Ref NoRMB/47
TitleOral history interview with Mr Michael Roberts OBE on 14 January 2016
Date14 January 2016
Extent1 wav file and 1 transcript
Name of CreatorUniversity of Surrey, Alumni and Development Department
Buckland, Amintha
Roberts, Michael
DescriptionInterview conducted by Amintha Buckland.

00:00-00:15: Introduction

00:15-02:04: Why Battersea College? Sent by employer, Kodak, to West Ham College of Technology for degree in chemical engineering; West Ham College was not accredited to offer Diplomas in Technical Studies; transferred to Battersea College; course upgraded to Bachelors of Science

02:04-15:42: First Impressions of Battersea College: describes 52 Northside, Clapham Common, halls of residence; describes curfew and late key; Doctor Sumford, warden; Miss Quinn, warden; many lecturers had served in World War Two; recalls liberal studies, guest speakers, Tony Benn; mentions Hotel and Catering restaurant; remembers facilities in laboratories; Watney's, Beecham's Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer

15:42-17:47: Chemical Engineering course: lectures during first two years from different departments; chemistry, mechanical engineering, mathematics

17:47-27:28: Practical Work: Industrial visit Ford Motor Company; chemical engineering design project, liquid oxygen plant, Jack Smith, Blake Simpson; visit to commercial nitric acid plant, King's Lynn; test of college boilers; remembers being taught to analyse situations, weigh the facts; role as external chairman of energy committee at Davenport dockyard; describes employment with Prudential Insurance Company, rearranging post room

27:28-33:54: Industrial placements: three months at Tate and Lyle sugar refinery; mentions book by Oliver Lyle - The Efficient Use of Steam; six months with Constructors John Brown, three in London design offices, three in Research and Development Centre, Leatherhead; recommends industrial placements

33:54-56:07: Student life: describes number of industry-sponsored students and size of course; Dr Marks; describes dances in Main Hall on Saturday nights, film showings, jazz concerts; explains activities in evenings; night porter, Ted; mentions visit from David Eccles to open Ralph West Hall of Residence; describes pranks performed in halls of residence

56:07-01:05:35: Jokes: re-programmed lift in Ralph West Halls of Residence to stop a different floors; Jim Taylor wrote on roof of staff bungalow; close group of friends, Peter Marsh, Jack Smith, David Wells

01:05:35-01:07:50: After Graduation: director of PA Management Consultants; energy consultancy; executive council for parliamentary group for energy studies; Terrel Wyatt

01:07:50-01:12:42: Battersea benefits: nice social life, lovely staff; engineers were sponsored, so had jobs to go to after graduation

01:12:58 - End
Administrative HistoryMr Michael Roberts OBE studied at West Ham College of Technology before being redirected to Battersea in 1959, gaining a Diploma in Technical Studies (which was to become a BSC when the course was upgraded).
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