Mystery over ‘missing’ town plaque

6, Bolton Road Eastbourne missing plaque. May 8th 2013 E19120P
6, Bolton Road Eastbourne missing plaque. May 8th 2013 E19120P

An ex-archaelogist is trying to find the whereabouts of a brass plaque dedicated to a Nobel Prize winner after it was removed from the front of a town centre bar.

Resident Thomas Burns got in touch with the Herald after noticing the monument had gone from a post at the front of Frenchs bar in Bolton Road where Professor Frederick Soddy once lived. The bar is currently closed.

The plaque was dedicated to Frederick Soddy, who was born in the town and attended Eastbourne College as a day boy in 1883 and 1884.

He also went to Oxford in 1896 to read chemistry. There is a blue plaque dedicated to him at Eastbourne College.

According to the website www.soddy.org the plaque that was placed in Bolton Road reads: ‘Here was born Frederick Soddy Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, foremost radiochemist of his time.

‘He discovered the transmutation of matter and the concept of isotopes. His life was dedicated to human welfare through the benefits of science 1877-1956’.

Mr Burns said he noticed the plaque had gone back in March and was unaware if it had been removed for safe-keeping, restoration or because it was going to be re-installed.

He added, “I’ve looked up plaques to Soddy and there are lots around the country.”

The www.soddy.org said that before the First World War, Frederick Soddy was concerned with the potential effects of the release of atomic energy, working with Ernest Rutherford at McGill in 1901.

They published eight papers setting out the Disintegration Theory of Atomic Transmutation, for which Rutherford received the Nobel Prize.

At Glasgow (1904 to 1914) he studied the displacements in the Periodic Table through radioactive changes leading to his theory of chemically identical elements with different atomic weights, which he called isotopes. This is the work that earned him the Nobel Prize in 1921.