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Andrew Bazeley – Bath Spa University

Andrew Bazeley attended Newton Park College between 1969 and 1972. He never became a teacher. Still, he has fond memories of his days as a student, when he met his wife and lifelong friends.

"I don’t know why I ended up going to train as a teacher in Bath - I was at school in Great Yarmouth and knew nothing about The West Country. But it was a great decision. Lovely old buildings in a rural location. It was the walk around the lake that sold it to me finally."

Andrew Bazeley

Things were still a bit “hippy” in the late sixties, and life at Newton Park was so calm and relaxing: a bit too much so, as I nearly got thrown out for not doing enough work! I think there were only around 600 students at the time – with woman numbering about three times more than men. Very few people had cars; most hitched or walked into Bath and got on the bus to Bristol (where I saw that famous Who concert).  

The domestic basics then were so easy: accommodation and meals were included. You were placed in chosen homes (with owners providing meals and bedrooms) in Bath in year one: then a room on campus in year two, and beyond that you could stay if you didn't want sort yourself out with a rented flat in town. So all we had to work for was to buy beer and records! The Student Union was run by one of the local villagers (closed on Sunday, so we had to go to The Globe instead). I remember when the price of a pint of Watney’s Red Barrel went up to one-and-six.

My main subject was English, with an amazing, varied team of lecturers. However, the music department had the most significant influence on me.

The facilities for practising and performing were available to everyone, and it wasn’t long before I’d teamed up with fellow “untrained” guitarists, harmonica players and pianists. Then I got to compose the music for two plays written by another student, James Sorel-Cameron, who later became a highly-regarded novelist and producer.

I met Sara, who was in the year above me, and we married while I was still at college. We’re still together and now living only about seven miles from Bath.

Funnily enough, I never actually became a teacher! But the atmosphere, the local rural surroundings (plus, of course, nearby Bath) and the general encouragement given to all kinds of students changed my life forever. I want to think the country has benefitted from the hugely encouraging yet relaxing atmosphere and facilities at Newton Park, even if we didn’t all end up as teachers!

The Alumni Oral Histories project aimed to gather individual voices and views from the University's teaching alumni community and publish these stories in people's own words. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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