Campden BRI’s director of science, Professor Martin Hall, has retired, bringing to an end an era that saw generations of the Hall family employed at the Chipping Campden based science and research organisation, since it was first established 100 years ago.
Martin’s grandfather, Frank Hall, was the first to join the research company in 1919 and worked as an experimental gardener managing crop trials. Martin’s father, Les Hall, joined the organisation in 1944 as a laboratory technician and retired as head of microbiology in 1987. Martin’s uncle, A W ‘Son’ Hall, also worked there from 1932 until 1968. The Halls have had a member of their family working continuously at the company since 1919 and together the family has given over 150 years’ service to it. In July 2015 a £2.5 million, state-of-the-art food analysis laboratory was opened and named The Halls Laboratory, in honour of their contribution.
In 1975, Martin started work as a research officer at The Campden Food Preservation Research Association, as it was known at the time, when it provided scientific and research services to the UK government. He was instrumental in transforming the organisation into a company that now works directly with the global food and drink industry, and turns over more than £20 million a year.
On his retirement, Martin said:
“The word unique is often over-used, but Campden BRI is truly unique in its work, the relationships it has with industry and what it is like as a place to work. I’ll certainly miss the place, but I’ll spend the time travelling with my wife, Younga, and have a few personal hobbies that will keep me busy including fishing, oil painting, gardening, stamp collecting, and generally fixing and tinkering with things. Retirement will also allow me to spend more time with my mother, who will be 102 this year.”
Campden BRI now has 2,600 member companies from 80 countries, including all of the top 10 UK retailers, the top 15 global food and drink manufacturers, and many of the world’s biggest brands. Over the past 44 years, Martin, who leaves his role as a director with responsibility for chemistry and biochemistry, microbiology, consumer and sensory science, and statistics, initiated many areas of the business’s growth and secured the first industry LINK-funded food related projects in the UK, and the first European funded project at Campden BRI.
In 1980 he travelled to Korea as a UN consultant to establish the Korean Food Research Institute, where he also met his wife.
Martin has over 40 years’ experience of a wide range of food science related subjects with specific interests in food safety and quality, authenticity and analytical techniques.
He has served on many consultative committees including the UK FSA Chemical Contaminants Committee, the European OEITFL Technical and Legislation Committee and the British Crop Protection Council (BCPC) where he was a director of the charity for a number of years.
Martin is an advisory Professor of Food and Agriculture and a member of the Advisory Council at Chonbuk University in South Korea. He was previously the Chair of the Government NMS Committee on Chemical and Biological Metrology and sat on the Government Chemist Advisory Group. He was also the Chair of the AIRTO interest group on Testing and Accreditation.
He has coordinated and managed large scale multidisciplinary and multi-national technical projects. These include EU, UN and UK LINK funded research and consultancy. Specific projects were the establishment of the Korean Food Research Institute (UNDP 1980), development of the Kuwait national food safety control system and infrastructure in collaboration with KISR (2004 – ongoing), EU project on cork manufacture (now the basis of the cork manufacturing standard) and EU support programmes with New Zealand (FP6) and Mongolia (AsiaInvest). He has provided major consultancy activities in South Korea, Kuwait, China and Hong Kong.