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Carola Beckett – Bath Spa University

Carola was a student between 1960 and 1963. She left her home in Morley in September 1960 and moved to Hockley, on the outskirts of Bath. She shared with us some memories of her first year and the following living at Newton Park.

"My three years at Newton Park were truly inspirational and greatly appreciated as I had come from a mill town in the West Riding of Yorkshire."

Carola Beckett

On 19 September 1960, I left my home in Morley, Yorkshire, and arrived at Bath to start my teacher training at Newton Park College.

I had been allocated a place in Hockley, a large house converted into a hostel in Weston Park on the outskirts of Bath. My trunk had preceded me, delivered by British Road Services. I shared a room with two other students, which meant it was rather cramped with three desks, three beds and three wardrobes.

Altogether there were 29 students, a warden and a housekeeper, who made the meals. 

I was one of the first to start the three-year course. Previously it had been two. After an initial week of learning about the campus and the city of Bath, we all went on village surveys which entailed going for six weeks to observe and assist in a village school and study the environment where the children lived – a very valuable experience. 

In the second year, we moved up to Newton Park campus into Sydney hall of residence, where we all had a room of our own. 

We developed many close friendships, which have largely been maintained because members of the 1960 intake of students at Hockley organised newsletters and several reunions from 1990 onwards.

My main subject was Rural Studies, with Mr Calvert. We were each given a plot in the walled garden where we planned what we were going to grow, and we worked on the College farm for a week in each of the seasons, including getting up at 5am for milking. The course also included local educational visits, and in the final year, a week in Denmark to study pig husbandry.

There were two formal balls each year, some of which were in the Pump Room in Bath – a magnificent venue. We had the opportunity to do things outside College, e.g. voluntary conservation work at Morden Bog, a nature reserve near Wareham, and guiding groups of schoolchildren around Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, for which we were paid!

My three years at Newton Park were truly inspirational and greatly appreciated as I had come from a mill town in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

After leaving Newton Park in 1963, my first appointment was at Blackwell Preparatory School, in an Arts and Craft house overlooking the lake of Windermere. There I taught Science and Art throughout the school and was a form teacher for 6-7 year-olds. Again I was fortunate to be in a wonderful environment with the opportunity to take children into woods and fields and teach them to swim in the lake. This was followed by part-time teaching in Gloucestershire and Cambridge, supply teaching in Cumbria and acting as a governor at our sons’ primary school.

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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