Professor Keith Allen - Obituaries

The Society for Adhesion & Adhesives
20 Sep 2007
Keith Allen (left) receives the Wake Memorial Medal from Dave Dixon (Euradh, Glasgow, 2002)

Professor Keith Allen: 9 April 1926 – 2 September 2007

Allan Hutchinson, Oxford Brookes University: 12th September 2007

Over the last 30 years the science of adhesion has developed hugely and in the UK Professor Keith Allen was at the centre of those developments.

Keith lived in Newbury in the same house for 52 years, in which all his 5 children were born. He began his academic career at City University, London in 1949 and gained the Fulbright Senior Scholarship to University of Pittsburgh in 1961-62. He was pivotal to all the activities on adhesion science and technology at City. He designed and launched an MSc course jointly with the Polytechnic of North London in 1974. This was unique in the breadth that it encompassed and the depth of science involved.

Keith was appointed as Director of Adhesion Studies in 1983 and continued his work with City University until 1992. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science in Adhesion Science by City University in 1994. In 1971, he was a founding member of the Adhesives Group of the IRI (Institute of Rubber Industries); this group became the UK Society for Adhesion and Adhesives in 2000.

In 1963 not only did he organise the first internationally-acclaimed Annual Conference on Adhesion and Adhesives but also presented a paper on ‘Strength and Structure’. This conference has now run for forty five years, originally hosted at City University but has been held at Oxford Brookes University since 1990.

Keith joined Oxford Brookes University’s Joining Technology Research Centre as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow in 1989. He was appointed as a Visiting Professor in 1998 and was accorded the title of Honorary Fellow of Brookes in 2002.

Keith was awarded the Ellinger Gardonyi medal of the Oil & Colour Chemists’ Association and was the Wake Memorial Lecturer and medallist of the Society for Adhesion and Adhesives (Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) in 1999.

He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and also of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining as well as a Batchelor of Science (Reading University), Master of Science (London University), and a Doctor of Science (City University).

During the last few years he guided Brookes’ postgraduates with their research work and PhD theses.

Professor Keith William Allen 1926 - 2007

Newbury Weekly News: Thursday, September 13, 2007

KEITH Allen was born in Reading and moved to Newbury at the age of four. He attended Speenhamland School from its opening, walking daily from his home in Monk's Lane.

He subsequently enjoyed a long association with St Bartholomew's Grammar School, initially as a pupil and later as ONA president.

His quest for knowledge took him to Reading University, where he read chemistry. The whole of his working life was spent at City University, London, lecturing and researching. He specialised in adhesion science and established the research group. He spent a year at Pittsburgh University as Fulbright Scholar.

While in America, he discovered the pleasures of camping; he and his wife later enjoyed many expeditions both with their family and her Guide company. Even in retirement, Keith never quite stopped working, acting as visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and continuing his consultancy from home. He retained strong links with both Reading and City universities through Convocation.

In addition to his steadfast commitment to education, Keith enjoyed many other interests. His involvement with the Red Cross began during the war, when he helped man the ambulances, and continued with his running the youth section of the British Red Cross Society.

Working with The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, he helped to prevent the canal from being closed. Many courting days were spent by the canal, photographing the inside of locks.

His dancing lessons with Iris Brooks led to a blind date, which culminated in his marriage to Rita, in 1955.

With five children, Keith's life was never dull, as he inevitably became involved peripherally in many other aspects of Newbury life.

He was stage manager for the local pantomime for many years, working alongside France Belk. He was so committed, that after a week of sleep deprivation, he fell asleep while giving a university lecture. Latterly, he organised Christmas reunions for the cast.

Keith was a devoted member of Newbury United Reformed Church, where he was Elder, lay preacher and secretary; Up until his death, he worked faithfully on the buildings' committee. He was widely known for his preaching, not only at the URC, but also at Baptist chapels and, more recently, at St Nicolas' Church, Newbury.

His lifelong enjoyment of the countryside included walking, fishing and hunting.

He was well loved and will be sorely missed by his wife Rita, and all his family and friends.

Photo: Keith Allen (left) receives the Wake Memorial Medal from Dave Dixon (Euradh, Glasgow, 2002)