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University of Surrey Guildford

University of Surrey Archives, Guildford


Reference code(s): GB 2109 University of Surrey Archives, Guildford

Held at: University of Surrey Guildford

Title: University of Surrey Archives, Guildford

Date(s): 1890-2003

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: c1700 boxes

Name of creator(s): Battersea Polytechnic Institute
Battersea Polytechnic
Battersea College of Technology
University of Surrey


Administrative/Biographical history:

The University of Surrey began as 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; and Art and Music.
The Polytechnic, Institute was dropped from the 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 London County Council but remained closely associated with Battersea. 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 Battersea 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. Post-war 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 1957 when the name was changed to Battersea College of Technology. In 1966 it received its charter as a University and the decision to move from London was 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 it's 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.


Scope and content/abstract:

Archives 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, 1891-2003; reports of the Governing body, 1893-1926; of the Principal, 1910-1965, and of the Vice Chancellor, 1966-2003; building and accommodation papers and plans, 1960s-2003; records of academic departments and research institutes, including electronic and environmental engineering, education, languages and law, health, human sciences and the performing arts; prospectuses and calendars, 1894-2003, and details of postgraduate courses and research studies, 1968-2003; Students' Union records; financial records including accounts and funding bodies; legal and property records; schemes of government; staffing records and biographical notes of some members of staff; student and university magazines, 1908-2003, including Battersea Polytechnic Magazine, 1908-1930; Polygon, 1931-1963; and Battersea College of Technology Magazine, 1964-1966; Battersea Polytechnic student cards, c1894-1957 (microfiche); photographic collection covering buildings, events and people,1889-2000.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The archives are arranged in a classified sequence according to topic as follows:
A: Accommodation, Building and Site Development and Occupation, Moves and Planning
C: Ceremonies, Awards, Various Academic and Other Activities, External Links, Heraldry and History
D: Departments, Institutes, Facilities, Organs, Services and Units
F: Financial, Funding Bodies, Estimates, Accounts, Insurance, Legal Matters
G: Governance, Management, Operation, Staffing Matters
I: Information, Publications, Views about and of the University and its Predecessors
P: People
Photographs are separately classified under A, C, D, and P as above.

Conditions governing access:

By appointment with the University Archivist

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the discretion of the University Archivist

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Box files classification scheme with sub-divisions; computerised index in preparation.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Accruals from creating departments

Archival history:

Generated and retained in situ by the University and its predecessors

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transfers from creating departments.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

University of Surrey student records are retained by the Registry.

Public Record Office holds ED 90/118, 119 Board of Education, Technical Branch files re: Battersea Polytechnic, 1925-1953; ED 114/527, 528 HM Inspectors' full reports, 1927, 1938. London Metropolitan Archives holds EO/HFE/5/1-11 general papers, 1922-1949; annual reports and balance sheets, 1927-1949; curricula, 1930s; Hostels for Domestic Economy Department, 1928-1946; conversion of Art Department, 1928-1946; removal of Domestic Science Training College, 1937-1949; EO/HFE/5/181-182 LCC Inspectors' reports with correspondence, 1925, 1930, 1938. Wandsworth Local History Collection, Battersea Library, holds Battersea Polytechnic prospectuses, 1904-1924; annual reports, 1905-1909, 1923-1924; calendars, 1914- 1916, 1919-1920; Magazine, 1908-1924.

Publication note:

D.W. Thoms The history of technical education in London, 1904-1940 Guides to sources in the history of education, no.4 (History of Education Society, 1976) pp18-19; 44. H. Silver & S.J. Teague: The History of British Universities 1800-1969 - A bibliography, Research into higher education monographs. no. 13 (Society for Research into Higher Education, 1970) p230-231.



Archivist's note: Compiled by Janet Foster as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project, revised by Maureen Shettle, University Archivist.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2000, revised June 2003

Academic buildings | Educational buildings
Academic teaching personnel | Teachers | Educational personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Curriculum guides | Educational publications
Educational administrators | Educational personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Educational finance | Economics of education
Engineering education | Higher science education
Legal education | Vocational education
Photographs | Visual materials
Student organizations | Educational associations | Educational administrative structure | Educational organizations
Teacher education | Educational personnel training
Technological institutes | Universities | Higher education institutions | Educational institutions
University governing bodies | Governing bodies | Educational supervision
Women students | Students
Cultural education
Educational governing bodies
Educational qualifications
Electronic engineering
Environmental education
Environmental engineering
Health education
Language instruction
Performing arts
Social science education

Personal names

Corporate names
Battersea College of Technology
Battersea Polytechnic x Battersea Polytechnic Institute
University of Surrey x Surrey University

Battersea | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Guildford | Surrey | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe