About PHS

/About PHS
About PHS 2018-01-28T21:01:24+00:00

The Plastics Historical Society was formed in 1986 and was first to draw attention to the heritage of the plastics industry and to celebrate all things plastic.

It is an independent society affiliated to the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, 297 Euston Road, London NW1 3AQ, UK and run by a committee elected at the AGM each year.

Membership of PHS is open to anyone interested in plastics, rubbers and other polymers. The society’s international membership is drawn from collectors, industry, education, museum staff, libraries, and auction houses, and represents all age groups.


To encourage the study of all historical aspects of plastics and other polymers, including synthetic fibres, rubber and elastomers.Everything from Bakelite to Xylonite.


Members are offered a lively programme of events: In addition, there are two regional sections of the Society which are open to all members – a Western Section covering Wales and the West of England, and an East Midlands Section.

The Society has a library of many hundreds of books which are gradually being assembled at the IOM3.


Two full colour publications are mailed regularly to members – a Newsletter published six times a year, and a twice yearly journal plastiquarian. Articles and other content from the journal is available on this site. Some articles are reserved for members while some are open to all.

The PHS Committee

Percy ReboulPresident
Percy began his association with plastics in 1958 when he joined Bakelite Limited (later to become BXL Plastics) in London as Press Officer, and later became responsible for the P.R of the entire firm. As such he had access to the firms’ archives and contact with employees in all its branches and departments. Because of his special interest in Oral History, he owns numerous tape recordings of conversations with people from the industry, as well as some of the lectures organized by the PHS.
Sue MossmanVice-Chair & Events
Susan Mossman is Senior Exhibition Manager and formerly Senior Curator of Materials Science at the Science Museum, London. There she has curated a number of exhibitions on materials science and plastics related themes, including Plasticity (2007) and a display celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Alexander Parkes and his work on Parkesine (2013).
Mathew PhilipChair & Newsletter
Mathew Philip is currently Chairman of the PHS.
Carolyn ClarkHon Treasurer
Carolyn Clark is a community historian, mainly working in East London including Hackney and Tower Hamlets but also further afield, for example in Brantham and Tottenham. She is co-author of The Shoreditch Tales and has many published articles on a range of topics. She gives illustrated talks and presentations, including on the History of Plastics. Carolyn has collected plastics, focusing on the 1930s-1950s, since childhood and has an extensive collection. Carolyn has been a member of the PHS for over 20 years, has served as its treasurer and is currently Assistant Editor of Plastiquarian.
Susan LambertArchive/Librarian
Susan Lambert is Head of the Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP: www.modip.ac.uk), a research resource of the Arts University Bournemouth and the only accredited museum in the UK with a focus on plastics. She and the MoDiP team have organised a large number of exhibitions which demonstrate the contribution of plastics in the 20th and 21st centuries. She has recently organised the peer-reviewed conference: Provocative Plastics: Design in Plastics from the Practical to the Philosophical. She also leads the Arts Council England funded Plastics Subject Specialist Network.
Ray BushPlastiquarian
Ray Bush worked in the field of speciality fillers and performance additives for the plastics industry for more than 30 years concentrating mainly on the global export market visiting more than 100 countries on a regular basis.
Ray was also a volunteer with the Society of Plastics Engineers, the US based society for over 25 years, holding a variety of important position within that organisation and was responsible for establishing and developing SPE sections in Europe, the far-east and Australia.
Alan WellsWebmaster
After researching spectroscopy and synthesis of (poly)saccharides, Alan worked in the patent profession, latterly dealing with polymer patent applications. He collects patented plastics items as well as plastic jewellery. Alan is the Webmaster for this website.
Brenda KeneghanWithout Portfolio
Brenda Keneghan has a primary degree in Chemistry from University College Cork and a PhD in Materials Science from Queen Mary University of London. She worked for several years in academic research in polymer chemistry before joining the Conservation Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1993. She is the editor of Plastiquarian
Mathew PhilipWithout Portfolio
Mathew Philip has worked in the field of polymer engineering for over 30 years. While an academic at Brighton University and latterly at the London Metropolitan Polymer Centre, he has worked with several companies on product development through characterisation of mechanical behaviour and environmental degradation and process design. His primary interest currently is in plastics recycling and product design for recyclability. Since 1989, he has been an active member at regional level, firstly of the Plastics and Rubber Institute and then of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He is currently Associate Dean in the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at the London Metropolitan University as well as an ordained Minister in the Church of England
Paul BuckleyWithout Portfolio
Paul is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Engineering Science, Oxford University. He has taught and carried out research in Polymer Engineering for over 40 years.
Katherine CurranWithout Portfolio
Katherine is a lecturer at the Institute for Sustainable Heritage at UCL. She has a background in polymer chemistry and her research focus is on the degradation of historic plastic objects in museum, library and archival collections. Katherine is working on developing a new technique for identifying deterioration in historic plastic objects: by using the detection of volatile emissions, similar to the way in which we use our sense of smell to identify deterioration in food. This approach has the advantage of being non-destructive, and therefore suitable for heritage objects. She is also currently supervising a project that studies the way in which plastic objects deteriorate in response to light in museum conditions.