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RepositoryUniversity of Surrey Archive GB 2109
LevelCollection
Ref NoUA
TitleRecords of the University of Surrey and Battersea Polytechnic/ Battersea College of Technology
Date1891-2007
DescriptionRecords of the University of Surrey and its predecessor institutions 1890-2003. The archives include papers connected with the original foundation 1890-1894; minutes of Governing Body, Council, Senate and their Committees, 1891-2007; annual reports 1893-c.2008; building and accommodation papers and plans, 1960s-2007; and records of academic departments.

Work is currently underway to catalogue the archives of Battersea Polytechnic and the University of Surrey. Whilst this is happening, catalogue records for Battersea Polytechnic can be found in both the University Archives catalogue (ref: UA) and the Battersea Polytechnic catalogue (ref: BA) and the records for the University of Surrey can be found in both the University Archives catalogue (ref: UA) and the University of Surrey catalogue (ref: US). In addition, there is a quantity of material still to be catalogued. Catalogue records will become available as they are completed. If you require further information, please email archives@surrey.ac.uk or telephone 01483 683822.
Admin_HistoryThe University of Surrey has its origins in the Battersea Polytechnic Institute founded in 1891 under the City of London Parochial Charities Act (1883) scheme to establish Polytechnic Institutes throughout London. Situated in Battersea Park Road, the Institute was the second of three proposed Polytechnics for South London and was formally opened in 1894 with six main departments: Mechanical Engineering and Building Trades; Electrical Engineering and Physics; Chemistry; Women's Subjects; Art and Music.

The Polytechnic, which dropped the word 'Institute' from its title in 1898, was well-established by 1900 although courses were mainly part-time. From 1901 the Principal, S H Wells promoted the establishment of 'feeder' institutes for the Polytechnic. These later came under the control of the London County Council but remained closely associated with Battersea Polytechnic. Through the employment of teachers recognised by the University of London full-time degree courses were established and the Polytechnic enjoyed considerable academic success leading to application for recognition as a School of the University in 1911. The application failed but recognition of its academic status remained a continuing concern for the Polytechnic. The increasingly academic nature of the courses led to an investigation by the City Parochial Foundation but the Polytechnic was able to prove that the majority of its advanced students came from the poorer classes.

During the years 1927 to 1939 the Polytechnic consolidated with a growing emphasis on science and engineering and the addition of metallurgy but the closure of the Art Department. Postwar expansion was curtailed by the site at Battersea despite the separation in 1950 of the Domestic College, successor of the original Women's Subjects Department. However, this did not prevent the Polytechnic being designated a College of Advanced Technology in 1956 and the name was changed the following year to Battersea College of Technology. In 1966 it received its charter as a University, the decision to move from London having already been made. Building began on the site adjacent to Guildford Cathedral and the University of Surrey started the move to its new premises in 1968. The Battersea site was completely vacated by 1970.

In April 1991 the University was awarded the Queen's Award for Export Achievement and in February 1997 the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in recognition of the University's outstanding achievement in satellite engineering and communications, teaching and research by the Centre for Satellite Engineering and its associated companies. In 1998 in recognition of the long standing relationship between the University of Surrey and the Roehampton Institute, London, the two institutions decided to form an academic federation. This unique partnership was approved by the Privy Council in 1999 and the Federal University comprised the University of Surrey, Guildford and the University of Surrey, Roehampton. On 1st August 2004 Roehampton became a University in its own right as Roehampton University but the two Universities continue to support collaborative activities.
Custodial_HistoryGenerated and retained in situ by the University and its predecessors. During the period 1966-2004 records from the formation of the University of Surrey onwards were added at irregular intervals to those transferred and collected from Battersea Polytechnic and College of Technology. Their original order and exact origin is in most cases unknown and they have therefore been arranged artificially according to function.
Related MaterialAdditional catalogue records for Battersea Polytechnic can be found in the Battersea Polytechnic catalogue (ref: BA). The records for the University of Surrey can be found in the University of Surrey catalogue (ref: US). The Remembering Battersea Oral History Project is catalogued under refno RMB: the interviews focus on memories of life at Battersea Polytechnic and Battersea College of Technology but also cover the early years of the University of Surrey.
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