edinburgh, another Scot. Together with Wurtz and Hoffmann, he integrated the isolated discoveries of organic chemistry into a coherent whole. His work is illustrated in the next page.