Ref NoRMB/53
TitleOral history interview with Mrs Ro Smith on 30 June 2015
Date30 June 2015
Extent1 wav file and 1 transcript
Name of CreatorUniversity of Surrey, Alumni and Development Department
Singh, Sarah
Dewey, Margaret Rosemary
DescriptionInterview conducted by Sarah Singh.
Interviewee's full name is Mrs Margaret Rosemary Dewey; she wishes to be referred to as Ro Smith.

00:00-00:50: Introduction

00:50-01:37: Why Battersea College? recalls entry requirements and opportunity to re-take A-levels; explains parents were alumni

01:37-03:32: Mathematics course: 15 hours of lectures a week, first floor of Main Building; only three students; wanted to be scientist

03:32-05:15: Life at Battersea: recalls good social life; describes role as Secretary of Students' Union; no industrial placements; caught train from Streatham to college; lunch in The Refectory; four one hour lectures a day

05:15-06:51: Food: The Refectory, liver and bacon, ice cream, friendly communal dining; Hotel & Catering Restaurant, wonderful food, well served; little café nearby run by Turks; The Grove pub

06:51-10:42: Socialising: Small course so mixed with other students; department socials; Saturday night dances with live bands in Great Hall, Acker Bilk; Going Down Ball in Festival Hall; Christmas Ball

10:42-13:12: RAG week: Patrick Walker and Sheila Robinson infiltrated Sir John Cass College to steal mascot, Larry Gibilaro, fighting in streets; Battersea mascot, Oscar the Owl

13:12-14:27: Head of the Lake competition: boats on Battersea Park lake, race without using oars; passing footballs across lake

14:27-15:46: Acitivites: Mike Banfield; watched arrival of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier at Victoria Station, and arrival of Bulganin and Khrushchev

15:46-19:54: Students' Union: recalls limited space in Battersea Main Building; member of netball club, playing fields in Merton; lived at home in Streatham; noticed Interplanetary Society; recalls writing manifesto to stand as Students' Union Secretary, photograph with distinctive pony-tail, speeches at hustings

19:54-22:59: Sport: played some netball; visited Folkestone with hockey club against other students; rugby, hockey, Steve Guttman

22:59-26:49: Different Nationalities: wonderful diversity; Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, Polish; Mr Zegalski, taught algebra; Ariadne, Greek-Italian from Egypt; Jagoda Sklodowska, Polish; Arabs

26:49-30:39: Trip to Egypt: stayed with student; manservant; Alexandria, Cairo; El Alamein

30:39-34:28: International Evening: Steve Guttman organiser; national costumes and dances; belly dancer, Egyptian; Polish dancing and costumes; Indian dancers from local club

34:28-41:40: Memorable characters: mathematics students worked very hard; Mr Giles, engineering lecturer, photographic competitions; Mike Woods, Students' Union President; Tony Wicks, caving club, trip to Portugal; Mike Banfield, entertainments chairman; Dr Hayden, head of mathematics; Mike Hatton, married Ms.Pottington from Home Economics and Institutional Management; Mr Kidwell

41:40-43:53: 21st Birthday Party: At parents' house in Belmont, near Sutton, Surrey; bus brought other students, then took them home at midnight; a few students lived at home too, most were in halls of residence

43:53-50:39: Music: jazz club; Acker Bilk; Moon River, Volare; dances; Chubby Checker; Mike Banfield; lunchtime dances in Great Hall to records; elimination dance, longest line of clothing; organist played organ in Great Hall; visited Festival Hall

50:39-51:53: Graduation: recalls BAC Special examinations; third year University of London exams in South Kensington, bus and underground strike

51:53-56:19: After graduation: visit to Battersea College by employers to select students; employment with company in Manchester, research department of AEI Metrovick; left to become a mathematics teacher

56:19-58:58: Benefits of Battersea College: social skills, confidence; best time of life; variety of people

58:58-01:02:05: Fashion: no denim jeans; flannel trousers, corduroys, sports jackets; skirts, blouses and cardigans; red skirt; black dress

01:02:05-01:06:01: Holiday employment: chambermaid in Bournemouth; bus conductor, London Transport, free bus pass; Battersea Park café; Hartley's Jams; solicitor in Covent Garden

01:06:01-01:12:27: Weekends: Dances on Friday nights; theatre trips; jazz club; Lyons Corner House; enjoyed time at Battersea, staff were supportive; home-cooked meals with international friends

01:12:37 - End
Administrative HistoryRo Smith (Margaret Rosemary Dewey, nee Smith, and known as Rose Smith during her time at Battersea) studied Maths, both at A-Level and Degree from 1954 through to 1958.
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