University of Hertfordshire History

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University of Hertfordshire History

University of Hertfordshire History

History

Origins

Hatfield Technical College ca 1952

The original campus for the University was at Roe Green in Hatfield, where it was founded as a technical college. The Gape family of St Michael’s Manor in St Albans owned the land at Roe Green from the late 17th century. In the 1920s they sold it to Hill, a farmer, who then sold it to Alan Butler, chairman of the de Havilland Aircraft Company who lived at Beech Farm nearby. In 1944 he donated 90 acres (36 hectares) of land at Roe Green to be used for educational purposes.[9] In 1948 building commenced. The first principal W.A.J Chapman started on 1 January 1949 and in spring 1952 the 33 full-time and 66 part-time teachers were appointed. Hatfield Technical College opened with 1,738 students in September 1952 and in December officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. It was the first large technical college to be established in England after the war.[10] Students attended the college on part-time or full-time courses.

 Hatfield Polytechnic ca 1969

In 1958 it was renamed Hatfield College of Technology and by 1960 offered four-year sandwich diplomas in technology. In 1961 it was designated a regional college in England and Wales by the Ministry of Education. The governors purchased a digital computer at a cost of £29,201 in 1962 so that a computer science degree could be established. The Council for National Academic Awards was formed in 1965 and Hatfield College was recognised for 13 honours degree courses.

Sir Norman Lindop became the Principal of the College of Technology in 1966. A year later L.E. Haines was made Chair of Governors, but died shortly afterwards and was replaced by F. Bramston Austin. In the same year Bayfordbury is acquired for the college. The following year, L. E. Haines is appointed Chair of Governors, but dies shortly after appointment and is replaced by F. Bramston Austin. It was also in 1967 that Bayfordbury was acquired for the institution.

20th century

Sir Geoffrey De Havilland with a model of his ‘Comet’ jet airliner

In 1969 Hatfield College of Technology became Hatfield Polytechnic, offering honours degree courses in technology. In 1970 an observatory was built on the Bayfordbury Campus. Wall Hall and Balls Park Teacher Training Colleges merged in 1976 to become Hertfordshire College of Higher Education. In the same year Hatfield Polytechnic took over Balls Park. By 1977 more than ten per cent of the 4000 came from more than forty different countries. The Students’ Union Social Centre opened in 1977.