Search

From Gidea Park to Africa: Peter’s fantastic journey

18:00 06 July 2014

Dr Peter Morgan

Dr Peter Morgan

Archant

Having grown up a stone’s throw from Gidea Park train station, a world-renowned scientist has gone on to save millions of lives across 
Africa with his low-cost sanitation technologies.

Dr Morgan (far left, stood up) at the Royal Liberty sixth form in 1960Dr Morgan (far left, stood up) at the Royal Liberty sixth form in 1960

Dr Peter Morgan MBE, who attended the Royal Liberty School in Upper Brentwood Road, Gidea Park, has lived in Africa since 1968, 
inventing solutions that help to provide clean water to people across the continent.

He gained a PhD in marine biology at the University of Hull before moving to Malawi, and then Zimbabwe, where he has carried out most of his pioneering work. He has served as president of the Scientific Association and edited the Zimbabwe Science News, as well as advised numerous other African countries on rural water supplies and sanitation.

Last year Dr Morgan was given the world’s most prestigious water award, the Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, and now his old university is following suit by honouring him.

So how did it all start for the boy from Balgores Lane? As he prepares to accept his honorary award of Doctor of Science at Hull, Dr Morgan spoke to the Recorder about his Gidea Park memories.

He said: “Thanks to 
excellent teaching, I did quite well at the Liberty and went to Hull to study zoology, then did a Ph.D.

“My supervisor, John Sudd, persuaded me to travel to Africa for a year and I took up a post as 
research fellow in limnology [freshwater science] at the University of Malawi and stayed three years studying the fish and fisheries of Lake Chilwa, near Zomba.”

He then worked at the Ministry of Health’s Blair Research Laboratory in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, studying health technology and the provision of improved 
water supplies, hygiene and sanitation, particularly for deprived rural areas.

He has come a long way from “making and tinkering about with Meccano sets and model trains,” which he was so fond of as a youngster. “I watched nature programmes on the early TV (early 1950s) and developed an interest in nature and wild life,” he said. “We used to walk through streams and brooks collecting newts and frogs by the river banks.

“The duel interest of the natural world and technical innovation were beginning to grow, together with an active interest in fishing, painting and photography. I did a lot of my studies in a wooden hut at the bottom of the garden.”

His current role is director at Aquamor, a not-for-profit company working in rural water supply in Zimbabwe.

His work has helped a large number of the 780 million people worldwide living without access to safe water and the 2.5 billion people who do not have access to adequate sanitation. Diseases linked to such deprivation kill more than 5,000 people each day.

Dr Graham Scott, of the University of Hull, said: “Dr Peter Morgan has developed many innovative solutions in water, sanitation and 
hygiene that have immeasurably changed the lives of millions of people.”

Dr Morgan is renowned as one of the leading creators and proponents of ecological sanitation solutions. His “eco-san” toilets – which make compost – are now in use in countries across the globe.

But as he reminisces about his childhood, it is clear he has not forgotten his roots.

He added: “Looking back, I owe much to those formative years in Gidea Park, which in one way or the other shaped the course of my life.”

Read more:

School Sport: Royal Liberty lift rowing crown

Boy impaled on fence at Royal Liberty School, Romford

Latest News Stories

Hall Lane, Upminster, has been closed off after a collision this morning.

Two women had to be cut out of a car after they were involved in a collision this morning.

07:00
Joel Adebayo

An entrepreneur who runs an online retail website that gives emerging fashion designers a platform is hoping to catch the eye of Richard Branson.

Yesterday, 14:50
Lavender Close, Harold Hill. Picture: Google Maps

A gun was pulled during a “disagreement” between eight men in a quiet residential area early yesterday evening.

Yesterday, 12:14
There have been two fires at Suttons Business Park this year

A scrap metal blaze started by the “careless disposal” of a cigarette landed a man in hospital with burns.

Most read news

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder