Published: 10 July 2015

Battersea memories come alive

Memories came flooding back at our first oral history day to capture stories of life as a student at Battersea Polytechnic, the University’s predecessor institution.

Accommodation, food, sporting activities and social occasions were just some of the recollections recorded for posterity. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the oral history project forms part of the wider Build our History programme to create a lasting record of life at Battersea to connect current students to Surrey’s history and inspire future generations.

University staff, students and Battersea graduates themselves volunteered to be trained as oral history interviewers and captured the stories of 19 alumni in our first event on 30 June.

Dr Alan Millington, who graduated from Battersea in 1965 in Chemical Engineering and is currently a senior teaching fellow at the University, said: “The interview was a pleasant way to reminisce and it’s nice to know that I am contributing to such a worthwhile and interesting project.”

The University aims to complete 100 interviews in time to celebrate our 50th anniversary in Guildford next year.

Chris Gethin, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, said: “Battersea Polytechnic is a very important part of our history and it is wonderful that so many graduates have come forward to share their memories with us.

“What better time to recognise Surrey’s foundations as we mark the University’s own golden jubilee; together we stretch back over 120 years.”

Listen to short excerpts from some of our recordings to get a flavour of the project.

If you would like to be involved in the oral history project, either as an interviewer or to be interviewed, please contact Emma Pryke on 01483 683148 or email

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