for Tidy Britain
And then, I got the job at Brighton Polytechnic and to be honest I don't even know that I got that one on real merit, that is to say they interviewed 3, no 4 people for the job, 3 of them did not live in Brighton. The job was a very poorly paid Research Assistant post and the other 3, (according several years later to my boss), did not take the job because they couldn't afford to move on the salary. So it was not well paid but it was fascinating
As well as the degree in Environmental Sciences, Rob had studied in mid 70s for a PGCE teaching qualification at Sussex University - though 'I very quickly realised that I was never going to be a primary teacher'
I started on a tiny salary in 1978 at Brighton Poly. Full time, it was a delightful job. The project was based in Brighton -the Tidy Britain group in West Street, the national HQ of a group which came out of the Women's Institute in the 1950s. They wanted to be taken more seriously and decided that education was the way to go. It was the usual silly set of circumstances..two people got talking at a rugby club do,set up a research project, got government funding for it- and everyone was happy.
It was a delight for 17 years; University of Brighton just provided the space, running costs came out of the national charity. I left in 1995, having been on a one year contract for 17 years. Some years we were really threatened; some years there was no money to publish the stuff we'd developed, some years we spent the whole year trying to find the money to pay for our wages- but it was good.
Rob currently works as a house painter
There's a nice overlap between environmental work and the present. For years toxic materials have been a significant part of what I've done, whether its been land fill issues or incineration or emissions from vehicles. Now ofcourse I'm using paints which are full of volatile organic compounds but I'm looking increasingly at alternatives. 3 out of 8 people since last summer have been asking me to look at enviromentally friendly paints......that's been quite interesting; they are much nicer to use- some of them anyway. I did the FOE office in Brighton with Biofra paints (Gloucester Place)