04 October 2016

Blue plaque for the founder of desalination

It has recently come to light that one of the founding fathers of desalination, a Frenchman called Dr Alphonse Normandy, lived in London’s Bloomsbury in the 1850s. He developed equipment for desalinating sea water to produce drinking water, which was patented in 1851.

Several people collaborated to investigate Dr Normany’s little-known past, including current president of the International Desalination Association (IDA), Dr Emilio Gabbrielli, its first elected president, Dr Jim Birkett, and a London-based team headed by Debbie Radcliffe and Ricci de Freitas. Their hard work paid off, and his former London home – 67 Judd Street – is now marked with a blue plaque.

Ursula Annunziata was honoured to be invited to the unveiling ceremony this September, in her capacity as current EDS president. Other guests included Dr Normandy’s great-great-great-grandson, Niki Panourgias.

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