'The Chemistry of Colour, Smell and Taste' Roadshow
20th September 2017

Oundle School Chemistry Department took a Roadshow of ‘The Chemistry of Colour, Smell and Taste’ to Oundle Market Place on Sunday 17 September.


This was the first event of its kind for the department which saw nearly seventy children and their families visit throughout the two hour session.


Participating children discovered why beetroot tastes better with lemons, what ammonium sulphide smells off (rotten eggs – it’s used in stink bombs) and why some perfumes contain the same molecule that is in faeces! There were also some colourful demonstrations involving dry ice (solid carbon dioxide).


Jonathan Peverley, Head of Chemistry at Oundle School, commented, “The idea came to me very early one morning whilst I was sitting up with my two year old who couldn’t sleep. I had just read an article from the Royal Society of Chemistry about bringing the ‘Chemistry of Smell’ to the classroom and I thought why not take it out to the public instead? I am delighted that the event was such a success and I now plan to look at ways to build upon the idea, perhaps taking it out to local schools.”


It was especially wonderful to have three of our Third Form pupils Amelie Holtby (13), Joseph White (13) and Thomas Caskey (13) helping. I firmly believe that giving the pupils a leading role helps them develop as individuals as well as good scientists.”


Lana, a Year Six pupil from Laxton Junior School commented, “It was really cool. I particularly liked the amazing red, white and blue colour change experiment, and the way the dry ice was ‘boiling over’ and changing the colour of the indicator water.” 

Sebastian, a pupil from Oundle Primary School commented, “It was fascinating to learn that when you mix different chemicals, it creates new colours, smells and sometimes bubbles and steam. The test to see if I was a 'super taster' was good fun. In three words? It was interesting, pungent and explosive!”

Anyone interested in booking a school visit should contact Gordon Montgomery at Oundle School –  


Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.


The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2016, the School completed its ambitious SciTec project, uniting Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. The development includes the ground-breaking Patrick Engineering Centre, a new Mathematics department and an extension to its sixteen state-of-the-art Science laboratories. Oundle has now embarked on a detailed Sports MasterPlan which will significantly upgrade sporting facilities across the School by 2020, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.


There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11. 

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