Ref NoRMB/58
TitleOral history interview with Mr Robert Steward on 14 October 2015
Date14 October 2015
Extent1 wav file and 1 transcript
Name of CreatorUniversity of Surrey, Alumni and Development Department
Monk, Trudy
Steward, Robert
DescriptionInterview conducted by Trudy Monk.

00:00-01:07: Introduction: Graduation at Westminster Hall with Lord Robens

01:07-05:34: Why Battersea College? School in Portsmouth, completed O levels; apprenticeship at Her Majesty's Dockyard Portsmouth with part-time study at the Dockyard Technical College, completed both Ordinary and Higher National Certificates; heard Battersea College would accept students into second year with Higher National Certificates; describes Battersea College prospectus; interview with Mr PJ McVeigh, test on maths equations
Other students: Felt more mature because of industry experience; Chris Peshman and Jeff Bailey; sponsorship from Plessey Company, £100 a year on top of student grant; thick sandwich course, third year spent in industry

05:34-06:55: Industrial placement: Plessey Company, close to home in Portsmouth; creating personalised cheques, McCorkendale

06:55-42:45: First Impressions: Went to interview by train; old fashioned area, found room on top floor of house in Wandsworth, moved to rented accommodation opposite Battersea Town Hall
Studying: full week of lectures, except Wednesday afternoon for sport; needed to write up results of experiments, so didn't play sport; lectures in classrooms of school nearby; good lecturers
Lecturers: Mr McVeigh talked very fast; Mr Laurence Helm, humorous, smoked in lecture theatre;
Entertainment: lunchtime recitals in Battersea Main Hall; speech by Jimmy Saville; visit by Georgie Fame; bands played at Chelsea Art College; Mannfred Mann, Paul Jones
Examinations: several examinations in first year to confirm knowledge; Mr Ashdown, lecturer in electrical measurements
Industrial Placement: Plessey company, Surbiton; testing large cassette tapes for computer; year with automations department in Poole, Dorset; technician's wage; joined Poole Amateur Rowing Club
Final Year
Societies: London Officer's Training Corps, drill night once a week near Russell Square, paid territorial army rates
Choice of subjects in final year: computer technology and telecommunications; split into analogue and digital computing; binary arithmetic, Boolean algebra, internal circuitry; intensive study; returned to Ralph West Halls of Residence
Green Café: good food, chicken curry, chips
Final Examinations: new examination papers; desks in Battersea Main Hall; Dudley Leggett, always left exams early; 10 questions, final mark was best five answers
Final year project: had to buy the electrical components, refunded by college; no way to type up paper, either handwrite or send to agency;
Graduation: Ceremony in Methodist Westminster Hall, London, shook hands with Lord Robens, chairman of National Coal Board; certificates posted to students
Time at Battersea: ten week terms; did not write home; mentions Spanish maids in halls of residence; usual evening routine; describes dances on Saturday or Sunday nights; mentions girls on engineering course, Tina Ludlow and Anne Quarry; visited cinema, King's Road, Chelsea, Michael Caine, Dirk Bogarde; Harold Wilson, Prime Minister, promoting technology
Reunion: Chris Peshman, Jeff Bailey, Roger Morgan
Clothing: Perry Grant tailor in Clapham Junction, bought dark blue suit; formal dress for lectures, sports jacket, shirt and Battersea tie, Battersea scarves; £5 a week for accommodation
After graduation: employment with Plessey company; accommodation with other engineers; employment with General Electric
Battersea Park: nice open space, lake, photoshoot with the model Twiggy, Tony Britton

42:45-01:01:24: Officers' Training Corps: describes training; swore allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen; accepted all classes of students; weekend camps; firing range; guard of honour for Queen Mother at degree ceremony in Royal Albert Hall
Battersea Rowing Club: University of London boat house on Thames, rowing eights
Officers' Training Corps summer camp: three day exercise on moors, dug trenches, visited family in Cornwall
Holiday in Greece: Chris Peshman, after graduation, three weeks; interest in classical history;
Novel: wrote novel 'Journey of Destiny'
Textbooks: purchased from Foyles bookshop

01:01:24-01:03:37: Life in 1960s: Apsley and Selsey public house; grateful for opportunity to go to university

01:03:37-01:07:51: Battersea College memories: Laurence Helm, mathematics lecturer, recital on piano in Main Hall; Nick Mansell, golfer; Six Bells public house; Professor Lovering

01:07:51-01:09:53: Food: Not quite enough; Green Café, curry and chips; breakfast in halls of residence only served until 9am

01:09:53-01:10:58: Move to Guildford: aware it was in planning, but too busy studying; only spoke to University of Surrey when degree certificate went missing

01:10:58-01:12:24: Sport, Rowing: Poole Amateur Rowing Club, on the sea; Battersea Rowing Club

01:12:24-01:14:06: Jokes and pranks: Joe Pace, electron physics; Laurence Helm, mathematics lecturer

01:14:06-01:21:03: Final Memories: became independent of parents; met a wide mix of people; social studies modules, essay on American War of Independence; walking into Chelsea

01:21:06 - End
Administrative HistoryMr Robert Steward graduated in 1967 with a BSc in Electrical Engineering.
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