About PHS

/About PHS
About PHS2018-06-16T15:59:19+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

Roy MannsPresident
Born in Bombay, later lived in the UK and more recently the USA
Chairman and Founder of Polyfiltronics 1986 to 1999. Also worked with Data Packaging Corp.; Baxter International and Kenwood Kitchen Appliances
Sue MossmanVice-Chair
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
Mathew Philip has worked in the field of polymer science and engineering for nearly 40 years. He graduated from Leeds University with a first degree in Physics and a PhD in Polymer Physics in 1983. While at Brighton University first and latterly at the London Metropolitan Polymer Centre, he worked with several companies on product development, characterising mechanical behaviour and environmental degradation of several plastics and other materials. 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 retired from London Metropolitan University in 2017 but continues to work in plastics recycling and product design for recyclability. He is also an ordained Minister in the Church of England.
Carolyn ClarkAssistant Editor of Plastiquaraian
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 BushTreasurer
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 & Membership Secretary
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 KeneghanPlastiquarian Editor
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
Mike JenkinsWithout Portfolio
Dr. Mike Jenkins is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham. He is a research active polymer scientist and thermal analyst with over 20 years of professional experience in these fields. His research activity mainly concerns the relationship between chemical structure, processing, microstructure and the physical properties of thermoplastic polymers and composites. A significant theme of this work is the characterisation of ageing in thermoplastic polymers; mainly physical ageing and secondary crystallisation. To date, he has authored over 50 refereed journal papers, edited three books and has been lead supervisor for 19 PhD students.
Katherine CurranNewsletter Editor
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.