Graham Forster: I was trying to explain to a friend who is a chemist the stuff that some boys used to make and scatter on the grass so that it made a loud bang when anyone trod on it I believe it was called clop does anyone remember what it was?
Richard Cyster: Possibly nitrogen tri-iodide.
Vin Gower: Tri-nitro chlorine???
Robin Skinner: Tri-nitro iodine!
Vin Gower: That's the one; old age plays havoc with the memory!
Jon Kemp: In our day it was nitroglycerin. It was placed in a tin with a long piece of string attached and then the string was given a pull and the lid was blown off the tin. Happy days ...
Vin Gower: And chucking great lumps of sodium in the pond, or was it potassium? Probably both.
Vin Gower: I seem to remember a couple of ducks on the pond; we were expecting him to pull out a small piece, nut it was about the size of my fist. Result? Two very panicked ducks!!!
Graham Forster: I remember Tombs taking us down to a pond and throwing sodium in.
Bill Kitchen: At the end of our second year we persuaded our hapless physics teacher Carey Harmer to take us all to The Great Lakes, as we called them, in the valley below the lab. The very nervous teacher, urged on by the whole class, stepped gingerly onto a small tufty peninsula and tugged a largish lump of sodium from an oil-filled jar. Cautioning us to stay well back, he tried to flick said sodium out into middle of pond ..... our eyes keenly following its proposed trajectory ......... but ........ alas, it initially stuck to the opened tin, then promptly dropped adjacent to Mr Harmer’s right foot.
It reacted very violently, sending a column of smokey water several metres into the air ....... we all cheered, but Carey lost his footing, fell sideways into the water ..... spluttering in confusion. At which point Frank Grigor, rushed into the pond and physically ‘scooped’ Carey up in his arms and dragged him to safety onshore.
Gerry Warren: I concur; it needed to be dried and it gave off a little cloud of purple vapour when if went off. You mixed some iodine, [the stuff you used to use on cuts and grazes as a disinfectant], with ammonia and filtered the precipitate. Roger Friend I recall that Coleman blew the tops of a couple of his fingers off around 1963 making an explosive with ingredients lifted from the chem. lab.
Bill Kitchen: Yep I remember that too, so Bailey called an assembly and tried to warn us off such daft behaviour.
Chris Snuggs : I remember that; he was so crazy and tough that he hardly ever grimaced when he returned from hospital. One might have thought that would be an expelling offence, but life carried on as normal! I can't remember whether he was punished - though losing bits of one's fingers might be considered punishment enough. "Don't do it again." would have been rather superfluous advice I would have thought!
Graham Forster: Thank you. I seem to recall Oswald Hotz-de-Baar making it regularly.
Gerry Warren: We also tried our hand, without sucess, at nitroglycerine - also gun-cotton with limited sucess - and mercury fulminate, too. The latter never was finished; Skailes caught us filtering out the fulminate and did his nut, because even in very small quantities that's pretty dangerous stuff.
Omar James-johnson: Weed killer and sugar in a tin and lit made a great smoke bomb.
Graham Forster: I am surprised that the school is still standing.
Barry Clark: It got all painted over the place - on light switches that exploded when you turned them on. I seem to remember the bible exploding in morning assembly when I got it out to do a reading and put it on the lectern.
Louis Parperis: I’m fairly certain Oz Hotz de Baar managed to blow up the kitchen at home with one of his experiments.
Graham Forster: That would not surprise me at all; he was a bit gung-ho.