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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Stephen Thomas Receives Freedom of City of London

(5 March 2019)

Dr Stephen Thomas, an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences, was recently honoured as an Engineer by receiving the Freedom of the City of London in a ceremony at the London Guild Hall in February.

Being made a Freeman of the City of London has been made in recognition of Stephen’s Engineering, applied not only in London, but also within the wider United Kingdom. Seeing the certificate for the first time at the ceremony, he was delighted that it recognised his skill and experience as an Engineer by stating Stephen as a “Citizen & Engineer of London”

Stephen’s day job is Managing Director of OGI Groundwater Specialists in Meadowfield, Durham, where most of his work is undertaken in conjunction with his excellent team of Engineers, Geoscientist, Geologists, Hydrogeologists and talented & patient administrators.

Although a Chartered Civil Engineer by background and qualifications, Stephen best describes himself as a Groundwater Engineer. This requires experience and knowledge in a range of disciplines including Civil Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Hydrogeology, Geology and Engineering Mathematics. Groundwater has an enormous impact on our lives and society. Too little and we have ground shrinkage, building cracking and of course drought. Too much and we have ground instability, landslides and flooding.

With this experience, Stephen joined DESAB (Department of Earth Science Advisory Board) in 2016. Meeting twice per year, this board of national experts advises the Department on how to meet demands from industry and how the degrees can best prepare talented students for entering industry.

One of the perks of being a Freeman of the City of London, is that Stephen can now drive his sheep freely across London Bridge without paying a toll. Only a tradition in 2019, but a valuable privilege in the Tudor period of history!