The University of Surrey turns 50 (#Surrey50)

This week the University of Surrey celebrates 50 years in Guildford, having originated from Battersea Polytechnic (  The celebrations started with fireworks on Wednesday this week, which was preceded by some good music (does anybody recall the name of the first band?), including a Beatles tribute band, and food stalls – who can resist a Kung Fu pancake?

The fireworks were amazing and we even had some patterns in yellow and purple, the graduation colours of Surrey, with Guildford Cathedral in the background. I had little Isabel sitting on my shoulders; the oohs and aahs were followed by the inquisitiveness of a 4-year old. How do they make fireworks – they use explosives; how do they make the colours – they use orange juice for orange, grape juice for purple – her mom shaking her head at my responses.

On Saturday there was an academic procession up Guildford High Street, with town Council dignitaries joining at the Guild Hall. All very posh; what have you been drinking, Dr C? And then the support crew, including current students and Steve the Stag.

Graduates of the University of Surrey, 50 years apart. Dr Birhas Neogi (centre), his wife Rosalyn and Molly Brennan (BSc Dietetics, second year). Dr Neogi studied and later taught Civil Engineering, having joined Battersea College in 1964

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