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James Watson Halls to be renamed Rosalind Franklin Halls from September 2019

Planning permission has recently been given by Portsmouth City Council to change the name of James Watson Halls to Rosalind Franklin Halls from Monday 2 September 2019, following a recommendation from the University supported by building owners Unite.

The hall, built in 2003, was named after the Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson who played a role describing the structure of DNA, a discovery which launched modern biology and holds an important place in scientific discovery.

The University and Unite regard James Watson’s views on race reported earlier this year as unacceptable. The University is committed to a working, learning and social environment based on dignity and respect, where difference is valued and celebrated.

James Watson Halls and the ground floor areas known as James Watson East and James Watson West buildings leased by the University, will be renamed after Rosalind Franklin, who was also one of the team that discovered the DNA double helix. Rosalind died in 1958 and did not receive the Nobel Prize as they are not awarded posthumously. It is therefore considered a good opportunity to recognise her contribution to the amazing DNA discovery.

Summary of building name changes from 2 September 2019

  • James Watson Halls will become Rosalind Franklin Halls 
  • James Watson East will become Rosalind Franklin East
  • James Watson West will become Rosalind Franklin West 

Review and update University publications, systems and materials

University staff are asked to review publications, maps, webpages, signage, systems and other materials in their areas and use the new building names from 2 September. However, we are aware that not all updates will be possible by this date and that some changes will take place in the following weeks and that there will be an overlap between the old and new names for a short period. 

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