Ref NoRMB/65
TitleOral history interview with Sir David Varney on 5 May 2016
Date5 May 2016
Extent1 wav file
Name of CreatorUniversity of Surrey, Alumni and Development Department
England, Lauren
Varney, David
DescriptionInterview conducted by Lauren England.
No transcript was made of this recording.

00:00-00:25: Introduction: graduated in 1968 with Chemistry degree

00:25-02:06: Why Battersea College? Recalls interviewer seemed interested in him, remembers being excited that the course would be new; aware Battersea College was becoming University of Surrey

02:06-03:53: First impressions: recalls freshers' week, receiving information from societies; mentions high contact hours; recalls being encouraged to question process of student life, contrast to Grammar school; mentions employment during school holidays before college

03:53-06:48: Student life: small community; recalls focus on politics and student newspaper, originally organised advertisements, became editor; second year stood as President of Students' Union, with permission from head of department, Prof Salmon; missed year in industry (third year), continued academic studies in fourth year

06:48-07:18: Students' Union role: appreciated opportunity of being president; felt work experience before studies helped to prepare for career

07:18-08:34: Links with Industry: describes efforts to create new industrial links in Surrey; meetings with Jim Moore from Department of Trade and Industry; recalls most students got jobs on graduation

08:34-09:48: Move to Guildford: recalls concern about finding accommodation for students to rent around new campus; mentions campaign to win support of local people; mentions George Edwards, pro-chancellor, promoted creation of a science park

09:48-10:50: Duties during Presidency: met with vice chancellor regularly; recalls aim to reduce disruption during move; mentions Mike Clark, dean of students, and Anna Millington, helped to design campus for student perspective

10:50-14:15: Establishing Guildford: aim to treat students as adults; discusses consultation of students on design of new campus; describes imbalance in disciplinary procedures for students and staff; recalls student strike about international student fees

14:15-16:43: Issues during Presidency: campaign to put contraceptive machine in men's toilets; recalls Lewis Elton's speech about international student fees; mentions deal at Battersea College with police to provide security for dances in exchange for students to stand in line ups;

16:43-19:55: Events: mentions bands, Manfred Mann, The Animals; describes student dress at balls; describes socialising at Callon [Courland?] Grove hall of residence, built in 1966, women's floors and men's halls; mentions halls of residence at Clapham Common; near Chelsea, Humphry Littleton played in The King's Head public house; recalls bands would tour colleges; mentions Students' Union entertainments chair, Bob Simpson

19:55-21:18: Accommodation: lived in Courland Grove halls of residence whilst president, describes benefits; on council of University of London Union

21:18-22:25: Employment: describes interview for employment at Shell

22:25-26:20: Political environment: mentions contemporary politicians Harold Wilson and Edward Heath; describes influence of international figures, Martin Luther King, Freedom Riders, Apartied, and John F Kennedy; mentions gender segregated guest policies in halls; discusses planned extra fees for international students; mentions sustained conservative government

26:20-28:04: Student Strikes: recalls David Varney [DV] faced a vote of no confidence whilst president; felt Battersea students weren't very political due to more practical courses with high contact hours; recalls some staff and students went to protests in Paris

28:04-33:25: Chemistry Course: recalls early stage of student participation in course design; recalls aim by CP Snow to mix disciplines, mentions writing literature essay; high opinion of Dr Leggett; recalls sense of community, opportunity to know Vice Chancellor

33:25-34:44: Relationship between staff and students: explains small role students have in process of running a University

34:44-38:30: Student Magazine: mentions articles on move to Guildford; recalls 'Surrey Advertiser' printed magazine; mentions articles on sport and satire; recalls taking paper to be handset by Polish printer at Battersea College; discusses role of University of Warsaw at Battersea College; recalls Head of the River race in Battersea Park lake

38:30-40:08: Student's Union: discusses structure, Sheneal Naz, Vice president, resigned; Chris Chambers was Deputy Vice President; Tony Riley, sports; Maddy was secretary; Bob Simpson was entertainments chairman; Students' Union executive board were elected from beginning of summer term to end of spring term

40:08-46:00: Success as President: recalls degree of controversy was inevitable; describes violation of Students' Union rules by Socialist Society; recalls inviting Vice Chancellor to Courland Grove halls of residence to demonstrate need for sound proofing; recalls decision to build lake at Guildford, remembers requesting independent power and water in Guildford Students' Union building to support sit-ins; mentions unusual design of halls of residence at Guildford

46:00-48:41: Development of University: mentions Patrick Dowling; feels Students' Union was more of a business in 1966; describes increase in international and female students; recalls fitting all Battersea students in The Refectory for tea

48:41-51:42: Balance of gender at Battersea: lack of girls meant expansion of life outside college grounds; remembers constant mix of students from elsewhere, especially at dances; mentions Hotel & Catering; recalls international element at Battersea was quite small

51:42-59:22: Students' Union Legacy: describes Presidency as a seminal moment; mentions final year chemistry and technology course, created by Brian Rubens and Mike Burstall; describes feeling more prepared for interviews, because of Students' Union experience; recalls SU as business with income of £150-200,000; mentions employment with Shell and further training at business school

59:22-01:01:05: University of Surrey summary: feels University of Surrey has inferiority complex; mentions continuing desire for medical school

01:01:05-01:02:45: Alumni relationships: remembers Annie Watts, now deputy chair of University of Surrey, mentions Diana Kerr, Bob Matthews, Bob Simpson, Sheneal Daz

01:02:45-01:05:52: Memories: RAG week, recalls student chained to Tower Bridge; mentions Alan Millington, Mike Clark, strong relationship with alumni; describes role of Mike Clark, dean of students; mentions Dr Leggett; considers lack of change to library over time, still very busy

01:05:52-01:10:06: Changes in student life: consideration of student debts and increases in house prices; discusses changes in technology; imagines further competition in higher education sector in future, more international; feels University of Surrey should consider what it has done well and how to improve in future

01:10:07 - End
Administrative HistorySir David Varney graduted from the University of Surrey in 1968 with a degree in Chemistry
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