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Philip Malcolm Shaw (1921-2003)

P.M. Shaw (on the right) with his son Nicholas Shaw (matric. 1979, Medicine) at his graduation.

The short film below was made by Philip Malcolm Shaw who shot it during his time at St John's College. Born in Huddersfield and educated at Royds Hall Grammar School and Manchester Grammar School, Shaw eventually came up to College with an exhibition of around £50. He matriculated in 1939 and successfully completed his B.A. in Natural Sciences in 1942. After Cambridge Shaw worked in the chemical industry at Grangemouth during the war and then did a Masters at University College London. His career as a chemical engineer progressed to becoming the managing director of William Blythe & Co Ltd and eventually the director of Hickson & Welch (Holdings) Ltd. His son, Nicholas Shaw, also became a Johnian in 1972 when he came up to Cambridge to read Medicine. When Shaw retired he lived in the Lake District but always enjoyed annual trips down south to play in the Johnian golf days. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 81.

What we see in Shaw's film is the lighter side of College life. Despite his time at St John's coinciding with the outbreak of war, the sense of there still being time for leisure is evident. The film consists of various home movie scenes alternating from black and white to colour and the narration by Shaw himself was put on later. These images range from sunny trips to Grantchester and Babraham, sporting events such as the 1941 Cuppers Final and tennis tournaments at Girton to students climbing New Court Tower and ice skating in front of it. Most interesting, perhaps, is the footage of R.A.F. training in preparation for the war as well as the images of many of the lawns being dug up for the Dig for Victory Campaign. Subsequently we get an insight into not only what Cambridge looked like during this time, but how its students spent their days when they weren't studying.