Ref NoRMB/41
TitleOral history interview with Dr Ronald Pearson on 30 June 2016
Date30 June 2016
Extent1 wav file and 1 transcript
Name of CreatorUniversity of Surrey, Alumni and Development Department
Akinsete, Rotini
Pearson, Ronald
DescriptionInterview conducted by Rotini Akinsete.

00:00-00:46: Introduction

00:46-06:40: Why Battersea College? Grew up in London, Dickens Square; mentions National Service, Royal Air Force base, Coltishall; recommended Battersea College by headmaster of Archbishop Tennison's School ; recalls interview with George Ellison, physical chemist; National Service cut short to start course

06:40-09:25: Commute: cycled to college; Nine Elms Lane, Kennington; not much traffic; would take the tram if the weather was bad;

09:25-15:29: Course structure: full timetable; lectures in the morning, practicals in afternoon; ancillary subjects in first year alongside chemistry: mathematics, physics and biology; describes photograph of Tony Bose and Peter Hallgarten, during celebration; mentions fake examination results paper

15:29-25:15: Memorable characters: Vietnamese student, Le Ba Lac; Iranian; shared ownership of vintage London taxi; Graham Barrett; drove taxi to Nice after third year; Charlie Arcus, organic chemistry lecturer; Leslie Court, PhD supervisor;

25:15-28:21: Laboratory work: Wooden floors and tables, fewer health and safety regulations; recalls experiment to create explosives, Charlie Arcus; mentions accidents

28:21-30:55: Battersea Main Building: Common room, played cards; undergraduate laboratories on second floor; postgraduate rooms in roof, fire escape through trap door, windows ran along floor; 50-70 people in a lecture;

30:55-38:19: Socialising: No girls on course; mentions Hotel and Catering course; Keith Sugars; recalls driving taxi on holiday to Wales; Gordon Birch; Josh Cowan, married sister who studied at Roehampton

38:19-45:20: Research after degree: grant from Department of Science and Industrial Research; Major County Grant to cover undergraduate studies; postgraduate supervisor Leslie Court; Quickfit system; describes laboratory safety; remembers six hours a week teaching organic chemistry to undergraduates; Polish students, recalls labels on chemicals were in English and Polish;

45:20-49:17: Holidays: describes employment during holidays, British Rail delivery truck; role loading parcels onto trains over Christmas, King's Cross;

49:17-55:47: Sport: 1953 Battersea College second 11 football team, first 11 cricket team; captain of football team in 1957; played against other universities and colleges, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth; playing field next to factory; sports on Saturdays

55:47-01:02:48: Social activities: Performed comedy song composed by Graham Barrett in show; dances in Battersea Great Hall; boat race around Battersea Park lake; recalls relaxing in Battersea Park;

01:02:48-01:07:36: John Joseph Kenyon: head of department; Optical Resolution of Secondary Alcohols; describes Room 330 at top of main building in Battersea; reunion of 330 group;

01:07:36-01:10:20: After education: describes teaching Chemistry at Borough Polytechnic; University of North London; principal lecturer at London School of Polymer Technology; University of Kingston

01:10:20-01:18:58: Guildford campus: Very different; recent reunion, food based on menu from Battersea Polytechnic;

01:18:58-01:26:56: Memories: Gordon Birch; Battersea scarf, blue and purple with white stripe; dress scarf; George Elton; describes The Grove Public House;

01:26:59 - End
Administrative HistoryDr Ronald Pearson graduated from Battersea Polytechnic in 1956 - Chemistry.
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