The images below on a personal level, are souvenir odds and ends accrued either purposefully or accidentally when I was a History Diploma student at Ruskin College (1986-88). They have been buried away in lofts, albums and cupboards in the intervening years and only intermittently looked at. I had forgotten about some of them until rediscovering them in a de-cluttering purge very recently. In this personal sense and so arranged, they form part of a visual narrative of myself, of my time as a Ruskin student in the past. I have now, in the present though, to view them as something bigger than myself. With the destruction of much of the Ruskin student archive, such memorabilia and souvenirs take on a more intense meaning and stand for the College’s history as a whole. Hence a few pieces such as the 1906 postcard and the 1946 Picture Post feature I have pro-actively sought out on eBay for this reason. I would like to think such visual materials help facilitate a more social understanding of student life at Ruskin than a list of names and dates might do, important though those are as a base line, and to which I have also added. It is also a modest initial attempt to recall for the digital age, some of those fellow students of my own cadre that might otherwise go unacknowledged. At least in a small way, a few of the names below can also be matched to an image of the person concerned which affords them a little more substantial presence. It would be good if any other Ruskin readers / viewers were prompted by this to scan their own images or contribute their own memories as a result.
Aubrey and Peter were both Labour Studies Diploma students (1986-8). Aubrey was a member of Ollerton branch (Nottinghamshire) National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Peter was a member of the Post Office Engineering Union (POEU). After Ruskin, Peter stood as a Labour counsellor for Telscombe Cliffs in Brighton. The third person pictured in the background was called Mark who was a member of the National Graphical Association (NGA). He was also one of the two youngest students at Ruskin at that time at 20.
The woman pictured was named Colette. She was a Ruskin student c.1987-88 though I’m not sure what course she was on, possibly Labour Studies.
The banner dates from c.1987. It is being displayed in the student common room at Ruskin Hall, Headington. On the left is Alex Pandolfo a Labour Studies Diploma (1986-8) student and John O’Reilly (1986-8) an English Literature Diploma student. John went to St Johns College, Oxford after Ruskin to study PPE I believe. We picketed the Shell petrol station in Headington and the South African embassy in London with this banner as part of the anti-apartheid campaign.
Again dating from 1987, the RSU banner is being displayed in the Ruskin Hall student common room by Alex Pandolfo and Pat Hunter who was from South Yorkshire and was a member of the former National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (NUTGW). She was also a Labour Studies Diploma student.
Again from 1987 in the common room at Ruskin Hall with Alex, Pat and John.
This badge was designed by Paul Martin (History Diploma 1986-8). It was manufactured by Badges Plus Ltd in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham in 1987. Only 100 were struck and were pre-paid for by students @ £3 each. The money raised this way both paid for the manufacture of the badges and made a profit which was donated to the Justice For Mine Workers Campaign. It bears the maxim of the National Federation of Women Workers along with the NUM for the ‘justice’ campaign element. The motto ‘the working class of 87’ was to recognise the Ruskin cadre who had supported it
The idea of a year badge was taken up by the following year’s student intake. The October 1988 intake were also the first year that the one year Diploma course was introduced. The design is based on a suggestion by Paul Martin to the incoming TUDC committee chair.
Other students from the 1986-88 cadre
There a number of students who I was at Ruskin with whom I can see in my mind’s eye but cannot recall full names or find any details of. I am mentioning them here as partial contribution to a hopefully fuller restitution later on.
Alex Pandolfo – Dip Labour Studies
Tony from the black country who did history for a while but changed courses (I think to sociology).
Cathy – young girl from Yorkshire (Dip Labour Studies I think)
Dave from Durham (another very young student) also Dip Labour Studies.
Ken from Birmingham – a GMB member who had previously been at Fircroft College. Dip Labour Studies
Terry Thomas a member of the AUEW. From Shipley in East Yorks via Park Royal London. Dip History
Elvera, a nurse from London, social work Diploma student.
Charley – Social Work Diploma, who was refused enrolment at the Bodleian Library for forgetting some aspect of documentation. This ensued in a loud choral humming of the ‘Red Flag’ by the rest of us as he marched out muttering about it only representing hundreds of years of class oppression anyway!
Roy – NUM Silverdale (Staffs) Dip Labour Studies.
Craig Brody – Dip History. Craig was my study partner as students were assigned the same essay topic in pairs. He was from Manchester (or the wider area thereof) and quite an intense sort of person.
Dave Berry – Dip. Eng. Lit. Dave was another young student. He subsequently successfully undertook a BA Eng Lit at Sussex University and a PGCE in Cambridge. He then undertook VSO work as a teacher and subsequently returned to become Deputy head at a primary school in the South-West where he came from.
John O’Reilly – Dip Eng. Lit. He went to St Johns College, Oxford to study for a BA in PPE.
Mark, another young (c.20 years old) student and an NGA member doing the Dip Labour Studies.
Gerard – Dip Labour Studies
Martin – a member of the Post Office Engineering Union who took voluntary redundancy from British Telecom. He did the Dip Labour Studies. He took a BA in Law at Sussex University and subsequently was employed by the International Federation of Transport Workers in London in their legal team.
Pat Hunter – Dip Labour Studies. From South Yorkshire where she had worked in a garment factory and was active in the Women Against Pit Closures movement. I believe her project was on London bus workers.
Peter Anscombe – a member of the Post Office Engineering Union. He was a Dip Labour Studies student. On completion he was accepted on the MA Industrial Relations at Keele University. He subsequently ran a café for a while and was also in management at Lloyds Bank.