The end of an era, or should that be epoch?

Yesterday was the last day of the move of the University of Oxford Department of Earth Sciences from the building(s) it’s occupied since 1948 to the new building just around the corner. (The chemistry labs are still situated there until November but the building is now technically “owned” by Chemistry.)

This was the end of an era for me as well. I was the first person to move into the extension in late 1992, getting key number 139, and my office was one of the last to get moved out as well. So, I’ve certainly been the longest resident. Yesterday I handed that key back for the very last time, after having it in my pocket continuously for 18 years almost to the day. The end of another era.

The new building is very different from the old one. It’s light and airy but also more “corporate” and soulless. One real benefit is, however, that the common room is on the roof and last night, at the weekly Happy Hour, it was very pleasant sitting on a sofa with only the spot lights switched on watching the nearly full Moon climb above Headington Hill intermittently shrouded by scudding, silver-rimmed clouds and the sky changing from a light turquoise to a dusty dark blue over the period of an hour or so.

Still, the only constant in life is change and I can see that the new building *IS* an improvement in many ways from the old one. There are things the old building had which were better, such as a larger library, but on the whole there are fewer of those than than the new one’s advantages. Let’s just see how things progress…


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