Memories

A universal truth about the Cooper’s Hill Campus is that it has a deep and long-lasting effect on all who have been lucky enough to stay there. This site was created to preserve a great place of shared learning and personal discovery for the many hundreds of students who passed through its gates.

During the creation of the site, the author encountered many folk who had studied and lived during Shoreditch Technical College years, and it was incredible how many traditions transcended both education tenures and how fond everyone was of their time there.

Since launching, the site has received many messages from alumni of all ages, and from all around the globe, which reflect this. If you have have a memory to share, or photos, then please do consider sending using the form here.


167 thoughts on “Memories”

  • I was there in 1989 in Bradley Hall. I was doing Physics and Electronic Systems at the time so had to travel on the coach every day to get to the main Uxbridge campus.

    It was also the time when the second “hurricane” hit and a lot of the tall Monkey Puzzle trees came down. I still have a piece of Monkey Puzzle now in 2014.

  • What a fantastic website! Exploring the campus again after nearly 20 years brought back so many memories. “Funk ‘n’ Fur” parties at the student union, “Pyromania” fireworks events with bonfires so large they interfered with the flight beacon at the top of President Hall, discovering the hidden passageways that led to a basement underneath the main building and rabbits, lots and lots of rabbits!
    Anyone who had the pleasure of spending any time at the Runnymede Campus is indebted to Tom for preserving this archive.

    Mark Hester, ‘92 to ’96

  • Wow! Thank you for this site. Brings back so many fond memories. Seeing Kilburn and the Highroads (Ian Drury and the Blockheads), Dr. Feelgood, and many others spring back in my memory banks. So many lovely people in my ’75 year; sadly some have died. I can envisage their ghosts on the campus as in ’72-75! Shoreditch was a fantastic place for me.

  • Hi I was in 76 year as an English/drama student. I lived in President for 2 years,
    top floor. Great website! Love to hear from anyone who remembers me. Now retired and still living in Suffolk. Thanks for the lifts Andy Burrell in the back of your sports car with the cello??

  • Tom…great job. I was at Runnymede 86 to 90. Family was what it felt like … and we were all getting educated. Thanks for saving prompts to memories…

  • I nearly fell off my perch when Johnny Walker mentioned the Elton John appearance in 1977 at the Valedictory Ball on his Radio 2 ‘Sounds of the 70’s’ show on Sunday 15th June 2014.
    I joined Ditch just after the event….been teaching for 34 years, married, divorced and happy with my partner of 10 yrs, Debs, teaching in Wokingham at Bearwood College.
    I am the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain’s Youth officer and a Navy Cadet officer (30yrs). We race hovercraft as a school.
    Nice site. Well done! Keith

  • Fantastic, I stumbled into this site today and the happy memories of 74 year came flooding back. A wonderful nostalgic site with great photos. Now living and teaching in Auckland moved here25 years ago and love it. Where has the last 40 years gone? Thanks Tom, keep up the great work. Will be passing through the UK in October but fly out the day before the reunion.

  • What a great site and what fantastic memories it stirs. I drove to Coopers Hill last summer and was really disappointed to see what a mess the site was in (I think they call it progress). I have many happy memories of my time at ‘Ditch’ but have long lost touch with all my old college companions.
    In 2007 my son went to Brunel to study Product Design and I was absolutely amazed to see him using machines that I felt sure was original equipment from the Runnymede site. I’m guessing that, when they left, Brunel simply lifted everything that was still in working order and relocated it to Uxbridge. Was I mistaken, or could my son really have been using the same lathe that I used 35 years earlier?
    Greetings to everyone who was there between ’72 and ’75. The site may be a wreck and our own bodies might be flagging, but the spirit of the place lives on.

  • Great site and so many memories – rear of Bradley Hall was the College Cricket ground during the 60’s- 70’s I have just put a photo from 1969 looking back towards Bradley which shows cricket team gettign ready to bat in a match there

  • Pauline Cox (now Roberts) 75yr

    What a wonderful site to stumble across. Brings back so many happy memories. I loved this place with all my heart but only those who have been part of it can ever understand how unique and special it was.
    Have been teaching in Oxfordshire since leaving, but retired at Easter.

    Hello to any old-time friends who may remember me, and thank you Tom for all your hard work.

    Pauline

  • Student from 1964 to 1967 (67 year) Great memories come flooding back just looking at the views. I still remember clearly the flour bombing of the new students at the first assembly and the introduction to the “french correspondent”

  • Proud to be one of the ’65 year, at a time when the college – then Shoreditch Teacher Training College – was growing apace, reflecting the shortage of craft teachers at that time.

    My years at Runnymede will stay with me forever.

  • What a fab website, I love the idea of us all retiring there, as long as they reinstate the workshops. We still some drawers from the halls of residence with the lovely dovetailed joints, now very vintage and built to last. Happy happy days!

  • I was a DT student at Shoreditch between 1978 and 1981. Very happy memories of those years. I am still in touch with a few lads in 81yr although come to think about it most of them are near retirement age. Where did the years go? Looking back now I realise what fortunate young men we were. If you remember me please get in touch.

  • Wonderful site – quite tugs at the heart-strings. Many memories flood back – may be the best years of my life. I’d do it all again if I had the chance.

  • Hi, Great site an brings back so many memories of my time spent at Runnymede studying Industrial Design ’97-’01.

    I was in the Egham area this weekend and thought I’d pay the old place a visit but was sad to see that, with the exception of the oldest main buildings and the chapel mews and SU building, most of the halls (marshall, bradley, scrivens, Reid) the refectory, workshops DTC buldings and sports hall etc have all now been demolished. There was also what appeared to be a hippie camp in the woods behind overlooking the Thames!

    Many thanks for keeping the memories of the old place alive as we all knew and loved it!

    Dan Newton

  • Good to see.
    Where are we all now?

    80 yr and then sabbatical in student union.

  • Love the site, brings back many happy memories of my time there 75 – 78.

  • What a fantastic site. I was a student (not a very good one) from 74-77 and it is just great to remind myself of what it all looks like. I called in there two years ago and the whole place was locked down which was sad.

  • Hi,
    Just happened on this site, been looking through the guestbook, seeing many names I remember. Itching to look at the photos, but don’t seem to be able to play the pano shots on the iPad out here in Thailand. Will get onto the PC when I get home.
    Kip, 75 year, still married to Jan (75 year)

  • I was 76yr 77 BEd . Words are not enough to describe the effect that ditch had on my life….many happy memories .i hope it’s spirit will remain forever.
    Visiting recently was a bit heart breaking as most of the halls and workshops had been destroyed.
    I don t know what they are planning to build but please…. Let it be QUALITY not some poorly constructed rubbish.
    Tony Hughes

  • My years at Ditch were from 1966 to 69 year. Great fun always something happening. Great social events Dances etc Met my wife Jen at the Saturday night Dance. EPC no doubt made many matches.

  • Great memories of being there from 91 to 95. Top facilities and great campus. Interesting to note that the rooms hadn’t changed between the grand opening and when I was there. Not exactly luxury, but as we were all designers, we made it our own. Thanks for the pix.

  • Thank you for captivating the spirit of “Ditch” as it was once called on camera. I spent some of the best years of my life there with brilliant and talented people from 1974-1978. The powers to be may well try to destroy the fabric of the building but they will never be able to erase its spirit, haunting laughter and camaraderie. If I win the lottery, I will buy and rebuild retirement homes on the site so we can all go back to create havoc once more and grow old disgracefully. Love to all from Lynn alias Cilla 77 year x Please say hello if you remember me!

  • I was at ‘Ditch from 1965 to 1968. Group 14 1968 yr. are trying to organise a reunion – anyone around? If so please email me or Tim Watson or Rob Woolridge.

  • I can’t believe the number of a’Ditch’ fellow students, colleagues and friends I have found after many many years in the wilderness of Education! I was lucky to inhabit Reed 300 and soon to attend 75year 40 year reunion no doubt with lots of man hugs and cheek pecks. I have very fond memories of many people some more than others and I hope you have all had a great life with more fab times to come.

  • Came onto the site purely by chance as I wandered about on Google Earth. I was a student, not much to shout about,from 1957 – 1959 and remember those days with much fondness. I remember an Austin 7 being placed on the roof above the main entrance and the stage in the assembly hall being covered in turf. Principal most irate (Not personally involved in either prank!)
    I wasn’t really good at heavy crafts but survived at two Secondary Schools before switching very successfully to Primary. Long time retired now.

  • Attended Shoreditch 70 71 72, very fond memories of a great working environment, and gardens. Made a lot of friends of which I am still in contact with after all this time.
    A real shame about the current state of the buildings hope they are put to good use.

  • Hi y’all … 201 68 Year at Ditch in Group 13 with the likes of Tim Watson, Neil Windsor, John (Sandy) Saunders, Barrie Williams , Derek Wilson, Barry Yeats, Viv Williams etc etc. Happy to receive contacts to reminisce about the “good old days! “

  • Just got back from the ’75 year re-union in Lichfield, where I heard about this site. Just brilliant, as was the re-union weekend. I feel so lucky to have spent 3 years of my life with so many lovely people. The years rolled back as we reminisced the good times! Hears to the next time we all meet up again.

  • I began working at Coopers Hill Training College in October 1946 and it had not been open for long. I was aged 16 was given a birthday cake soon afterwards.I was a veg. cook and dining room assistant They were the best teenage years. We lived in and 13 girls loved all of it. Thank you.

  • Ah what memories ….. wonderful idea to produce this . I was at ditch from 65 to 68 and loved every single second . Anyone remember the longest summer holiday ever? when the college was closed early due to an outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning great times hey !!!
    Anyway now happily retired as i imagine most of the 68 yr group are by now. Still in touch with some very close friends i met at ditch all those years ago , but a touch sad at the state of the place now . John B

  • A fantastic record of the college. A really valuable record of the college especially as I understand most of the buildings have now been demolished. Many thanks for your hard work in putting these pictures together.

  • I started as a raw recruit in Sep 72 (75yr) finally leaving in 76 with 4 years of very happy memories. Having been to two reunions in the last 2 years 74 and 75 I am delighted to find that so many people enjoyed their experience as I did. Congratulations on setting up this archive it is an appropriate tribute to the people who passed through the college and to the difference made to the lives of so many young people in their care. If its not too morbid – has any though been given to a new section on ditch colleagues that are no longer with us?

  • Thank you! I was fortunate enough to be at Runnymede in 89 (Bradley) and 91-93 (Bradley then President) even though an Uxbridge engineer. MANY happy memories and happy to hear from people. Best, Harold

  • 71 – 75 Spent at Shoreditch College of Ed.
    Local student – lived at Englefield Green.

  • Great site Tom and lovely reading all the updates from ex Ditch students. As for me I was a 75yr Bradley boy and thoroughly enjoyed our recent 40yr reunion in Lichfield. I taught for 37yrs mainly in Hertfordshire and did a spell overseas in St Helena. Now enjoying retirement as ‘the local handyman’. Wonderful memories and formed life long friendships.
    Danny 1972-75

  • Wow – thanks to Alan Cormack for pointing me in the direction of this excellent site. Alan and I were in ’81 year – Bradley Bombers – and have just met up with Dave Capes and Norman Salmon for a social evening. I have been overwhelmed with a wave of nostalgia from our get together and from looking at the pictures on this site. They were great times. Anyone else from 81′ year out there?

  • Now retired sfter 10 years in a total of 5 secondary schools and 20 ears teaching DT Education at a university. Many happy memories of my 4 years’Ditch. It would be good to hear from any that remember me.I still see a couple of friends from those days.

  • Thanks for your work, great memories. ’64 – ’67 were vintage years, The Birdcage on a Sunday night, loaves of bread, tins of jam from the canteen to feed us at 11pm, often joined by tutors. The drying cabinets used for keeping the toast hot! Is there still a hole in the wall in Presidents block where the crossbow test proved more than a match for the target? travelling through the adjoining room! The siege catapult competition on Englefield Green; Chestnut walk as a car park, mandatory water fights etc. What an education!

  • My 3 Years at ‘Ditch were full of great times and great people. Nearly 4 decades ago…..
    Best wishes and good health to all!

  • ’68 to ’71 Fantastic memories, wonderful times and great friendships. A lifetime of teaching until retirement a couple of years ago. Loved all those years and all due to the ‘Ditch experience. Best wishes to all.

  • Was at Shoreditch from September ’74 – June ’78. Loved those four years and made some lifelong friends. I married Richard (’78 year) nearly 12 years ago (maiden name Colgan) – hope they don’t change the site too much – leave a bit of our old college!

  • Just found out that the old college is no more – quite sad really. Like others I loved the 3 years and we had one reunion after 30 years in an Italian restaurant in Soho. Brilliant. 23 turned up out of 180.
    One event not mentioned so far was hiding all the examination desks (180) on the night before the exam, which had been sprung on us. Another was during the first Rag Week (65 I think) I organised a 3-legged beer race in Windsor. Successful yes but i could never go back to the pubs as the competitors made such a mess!
    I also remember a few of us had MG sports cars which we kept down Chestnut Walk.
    Great site. Well done.

  • July 2016–1965 year–had a lunch reunion this week with Roger smith/roger nicholls/& david patrick (over from America) in shffield.Super& much banter about our great times at the Ditch. Must be due for a National Willibobs week??? Whoever is out there–good on ya –I live in Australia 1/2 the year these days (still workin on me “final Job” cheers Ian stansfield

  • I had a fabulous three years here 69-72. Made some great friends. A place and time I will never forget.

  • Very much looking forward to trying to get together with the 91-95 crew next year (2017). Such a shame the campus is no more, though great to keep in touch with many Brunel students via Facebook, and of course Andy the Barman. Great site thanks.

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