Skip to main content
Lesley Garbutt – Bath Spa University

Lesley's years at Newton Park between 1966 and 1969 were filled with 'good vibrations' and she loved every minute of them. For this project, she shared with us memories of her favourite subjects and energising social life.

"I went to Newton Park Teacher Training College from 1966-1969 and loved every minute of it. My principal subjects were Geography, Design and Education. However, I think that our social life was such a big part of our own education, prompting my dad to refer to college as 'Butlins'."

Lesley Garbutt

In our first year, every Wednesday evening was 'Globe night' in the local pub. We drank disgusting gin and orange, thinking this was very cool, or lemonade shandy, and listened to The Beach Boys records. Again, the Newton St Loe village hall housed several parties, this time with barrels of scrumpy served in yoghurt pots for glasses. We were scandalised that the outside loo was a double-seated affair.

In our second year, we obtained a licence to hold a disco in the hall on campus every other Saturday. Later, this licence was extended to a bar in the common room at weekends.

This common room, in an old prefabricated building, was the centre of our social life. Mr Lake (from Newton St Loe) opened his travelling shop each lunchtime. Semolina was my favourite, and we always had a big jug of milk in the polystyrene box in Sydney’s kitchen ready to make it. Then, at 5.45pm each evening, we would all cram into the TV end of the common room to watch Magic Roundabout on the little black and white set before going to supper. Simple pleasures, but we were together.

Over fifty years on, the friends I made at college are still my friends. Now all in our 70s, we feel very 'with it' using our mobile phones, WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom. What a different life it has become. But I will always think our three years together in such beautiful surroundings were wonderful. 

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.

Edit section | Website feedback to