Aston University has taken the wraps off its little-known link to the 1948 Olympic torch – more than 60 years after the first historic Greece to London relay.
The Birmingham university has dusted down for display a series of artworks by Ralph Lavers, designer of the original 1948 Olympic Flame, which made its way from Olympia in Greece to London via Italy, Switzerland and France.
The artworks were presented to the Aston campus in 1966 by the British Aluminium Federation – and lay in a storeroom for years before being restored for viewing.
A series of nine panels, all made from aluminium and designed using techniques later perfected by Ralph Lavers for his Olympic Torch, tell the story of the processes of the manufacture of the ore and its use in transport, engineering and science.
Originally commissioned for a 1948 exhibition held in parallel with the Olympics of that year, Lavers’ panels aimed to reflect the growing optimism of the nation following the rigours of the Second World War.
David Farrow, director of marketing and communications at Aston University, said: “The panels show the process of extracting ore from the ground, through to it being smelted and rolled and then turned into artefacts.
“Ralph Lavers was the original torch designer and these panels are from an exhibition which was designed to represent Britain’s recovery from the Second World War.”
Aston University vice-chancellor Professor Julia King said: “We are very proud of our heritage which links back to the Birmingham Municipal Technical College, and in particular our long-standing partnerships with industry and commerce.
“Aston University is the perfect home for the Ralph Lavers series as we share his optimism about the future, driven by his business renaissance.
"At Aston we are working hard to deliver that vision, with world-leading research in low carbon road transport, bio-energy and laser photonic communications systems.”