Lady Byron

Lady Byron 

For new students and staff at UWL, it may not seem immediately obvious why certain study spaces have the prefix ‘LB’. These initials stand for Lady Byron, the name given to the South facing wing at UWL’s Ealing campus on St Mary’s Road. Lady Byron had a keen interest in education and she “engaged in ‘educating’ the poor, young people in the early years of the nineteenth century”1 at a time when women lacked rights or an adequate platform for their voices to be heard. 

Lady Byron, CC wikimedia

Lady Byron was born in 1792 Anne Isabella (Annabella) Noel Milbanke, the only child of Sir Ralph and Judith Noel Milbanke. Sir Ralph Milbanke served as Whig MP for County Durham and was renowned for his work for the poor and his support for the abolition of slavery. Annabella was intellectually gifted with interests in Mathematics and Astronomy, which she studied with a Cambridge tutor. She grew up in the North of England where new cities and towns were formed due the Industrial Revolution and Annabella was well aware of the deprivation faced by the poor in these areas. 




Lord George Gordon Byron, CC Wikimedia


In 1812 Annabella met George Gordon Byron (the sixth Lord Byron), a well-known and controversial romantic poet who was well known for his sexual escapades in London social circles. After several marriage proposals, Annabella married Lord Byron in January 1815 and Lord Byron affectionately referred to Annabella as his ‘parallelogram princess’. Their only child, Augusta Ada Byron (Ada Lovelace, mathematician who worked alongside Charles Babbage, the pioneer of computer science) was born later the same year. Soon after, in January 1816, Annabella left Lord Byron, after considering him to be insane due to his many excesses which included huge debts and numerous love affairs. 



Anti-slavery convention 1840, engraving by H Melville, CC Wikimedia

Lady Byron was committed to social and political causes, such as prison reform and the abolition of slavery. She was a controversial figure with both admirers and critics in equal measure. Philanthropic work was a pastime which many wealthy English ladies took up in the period. However, it was also an era when “women had virtually no rights of their own and were thus totally dependent on husbands and other male family members for their wellbeing.2” Though Lady Byron famously attended the World Anti-slavery Convention in 1840 and was included within the famous painting of the convention delegates by Benjamin Robert Hayden, she was refused the chance to speak because she was a woman. The also faced opposition in her desire to educate the working classes and to remove the use of corporal punishment within her industrial schools. 


Despite the struggles she faced as a woman, Lady Byron did not express any beliefs that women needed the right to vote or the other rights (such as to divorce) that she herself lacked during her lifetime. Nor did she make the progressive education she worked tirelessly to establish for working class boys available to girls, who were usually schooled at home. Yet Lady Byron was determined and held a willingness to flout convention to achieve her aims. She was active in the anti-slavery movement, influenced by the work of her father Sir Ralph Milbanke, and her legal advisor Judge Stephen Lushington who was a lifelong advocate of the anti-slavery cause. Lady Byron wrote pamphlets, gave talks and helped to raise awareness of the emancipation movement. She caused a scandal when she sought proceedings to legally separate from Lord Byron in 1816. At the time divorce was not an option though a man could petition Parliament for a dissolution of his marriage, based on charges of adultery. But there was no similar action for a woman other than “legal separation of bed and board,” based on a charge of adultery or physical cruelty. Lady Byron was able to achieve a private settlement yet the public uproar caused by her decision to leave Lord Byron followed her for the rest of her life. 

Lady Byron was absorbed by several strands of philanthropic work however she is remembered most for her work in education. She set out to open a Cooperative School where children would learn to read and write but also gain practical skills in gardening, baking and simple cookery. She was also an advocate of allotment schemes so the poor could grow their own food. Annabella knew it would be a struggle to convince parents to send children to school and keep them there. She had an idea to offer allotments to parents of children attending school or the provision of a cooperative shop selling essential goods at wholesale price. The aim of the education provided within the school was to teach morals, avoid the ‘evils’ of public schools, promote social equality, encourage useful education, and to produce good citizens. Lady Byron set about creating a solution to the problem in a systematic fashion: she studied the issue and the solutions, consulted others with knowledge in the relevant field, and sent representatives to see what was done elsewhere. 

Fordhook House, Ealing CC

Lady Byron lived in Ealing from 1822 to 1840, residing at Fordhook House and Hanger Hill House. At the time Ealing had a thriving market-gardening economy with this being the main employment of the local working classes. However the Corn Laws and international competition in agriculture meant that the youth of Ealing were largely unemployed with no means of education or training. With education being a significant concern for Lady Byron, she established the Ealing Grove Cooperative School in 1834 to help the ‘delinquent youths’ in the local area, not a popular move due to attitudes towards assisting the working classes. The School provided academic lessons as well as training in gardening. The head master, Charles Atlee, was responsible for providing academic teaching as well as lessons in carpentry, masonry and market gardening to approximately 80 boys, both boarders and day pupils. The School avoided the use of corporal punishment as a means of discipline and aimed to encourage the boys to go on to take up teaching as a profession. Some of the fees were paid by Lady Byron. 

The Ealing Grove School enabled poor and orphaned children to avoid the New Poor Law of 1834 under which they would have had to enter the Union Workhouse, where they would have found themselves in prison-like buildings, alongside vagrants and the mentally ill. In the 1850s judicial industrial schools for young offenders were introduced, so similar named schools became associated with ‘penal institution’. As a result, in 1852 Lady Byron closed Ealing Grove School. Mr Atlee later opened Byron House School in The Park in 1859. The following year Lady Byron died of breast cancer.

Ealing Grove House, CC


Ealing Grove House – the stables and coachman’s house were occupied by Ealing Grove School from 1833. The House was demolished in 1850. (images Layers of London) 

Atlee’s son Charles continued running the school from 1866 until 1886, when it was acquired by Dr. B. Brucesmith who in 1896 renamed it Ealing Grammar school which was eventually closed in 1917. In 1929 Ealing Technical Institute and School of Art and Crafts was opened on the site, later renamed as Ealing Technical Institute and School of Art from 1937. This was one of the predecessor institutions of the University of West London as we know it today.  

Lady Byron felt compelled to try and make a change in the education of the working class. She recognised there was a need, held the financial means to address it, and used highly placed social contacts to assist. Annabella’s legacy lives on via the UWL wing in her name and a blue plaque in reference to her work hangs proudly at the main entrance to the University on St Mary’s Road. 

UWL Archives hold several historical collections relating to predecessor institutions of UWL such as Ealing School of Art and the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism. For more information on the resources available within the archives visit 



Taylor, Brian W, ‘Annabella, Lady Noel-Byron: A Study of Lady Byron on Education’, History of Education Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Winter, 1998), pp. 430-455, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) 


Lockdown creativity of LSFMD photography students

During lockdown we all had to find new and innovative ways to continue working and studying. Like many students of visual arts disciplines, the students of BA Photography and BA Visual Effects at UWL suddenly found themselves having to rethink their assignment ideas to fit the environment they found themselves restricted to. They created interesting perceptions of everyday life in lockdown. With limited in-person contact with the outside world due to restrictions, the inside of the domestic home became the new backdrop and family members were now the subjects of portraits, creating beautiful images of life during a pandemic. These works are displayed as part of Exposure 2020 which is the online degree show for BA Photography and BA Visual Effects consisting of a website and a 3D virtual exhibition space. The show was also featured as the main event in the Artsfest for LSFMD in 2020. 

‘Joshua’, Katie Welshman, 2020

‘One Day’
Katie Welshman is a 22-year-old student finishing her degree in BA Photography at UWL. Katie’s project is about loneliness.  Initially, she was going to explore loneliness in the city, but due to Covid-19 this changed instead to represent the loneliness many of us feel at this time. The work is influenced by the photographer Philip-Lorca DiCorcia because of the beautiful lighting in his work and his ability to capture portraits so effortlessly. All images depict Katie’s brother, Joshua, where they have both worked together to represent states many of us how found ourselves in to get through the pandemic.
Katie comes from a fine art background, with an interest in fine art photography, documentary photography and street photography. Her aim is to work further in photojournalism, and document people’s lives and tell their stories. In the future she hopes to change people’s mindsets through her work, and introduce them to circumstances they may not be aware of otherwise.

Rudraksh Thakur, Mumbai, India by Puja Bhatia, 2020

Puja Bhatia – ‘Miles Away’

This series was made by Puja from her apartment in Dubai. Using video calling, she was able to communicate and collaborate with friends in different cities across the world, planning outfits, poses, and lighting together. The collaborations were often playful, with friends dressing up and repurposing different parts of their homes as a backdrop. The settings were chosen as a place where the sitter could be calm in the face of a global pandemic. The series plays with the challenge of art directing a photoshoot, usually a hands-on process, at a distance. The series shows how a degree of closeness and friendship can be maintained using technology.

Puja grew up outside Mumbai, India. She later moved to Saudi Arabia and lived there for almost 10 years before settling in Dubai. Photography was a family legacy, from her grandfather, to her mother and her sisters. They created a spectacular family album. Puja enjoys taking fashion, advertising, portraiture and documentary based photography. She loves creating series-based projects and collaborating with other artists.

The work is also available to view as a virtual gallery
Creative People and Places Hounslow Visual Arts Programme created ‘Home’, an exhibition of work by ten students on the BA (Hons) Photography course at the University of West London, based in Ealing, and its partner institution Deutsche-Pop, based in Germany and Austria. The exhibition includes the works shown above by Katie and Puja, as well as many other talented students including Daniela Torres with Isolation in Dark Times; James Murray with My Family During Quarantine; Marta Woźniak with Home 2020; Martyna Taraszkiewicz with Deteriorate; and Keren Sequeira Bedroom Isolation Self Portrait with Brother (shown here in exhibition poster).
This image was taken by Keren as part of her final Major Project for her photography degree. Lockdown forced her to rethink her project, and she came up with the idea of photographing the space she lives in, and reveal just how isolating it is. She shares the room with her teenage brother, and her family also received a letter from the NHS determining isolation for 12 weeks. Sharing this small space is a challenge indeed. Even to get this one shot was a struggle. This image is a rare chance to see into another person’s most intimate space.  Because she can’t go out, Keren was inspired to push herself and create something at home in Hounslow. (


Paul Lohneis, Head of the London School of Film, Media and Design, said: “As home has become the space where we work, socialise and learn during lockdown, it can also inspire new creative outputs. This exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the everyday life, feelings, and hopes of our students as they explore their own lives as artists within our community.”

The exhibition is available online at and the collection will also join a touring exhibition within Hounslow Libraries.

Jan Lennox, Director, Watermans and Creative People and Places Hounslow, said: “Watermans is delighted to form this exciting collaboration with UWL through our Creative People and Places Hounslow programme. Our programme is about getting our local communities engaged with high quality arts and we hope that people in Hounslow and beyond will see this fantastic work by talented students living in their community – and perhaps are inspired to create their own lockdown images.”



Representations of the exhibitions above are stored digitally in the UWL archive for future generations. The UWL archive is collecting archives relating to the experiences of UWL students and staff during the pandemic. This could be in the form of a poem, photos, artwork, leaflets, letters, cards – anything which shows what life for the UWL community was like during these strange times. Memories such as these will help us explain how our lives were impacted by such a significant event as the pandemic and how we as a community adapted to continue learning and teaching here at UWL. If you have any material, whether digital or physical, which you would like to contribute towards UWL’s Covid memories project, get in touch with archivist Anne-Marie Purcell 

The History of the University of West London

Our ‘Layers of London’ volunteer has compiled an interesting history of the University of West London. Alison Homewood looks into the fascinating history of UWL and its predecessor institutions:


Anyone who knows UWL, whether student, lecturer or Ealing resident, would be forgiven in thinking that the establishment – which is known as “The Career University” – is relatively new.

UWL’s ‘The Park’ entrance on UWL’s Ealing Campus

The striking building is modern, the curriculum and student body diverse and dynamic, and its reputation is on the up; it is ranked in the top 60 universities in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2020 and TheTimes/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020. UWL is the ‘Top university in England for student satisfaction’ – NSS 2020 – average of all questions. The roots of UWL reach back to 1860, making it older than universities such as Warwick (1965), Imperial College (1907) and Leeds (1874) with a unique history that should be a source of pride.

Part One: The Early Years 1860 – 1913

A blue plaque on the front of UWL’s main building on South Ealing Road commemorates Lady Noel Byron’s Co-operative School, based on this site between 1834-1859.  Lady Byron, wife of the famous poet, lived in Ealing at Fordhook House, opposite Ealing Common Station.  She was a keen social reformer whose “industrial school” was the first of its kind in the country.  It offered an education for fifty boarders and thirty day-boys “from the common ranks”.  They learnt English, Grammar, History, Geography and Geometry, as well as carpentry. They also worked in the school garden three hours a day.  At the time, the school was based in the former stable block and coachman’s house of Ealing Grove House, a large mansion demolished in 1850.  The Byron School became Ealing Grammar and stayed open until 1917.

From 1860-1886, an art school took place in Christ Church School. It was put on a more formal footing when a headmaster, Mr T.W Cole, was appointed. He found new premises in the basement and then the top floor of the newly built Town Hall. In 1913, the school moved to the top floor of Ealing County School which had just been built near Pitzhanger Manor on Ealing Green.

From 1892, a Technical Institute had been based in two houses and stables on Uxbridge Road.  By 1905, it had moved into a house on Ealing Green (right).  This was demolished to make way for the County School, and in 1913, the Institute also moved onto the top floor of the new school.




Part Two: The Expansion Years 1924-39

Barker’s Studios

In the early 1920s, the Art School and the Technical Institute had completely outgrown their squatted premises. By 1925, the Art School alone had 320 pupils, 54 of which were full-time. When Will Barker’s Film Studios came on the market, a deputation from the two establishments argued that the Council should buy it, saying “the facilities for technical and art education in the Borough were totally unacceptable.” Instead, however, the Council compulsorily purchased land in The Park, adjoining the new Ealing County School for Girls. The acquisition nearly fell apart at the last minute when the owner decided to inflate the price from the agreed £1,400, but eventually the sale went through and in October 1925, the council had become the owner of “2 roods and 7 poles” of prime Ealing real estate for the new combined facility.  Headmaster Mr. Cole had begun this initiative and his successor Charles Trangmar continued it. Trangmar had previously been Head of the Salisbury School of Art and was himself a successful artist who regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy. His consistently enlightened and energetic approach ensured he stayed in the post of Principal until his retirement in 1953.

So finally, on September 18th, 1928, the new Ealing Technical Institute and School of Arts and Crafts opened the doors of its bespoke new building on Warwick Road.  The building was designed by H. G. Crothall, the county architect, built by Mssrs Leslie & Co at a cost of £28,00 and equipped with all the latest appliances.  It was a three-storey structure, roughly H-shaped in plan.  Set in half an acre, it was built in Fletton bricks, faced externally with multi-coloured bricks with stone dressings; a portion of the roof was tiled with sand-faced tiles but the Life, Antique and Modelling and Carving rooms were north-lighted and covered in slating.  There were two entrances, two for men (one to the Art School and one to the Technical Institute) and two for women.

Lord Eustace Percy

Lord Eustace Percy, (right) the President of the Board of Education, hoped it would “help Middlesex and the south of England avoid the industrial revolution mistakes made in the north of the country.”  Councillor Fuller, the Chairman of Ealing Higher Education Committee, said that the industrial revolution of the previous century had divorced art from industry, much to the loss of both and while this school did not suggest re-marriage, he felt they were witnessing “the beginnings of an interesting and hopeful flirtation.”

There were two large rooms for women’s crafts, equipped with sewing machines, looms for weaving and apparatus for upholstery.  On the main corridor were woodwork and metal-work workshops.  The first floor had a printing room, a design studio and a lecture room, with a typewriting classroom in the east wing. The wings of the top floor contained several large studios with top lights and also housed a modelling room, a casting room, a life room and painting room with equipment for photographic finishing.  There was a large exhibition space with top lighting and a large elementary art room.  A large portrait of Councillor Fuller painted by the Principal Charles Trangmar, was hung in the hall.

But by January 4th, 1930, the new establishment was already proving too small and some evening classes had to be taken in the neighbouring County School for Girls. Enrolments in the Technical Institute had grown to 1,043. There were three main departments; Commerce, Matriculation and Modern Languages, as well as a course for Building Construction, and classes in Cookery and Physical Training for women.

The School of Art had also increased in numbers to the point where it had to duplicate some of the classes.  It trained

Slade School

students for careers in Commercial Art through classes in fashion drawing and, lettering and drawing for process reproduction and graphic art.  Many students also went on to further study at the Slade School or Royal College of Art.

It now ranked as the second largest school in the county.  Its popularity was due to the combination of up-to-date facilities, modern organisation, close ties with industry, a high standard of teaching and a curriculum designed to meet the needs of trades devoted to the commercial use of draughtsmanship and design.  It also offered an extensive range of arts and handicrafts classes for those who did not necessarily follow art professionally.

Sanderson’s Wallpaper Factory

By 1931, the Art School had become the largest art school in Middlesex, with 654 students, up from 317 when it transferred to the new building in 1929.  Several of the EAS students had joined Messrs. Sanderson’s wallpaper company in Perivale, and the Aladdin Lamps factory in Greenford.

Plans were submitted in July 1931 for a new block of buildings to be erected on the Warwick Road frontage, with accommodation for craft rooms and caretaker’s quarters but these were deferred due to instructions by the Board of Education.

Yet in 1934, there were 2,018 students enrolled across the two establishments.  Courses now included Drapery and Outfitters, Silversmithing, and Salesmanship in Retail Distribution.  United Dairies Ltd had become another local business offering employment to graduates of the College.   One student, 20-year-old Edward Pearson, even built a full-sized motor boat during his evening woodwork classes.

Cecil Day-Lewis

In 1936, Middlesex County Council approved the purchase of the vacant St Mary’s Church House at 91 Warwick Road, and three-quarters of the land adjoining Ealing Vicarage to enable the Institute to be enlarged.  The price agreed was £7,820 and it added 580ft of frontage on Warwick Road and 175ft on The Park side. The author Cecil Day-Lewis (left) had lived in Church House as a child in 1908.

Music became a new focus in 1936, with the creation of two orchestras and a choral and operatic society under the auspices of Mr Albert Thomson, a reputed local musician.

Additional classes were laid on in the expanding fields of Accountancy, and Commercial Secretarial Skills. Languages were still a major offering and, despite tension in Europe, German classes were extremely popular. Students could even learn German shorthand. Esperanto and classes for English for Foreigners were also introduced.  Courses leading to the National Certificate of Building Construction appeared for the first time in the 1936/37 curriculum.

In 1937, the Technical Institute officially became a College for Further Education and plans for a new, larger building were developed. The proposed extension, which it was hoped would be begun in the College’s tenth year (1939) was budgeted at £122,442 with an additional £17,000 to be spent on furniture and fittings, apparatus and equipment and on the constructions of gardens and a roof garden.   The new building was to be built on the rectangular plot on the south side of the former Vicarage gardens, in two distinct parts, with the main block lying alongside Warwick Road.  Rectangular in shape, its west façade contained a huge window from the ground to the top of the building.  The impressive entrance was situated in a rectangular tower and a 95-metre corridor would run the whole length of the building.  It would be constructed in brown brick and Portland stone and set back from the road as the principal, Mr Trangmar “expressly requested that the green character of St Mary’s Road be preserved as far as possible.”

Students from the School of Art built a scale model following the plans prepared by the architects from Middlesex County Council. The “magnificence and magnitude” of the proposed building would “stand out in sharp contrast to the modest buildings which form the majority of St Mary’s Road.”  The West Middlesex Gazette (WGM) further declared “it will be an architectural monument of which any borough could be proud.”  However, world events would prevent the plans ever being executed.

In June 1937, a new sports ground opened, five-acres adjoining Pitshanger Park and Argyle Road.  It had formerly been used by the Boys County School.  The WGM noted that the facility was in surroundings “which create with astonishing success the deception of rurality.”

Ealing was growing rapidly as a borough.  The area had seen big changes due to the move of industry to the Greater London region and while many of these opportunities required a technical education, in the eyes of the Middlesex County Times, Ealing “remained primarily a shopping centre”; that and its geographical location to London made it “an almost ideal situation for a school of retail selling.”  The Department of Salesmanship for Retail Distribution, headed up by Mr Frank Keggins, was one of only four in the country. In harness with local shopkeepers providing practical experience, it offered prospective training in the psychology in modern salesmanship, as well as the importance of being “punctual, courteous, painstaking and exact”, and not treating your customer as a victim.

In 1938, the new prospectus was issued.  It contained 82 pages of the more than 200 courses open to anyone in the Middlesex area at “very low fees.”  The title page read “Ealing Technical College.”  The establishment had been re-christened.


Part Three: The Second World War Years 1939-45

At the outbreak of war, the College premises were requisitioned by the Government but were soon returned with much encouragement to resume evening classes, as soon as the “necessary black-out provision was completed.”  Eventually, the College also benefitted from being “adjacent to some of the most extensive and soundly constructed shelters in the county.”

The Technical College Junior School was relocated to Aylesbury and its young students were evacuated and billeted with local families.

In 1940, there was disappointment when a class on Current Events was not adequately attended.  It was intended to include a weekly discussion on the war effort, news, economic factors and the many features of war-time conditions and “the very existence of this class…points to a fundamental difference between our democracy and Nazi Germany.” It was further speculated, “in Berlin there must be a strong potential for such classes; here the class is in session and you are encouraged to attend.”

During the war, with food rationing being a part of everyday life, the College supported local Rabbit, Poultry and even Pig Clubs as a way of members being able to obtain fresh meat.  Recognising the stress that the population was contending with, the National Keep-Fit Movement was promoted by the government and a variety of classes were open to both sexes.  In 1942, Russian was added to the Foreign Languages department.

In 1944, the college announced that, in preparation for peace-time, it would be reorganising its curriculum to provide degree courses in Arts, Commerce, Economics and Law, as well as classes on Current Events, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology.  The School of Art was adding Portrait Painting and Design for Fabric Printing, while the Technical Institute had was now offering Commercial Geography, Transport Horticulture and Poultry Keeping.  Summer classes included “Make Do and Mend”, Wartime Cookery, Eurythmics and Folk Dancing.

In the penultimate year of the war, the 1944 Education Act was passed, with its emphasis on the provision of Adult Education.  The original 1870 Act had introduced compulsory Primary Education, while Secondary Education became the focus of the 1902 Act. Finally, attention was turned to the adult population. As part of this initiative, Ealing College made introduced classes to young adults “whose education may have been interrupted by the war.”



Part Four: Brand New Building 1949-52

By 1949, the old building was looking very dilapidated and was no longer fit for purpose.







A much larger new building was designed by Mr C. G. Stillman, the Middlesex County architect, who, during 32 years in local government service, built more schools and technical colleges than any other architect in the country.  He believed it was important that school buildings “can be readily adapted to the needs of the future.”  He predicted there would be an increase in television and film lessons and so classrooms needed walls that could be dismantled and reconstructed to “meet the classroom-theatre needs of the T.V era.”








The new building had “an imposing south front of Corinthian pillars”, according to the WGM.







It was completed in 1952, in time for accolade of the Ministry of Education recognising Ealing Technical College as being a Centre for Studies in Management.



Part Five: Growth in Size and Reputation 1953-69

At the end of 1953, Mr Trangmar, the Principal, retired after more than thirty years’ service.  He had overseen the College’s growth from the days in which it was housed on the top floor of a Boys’ School, to a flourishing institution of more than 6,000 students, 57 full-time and over 200 part-time staff.  He was succeeded by Dr O.G. Pickard.

By now, the College was the largest Art School and the best equipped Technical College in the country.  A group of heads from German art schools had been over to visit the photographic centre, considered to be the best in Europe.  The mid-fifties saw an explosion in the popularity of evening classes for all ages, and, according to the Middlesex County Times (MCT), “many housewives look upon these classes as an evening of recreation.”

In 1957, Acton Hotel and Catering School left Acton Technical College (Woodlands Avenue, W3) to became part of the Ealing Technical College.  With a reputation for being one of the top training schools in the country, its students went on to work in Paris, Geneva, top London restaurants, and many women went on to work for airlines of the day such as BOAC, TWA and BEA as cabin crew.    The integration of so many additional students led to pressure for space, and as well as continuing in makeshift buildings in Acton, courses also took place in the County Horticultural Centre’s premises at Norwood Hall in Southall.

A four-storey East Wing was added to the College to house these additional students at a cost of £222,296.  In 1962, a restaurant – the forerunner of today’s “Pillars” – was opened, where the public could eat lunch for 7s 6d (35p) cooked by the trainee chefs and served by the hospitality students, with alcoholic drinks also available.

A former NHEHS and Ealing School of Art student, 20-year-old Carolyn Turner won a sculpture competition organised by Middlesex County Council to decorate the new façade. Facing Warwick Road, the work, in ciment fondu, comprises both male and female figures, three single and a triple piece, 2.5m in height, and with an Egyptian influence.  They symbolise catering, with cooks’ hats and catering equipment.

In 1960, Ealing Youth Orchestra was formed, affiliated to the Music Department of Ealing Technical College.

The post-war baby-boomers were now approaching the age of 16, with “the bulge” leading to a growing demand for technical education. The first language laboratory in the country was installed in 1960, and an eye-catching article from the MTC in 1961 points out that the College’s sending its Secretarial students abroad for two or three months to work in foreign firms will provide invaluable contacts and knowledge “should Britain enter the Common Market.”  The languages which were now being offered by the General Studies department included Russian, Chinese and Modern Greek.

In the summer of 1963, a further extension was approved costing nearly £183,000, to provide a new classroom and library block of five storeys at the rear of the hotel and catering school building, linked with the old structure by a two-storey bridge.  Building work began in 1965 and was opened at Christmas 1966, by Mr Geronwy Roberts, the Joint Minister of State for Education and Science. Also, the adjacent Ealing Grammar School for Girls opened new premises at Queens Drive near North Acton station, and the College took over its former premises.  In 1965, the College’s pioneering efforts in teaching business studies was rewarded when it was granted the right to establish a BA in Business Administration.

A miniature factory was set up in the fashion and textiles department, bringing the 60 students in contact with the processes of mass-produced fashion, aided by sewing machines, cutters and pressers. The College of Art was known for courses considered ‘revolutionary’ in the sixties, especially the two-year Ground Course run by Roy Ascott. Musicians Ronnie Wood and Pete Townsend both studied Graphic Art and Design in the early sixties, with Farrokh Bulsara, otherwise known as Freddie Mercury, graduating with the same diploma in 1969.

Pete Townsend

Ronnie Wood

Freddie Mercury









Despite these innovations and achievements, in 1966, Ealing Council had to protest when a White Paper proposing ten Polytechnics in the London and Home Counties area did not include Ealing Technical College in its plans.



Part Six: Towards a Polytechnic 1970-88

In the seventies, the Technical College went from strength to strength.  In 1974, Mr Brian Price, a senior lecturer in the Hotel and Catering school, won “Chef of the Year” award, to the delight of his students.

The following year, the Technical College was amalgamated with Thomas Huxley College, Acton (an institution training mature students to be teachers).  This was a time when many teacher training colleges were closing nationwide.  The resulting establishment was reorganised into a College of Higher Education and an entirely new governing board was appointed. At this time, there were 1,800 full-time and 3,400 part-time students.


In 1980, Ealing College Law Students became among the first in the country to be trained to use computers.

The business school grew to be one of the largest in the country with over 100 lecturers by 1981. Yet trouble arose in 1981 when the Tory Leader of the Council, John Wood, voted to cut the College’s annual budget by £200,000.  This followed a prior cut the year before of £400,000.  Sandra Jackson, a teacher at the College who represented it at the Further Education Sub-Committee meeting, made the point that the College already had to compete against universities and polytechnics, yet had met every target the borough had set it since the 1975 reorganisation.

In 1982, the College faced two types of cut – an Ealing Council-led cut with senior Tories wanting to axe four percent from budgets, and a Government-set cut, part of a nationwide axe.  The cost-cutting threatened 33 lecturers’ jobs and affected 70 students already on fashion design diplomas, and the receptionists’ course, part of the Hotel and Catering School.  Students marched on Ealing Town Hall in protest and staged ‘work-ins’ – sleeping overnight at the College premises.

In 1985, the newly opened Broadway Shopping Centre got a new neighbour when the College moved its Language School into 22,000 square feet of empty purpose-built office space in Grove House.  Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit during Student Rag Week.

The College’s Polytechnic aspirations came a step closer in 1986 when plans were unveiled to merge the College with the West London Institute from September 1987.  The College’s Academic Board approved the move on condition that all jobs were guaranteed, and that the new college be given Polytechnic status.  However, this was interrupted by the 1988 Education Reform Act, which granted independence from local councils to more than 70 polytechnics and higher education colleges throughout the country.   The Director of the day was Neil Merritt; he managed an annual budget of £15m, employed nearly 600 full-time and 400 part-time teachers, with 3,000 full-time or sandwich students and 600 part-time. Over 1,000 of the students were from overseas and altogether, they were contributing £7m to the local Ealing economy.  There were four Faculties: Business & Law, Hospitality Studies, Humanities & Languages, and Information Studies.


Part Seven: Thames Valley University 1991-2011


Finally, in July 1991, Ealing College of Higher Education merged with Thames Valley College of Higher Education, The London College of Music and Queen Charlotte’s College of Health Studies to become the Polytechnic of West London with Dr Mike Fitzgerald as vice-chancellor.

But life as a Polytechnic was short, as in 1992, university status was granted, and warranted another name change, this time to Thames Valley University (TVU).  Student numbers increased rapidly, between 1994 and 1997 numbers grew from 16,000 to 28,000 students.  In 1992, it topped the list for graduate employment, beating the University of Oxford.

In October 1996, Tony Blair, then Leader of the Opposition, opened the £8m Learning Resources Centre and praised the University for embracing new technology.  Dr Fitzgerald introduced the New Learning Environment, which put students in control of their own learning, allowing more choice over the combination of subjects; instead of following set curriculum, they follow “pathways.” It also cut teaching hours and the number of modules from 8 to 6.

In 1998 Dr Fitzgerald resigned as Vice-Chancellor and in January 1999, a temporary Vice-Chancellor was appointed, Sir William Taylor, a man experienced in improving institutions. Discussions were held about possible mergers with, or certain departments being taken over by Kingston or Brunel, or even the further-flung Westminster or Reading but none of these came to pass.

Taylor successfully held the fort until a new permanent Vice Chancellor Kenneth Barker came on board.  In February 2003, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) gave a clear endorsement to the University.


Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor 2003-2011


In 2005 Barker oversaw the appointment of Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer, as Chancellor. In 2007 Professor Peter John was appointed Vice-Chancellor and in 2009 the University was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for outstanding achievement and excellence in hospitality education in recognition of the quality of its teaching provision.



Part 8: University of West London 2011 – 2020

Laurence Geller, Chancellor since 2011

In 2011 the institution again changed name, this time to University of West London (UWL) and Laurence Geller, an alumnus of the Hospitality College, was appointed Chancellor. In the last decade UWL has invested more than £150 million pounds to the University’s facilities as part of a long-term strategy to continually improve the learning experience and social spaces and maintain UWL’s position as a leading modern University in London, with investment of more than £150million pounds. In 2013 UWL was granted planning permission to begin work on the Future Campus project. The same year a newly refurbished students’ union space and LCM Performance Centre opened.


In 2015 the St Mary’s Road campus underwent a multi-million pound transformation with the development of state-of-the-art facilities including a new social area, library, students’ union, auditorium, gym, restaurants and cafés, music and recording studios, and teaching spaces.

UWL purchased the Brentford site (Paragon) in 2016 and the following year saw the development of the Paragon Annex studios and the opening of a state-of-the-art nursing Simulation Centre at Reading. Also in 2017 the University achieved a Silver award in the Teaching Excellence Framework: Year two (TEF), recognising UWL’s strategic and innovative approach to curriculum, teaching excellence and focus upon a positive student experience.

LGCHT 70th Anniversary Gala Dinner (l-r): Prof. Peter John, UWL Vice-Chancellor, chef Andreas Antona and Laurence Geller CBE, Chancellor of UWL


In 2018 the London Gellar College of Hospitality and Tourism (LGCHT) celebrated 70 years of history through a series of commemorative events including a Gala Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel.

The same year UWL opened the West London Food Innovation Lab, a cutting-edge facility for new product development and innovation for food and drink businesses in the Greater London Area. The close business partnership between UWL and Heathrow Airport was strengthened through the opening of Heathrow: The Journey in April 2018, a permanent exhibition on the history of Heathrow Airport.

Westmont Enterprise Hub


The Westmont Enterprise Hub for Business Start-Ups was also created in 2018, designed as an ‘incubator’ offering entrepreneurs and start-ups the space and support to develop creative business ideas.  Already the Hub has over 50 start-ups, 450+ members and connections to more than 500 businesses.

In 2019 Drama Studio London (DSL) became part of the UWL family. DSL is an Ealing institution well-known in the acting world with several famous alumni including Emily Watson and Forest Whitaker. Also in 2019, supported by a generous donation from Rami Ranger (Baron Ranger CBE) a dedicated postgraduate and international student centre was opened at the Ealing campus. Rami Ranger House is a supportive and collaborative learning space for students undertaking postgraduate studies.

Baron Rami-Ranger outside Rami-Ranger House

UWL’s eight academic schools and colleges offer a wide range of options for postgraduate study including Masters, Postgraduate Diplomas and PhD courses. Currently 700 of UWL’s 12,000 students are postgraduates with recruitment increasing year on year. A state of the art Sports and Fitness Centre opened in November 2019 at the St Mary’s Road campus as part of the University’s ongoing investment in improving facilities and promote health and wellbeing across the community. UWL has also partnered with Ealing Council and Hounslow Council to build a brand new sports and leisure facility in Gunnersbury Park. The centre, costing approximately £14m, will be accessible to UWL students and is due to open in 2020.

In recent years UWL has also developed a strong reputation in applied research, providing insight and solutions to real-world problems and follows a Research Excellence Framework (REF) strategy with a vision to be ranked within the top 100 universities in REF 2021. The Graduate School exists for doctoral students and the ExPERT Academy facilitates the University Pedagogic Research & Scholarship Community (PRSC). In 2015 The University launched New Vistas, a publication which features research and scholarly analysis on policy and practice in higher education. The journal invites contributions from UWL academics and doctoral students, as well as external authors. The journal’s aim is to showcase research in a modern university as it impacts on society, industry, and services. UWL also hosts several important research centres including the Cybersecurity and Criminology Centre and the Richard Wells Research Centre which focuses in improving patient safety.


All of these recent additions and developments indicate that UWL is thriving, with a reputation for being “cool”; it is known as “The Career University” and the “top modern” university in London[1]. Currently UWL enjoys a high employment rate of 98% of UWL graduates who start their careers or carry on their studies within six months of graduating[2].



Professor Peter John is credited with the transformation of the institution into the highly successful one it is today and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s 2020 New Year honours list for his outstanding work and service to higher education. Now one of the top ten modern universities in the UK, it is a flagship for the benefits of widening participation, social inclusion, and meritocracy.[3]


[1] UWL is the top modern university* in London for overall satisfaction, according to the National Student Survey 2019 (Modern = granted university status in, or after, 1992.).

[2] (HESA employment indicator 2018 on graduates who say they are working or studying (or both) six months after completing their studies).


Layers of London:




Bringing the Heathrow Exhibition to you

‘Heathrow: The Journey’ exhibition at UWL’s Ealing Campus, St Mary’s Road

Heathrow: The Journey is a permanent exhibition at UWL’s Ealing campus on St Mary’s Road. Due to the pandemic the campus is currently closed to visitors. In order to ensure the exhibition is still available for all to explore, we have included some highlights from the exhibition here for you to explore virtually…………

‘Heathrow: The Journey’ exhibition at UWL’s Ealing Campus, St Mary’s Road

Heathrow: The Journey

For over 70 years Heathrow Airport has been at the centre of the air travel revolution.  

Today it’the world’s second-busiest airport, welcoming travellers from 82 countries and serving 194 destinations worldwide. 

How did site that began as small, grass airfield become one of the globe’s biggest travel hubsThis exhibition displays historical items from the Heathrow Archive revealing how Heathrow evolved………








Pilot goggles, c.1930s, UWLA/HA/01/07/001

Heathrow’s life as an airport began by chance. It had been a small, rural hamlet for centuries – but that changed when, in 1925, RAF test pilot Norman MacMillan was forced to make an emergency landing and take-off there. He realised the flat terrain was ideal for an airfield.


Four years later, British aeroengineer Richard Fairey suddenly found himself in need of a new airfield for his aircraft-building business. The Air Ministry had served notice on his aerodrome at Northolt and Fairey needed to find a new venue fast. MacMillan mentioned Heathrow and together they investigated the site’s potential. Iwas perfect.

Richard Fairey, Image courtesy of The Flight Magazine archive


The Great West Aerodrome

£15,000: that was the bargain sum aero-engineer Richard Fairey paid in 1930 for 150 acres of farmland at Heath Row. (Today that’s equivalent to around £874,500.) 

 On that rural plot Fairey built his new aerodrome – briefly named Harmondsworth, then rebranded more grandly as the Great West Aerodrome.  




‘The Great West Aerodrome’ plan showing situation of aerodrome, 1930s, UWLA/HA/01/08/04/02/002

The entrance to the Great West Aerodrome, 1930s









The private airport’s purpose was primarily for assembling and testing Fairey Aviation’s new aircraft. It was also used by model aircraft enthusiasts, and it hosted the Royal Aeronautical Society’s annual garden party fly-insModest beginnings for a site destined to become one of the world’s busiest international airports.

War and Peace at Heathrow

During World War Two the Air Ministry requisitioned Fairey’s private aerodrome and the surrounding roads, farmland and buildingsFairey wasn’t thrilled by this and began a legal dispute with the government that lasted 20 years. He finally received £1,600,000 in compensation. 

Heathrow’s early passenger terminal, 1946. Also in view are BOAC vehicles, plus a row of houses soon be swallowed up by the expanding airport – Image courtesy of British Airways Heritage Centre


An RAF base was built on the site for long-range bombers and aircraft carrying troops to the Far East. Three runways were constructed along with a control tower – all ready for action by 1945.



Inside the early passenger terminal, with WH Smith newsstand and Western Union cablegram desk, 1940s. The army surplus tent was a short walk from the aircraft, UWLA-HA-01-08-02-003





But suddenly the war was over. A military aerodrome now seemed surplus to requirements. What followed was a decisive moment in the site’s history: Heathrow was made London’s first international civil airport on New Year’s Day, 1946. Some later claimed this was the intention all along.


An Airport for London

Star Light was the first aircraft to use London Airport. It was a British South American Airways (BSAA) Avro Lancastrian – photographed here in May 1946 UWLA/HA/02/02/006)

The new airport was a hive of activity. Concrete runways were built and extended. The makeshift terminal’s tented marquees were soon replaced by prefab buildings. The airport’s footprint was rapidly expanding – and the local landscape would be transformed beyond recognition in the process.

The new port was billed as ‘one of the junctions of the world’.  South America, Australia and the USA were among the first destinations to welcome flights from the runways of Heathrow.

 But not everyone was happy with London’s new airportSome local residents were highly resistant to further expansion – there was much public protest at a planned northward extension, which was cancelled in 1953.



London Airport grew rapidly in the 1950s and ‘60s. 

City of London Air Tour from London Airport flyer by Birkett Air Service, 1950s; London Airport Handbook and visitor’s guide, 1957; Ridgeway porcelain cup and saucer for BEA first class passengers, 1955

More airlines set up business there and passenger demand kept rising. New aircraft such as Tridents, VC10s and Boeing 707s began taking greater numbers of people to an increasing number of destinations worldwide.  

The era is nostalgically called the ‘golden age of flying’, even though journey times were often far longer and aircraft technology less sophisticated.  

Flights were also far more expensive – a return ticket from London to Sydney, Australia, would have cost up to five times as much as today. It may have taken up to four days, with several stop-overs and overnight stays en route. Today the same journey takes around 22 hours with just one stop for refueling. 

A New Terminal

London Airport Central 1955 brochure including plans, UWLA/HA/01/08/04/01/002A new terminal

Control tower and airport buildings, 1950s, UWLA/HA/01/08/02/015

In 1951 architect Frederick Gibberd set to work designing permanent buildings for the airport.

He created a central area reached via a subway underneath the original main runway, plus the Europa passenger terminal, an office block and, at the centre of it all, an impressive 127-foot-tall control tower. 

HM The Queen opened the new terminal in 1955 – in the years ahead she’d be back on several occasions to perform similar duties. 

By the early ‘60s the old terminal on the north side was redundant. Airlines either operated from the Europa terminal or the Oceanic terminal (later renamed the slightly less evocative Terminals 2 and 3).

New Horizons

Air travel was still beyond the reach of many working class people in the ‘50s. Many saw it as an impossibly glamorous experience, for the rich and famous only.  

A selection of postcards, 1950s-1960s

But by the late ‘60s this view was changing fast. Package holidays were beginning to make foreign travel affordable for the masses. Advertising sold the idea of flight as a luxury and a pleasure that placed exotic destinations within reach. International tourism was booming and – for better and worse – began reshaping the landscape and economies of destinations such as the Mediterranean.

Demand for flights continued to grow and grow. By 1969, when Terminal 1 opened and Concorde took its maiden flight, Heathrow was hosting five million passengers a year. The modern age had arrived. 


The Glamour of flight

London Airport The Queen’s Building roof gardens 1961, UWLA/HA/01/08/02/021

Dining Hall of restaurant c.1950s, UWLA/HA/01/08/02/034/001

Famous passengers have been part of the Heathrow story from the beginning. But as pop culture transformed western society in the ‘50s and ‘60s, celebrity and international travel became truly synonymous.

The arrivals and departures of royalty, dignitaries and icons of sport, stage and screen regularly made the news headlines. Fans began turning up in crowds to catch a glimpse of their heroes or maybe get an autograph.  

By association, the great and the good helped to sell the dream of air travel to the masses– it was said that ‘everybody that’s anybody flies out of Heathrow’.



Advances in aircraft technology changed air travel dramatically from the ‘70s onwards. Bigger, more powerful new jet planes such as Boeing 747s and supersonic Concorde transported more people further and faster than ever before

BOAC Comet 4 at Heathrow c.1960, Image Courtesy Philip Capper

Airline pennants and anniversary memorabilia, 1960s – 1970s

Journey times shrank and access to even more destinations made the world a smaller place.  But Heathrow just kept on growing – ever-increasing demand meant more planes, more staff and more facilities were needed.

Although other regional UK airports such as Manchester, Birmingham, London City and Stansted expanded markedly during this period, it didn’t seem to dent Heathrow’s business. In fact passenger numbers rose there by around 13 million between 1993 and 1998 alone Heathrow had twice as many passengers as Gatwick, too:  its status as the UK’s leading international hub was unassailable.   

Concorde: rise and fall of a legend 

Concorde, UWLA/HA/01/08/02/029

Concorde’s first scheduled UK flight in 1976 was a watershed moment in aviation history. Overnight the supersonic plane became a powerful symbol of modern progress, national pride and international cooperation. 

Conceived as a joint Anglo-French initiative, the fleet of 20 supersonic airliners were exclusive to British Airways and Air France.  Used by royalty, heads of state and celebrities, Concorde swiftly captured public imagination.    

Despite its success, the iconic plane’s days were numbered. Commercial flights ceased in 2003, three years after the Air France Paris runway tragedy that killed 113 people.  

Yet Concorde refuses to fade into history. It remains a design classic, regarded with affection by many. There are even plans to revive one aircraft for active service by 2019.  

HRH Prince Charles and Princess Diana arrive at Heathrow for the inauguration of Terminal 4th May 1986, UWLA-HA-01-08-02-020

Good connections 

Heathrow’s growth accelerated during this period. Terminal 4, officially opened by HRH Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1986, reflected the need to expand the airport in order to cope with rising demand.

Improvements to infrastructure were also crucial for keeping pace 

Tom Eckersley ‘Concorde’ mural which was one of nine displayed on the terminal of Heathrow Central underground station when it opened in 1977.

Getting to Heathrow was made easier when the London Underground rail link opened in 1977. The M25 motorway also improved access by car (at least on days without road works and traffic jams).

Clay extracted from 25 metres below the northern runway during the construction of the Heathrow Express tunnels which were completed in 1998.









From 1998, the Heathrow Express service also began offering speedier connections to and from the airport – at a price

At the end of the ‘70s, over 27 million passengers were using Heathrow annually. By 1990, this has climbed to 40 million and still rising. 

Heathrow at 50 

Concorde model at Heathrow gateway c.1990s, UWLA/HA/01/08/02/030

In 1996 Heathrow Airport celebrated its 50th birthday. The party was attended by HM The Queen who, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, also officially opened a £32-million refurbishment of the Terminal 2 departure lounge.

The milestone celebration included a recreation of the original 1940s tented departure lounge, complete with wicker chairs and staff in period dress.   

Nearby, anti-noise pollution protesters staged their own alternative garden party. After half a century Heathrow still had its critics, and plans for Terminal 5 were met with a distinct lack of enthusiasm by some. The T5 planning inquiry became the longest in British legal history, taking eight years and generating 100,000 pages of transcripts from 700 witnesses. The Terminal finally opened in 2008, at a cost of £4.3 billion. 


Now in its eighth decade, Heathrow Airport has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a grassy airfield surrounded by country lanes 

The airport’s story has been a remarkable continuum of growth that reflects the changing world around us.

A view of Heathrow Terminal 2A showing slipstream sculpture. Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd

London’s first airport continues to evolve as it looks to the future. As ever, rising demand remains a challenge, but now on an immense scale that would have been unthinkable in the early years. 

Air travel and airports too, are changing, as the tech revolution transforms all aspects of our lives.



T2: Good-bye and Hello

The arrivals concourse at Terminal 2A. Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd

By the turn of the millennium Heathrow’s original Terminal 2 was showing signs of its age. Upgraded facilities were needed to keep pace with modern demand.

In 2008 the airport began construction on a state-of-the-art new Terminal 2, also known as the Queen’s Terminal. The original building was demolished in 2010 and the new Terminal 2 opened for business on 4 June 2014. It includes a new five-storey main building and, running parallel, T2B – a satellite pier.

Olympian heights

In 2012 Heathrow welcomed thousands of athletes, officials and spectators for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The arrivals concourse at Terminal 2A. Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd

To cope with this additional surge in passenger numbers a temporary terminal was built – diverting more than 10,000 athletes (and 37,000 bags) away from the other terminals during the busy peak summer period. Additional lifts were also built to accommodate Paralympians’ wheelchairs, and extra spaces were created for volunteers and the media.

Four years later, in 2016, Heathrow welcomed many of Team GB’s athletes back from the Rio Olympics on BA flight BA2016. Also onboard: 92 medals, weighing a total of 46 kg!


The Future of Heathrow

Artist’s impression of what a proposed third runway might look like. Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd


Pressure for expansion at Heathrow has never been greater. Passenger numbers are at an all-time high and demand for international travel is predicted to continue rising. The airport currently runs at close to 100% capacity. Expansion at Heathrow would create up to 180,000 jobs and around £187 billion in economic benefits across the country.




Aircraft: the next generation 

Could Heathrow be hosting some of these exciting new aircraft within a few years? Image courtesy of NASA

Supersonic flight was developed over 70 years ago, but since the axing of the Concorde fleet it has slipped off the public radar. 

Advances in aerodynamic engineering and tech efficiencies are set to change this. New jets called Boom airliners are now in production and can achieve a speed of Mach 2 (that’s 1,451 mph – faster than Concorde). This has the potential to cut journey time on many long-haul flights by half 

Virgin and Japan Airlines have already ordered quantities of these new jets and promise fares equivalent to current Business Class tickets.  

But that’s not all. NASA and partners are also developing a radical new type of passenger airliner. Called the Blended Wing Body (BWB), it has the potential to carry more passengers and cargo yet is more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient than conventional planes. 

Pilotless planes 

Autonomous vehicles are becoming a reality on our roads, and it could be a similar story in the skies. The first pilotless passenger aircraft may be in service by 2025. 

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 cockpit. Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd

Auto-pilot controls and automated landings are nothing new, but computer system-supported flight – called ‘fly by wire’ – has radically changed how aircraft are piloted in recent years. Fully automated cockpits may be the next step and some argue that it will save the industry – and passengers – billions.

But the concept is a controversial one. Pilots and airline staff are concerned about costs, jobs and safety. The risk of computer hackers taking control of an automated cockpit could be a serious threat if systems are not airtight. And passengers seem to agree: a recent survey found that 54% of 8,000 people questioned would refuse to travel in a pilotless plane.

While public opinion may change in future, it seems more likely that our international flights will include a real, live pilot for the time being. 

Greener air travel 

Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd

Aviation currently contributes around 2% of global CO2 emissions. With passenger numbers worldwide predicted to rise to 7.2 billion annually by 2035, the number of flights will increase. Carbon emissions from aviation may rise by around 300% by 2050 unless the industry invests in more eco-friendly tech. And that is exactly what’s happening.

Today’s flights emit half as much pollution as they did in 1990, but modern aerospace design and engineering continues to improve on this. Aircraft are becoming more streamlined and aerodynamically efficient. Use of carbon-fibre and other weight-saving materials is reducing fuel consumption, along with design innovations such as winglets that reduce drag. A new generation of jet engines also allows more efficient use of fuel. 


And fuel is changing, too. Alternatives such as hybrid-electric power and biofuels will add less CO2 to the air than fossil fuels – and hydrogen powered aircraft have the potential to be a zero emissions solution. Jet emissions could be reduced by up to 70% by mid-century. 

Sky’s the limit 

As the number of international flights continues to rise, maximum capacity in the skies is fast becoming a reality. So what can be done to improve and maintain the global air travel network when this happens?  

Air traffic controllers’ view of Heathrow. What might the control tower of the future look like? Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd.

multi-solution approach is needed. Smarter systems of air traffic control are being developed and implemented, increasing efficiencies in time management for arrivals and departures, and costs to airlines. Control towers may become a thing of the past – London City Airport has already adopted a digital system where cameras relay images to a remote control room. Sophisticated computer systems could also allow more aircraft in the air at the same time, creating motorways in the skies. 

Onboard, flexible navigation systems are already replacing some preset flight paths. These enable aircraft to avoid weather conditions that cause delays and add to fuel consumption. A single flight using flexible navigation may save 1.4 tonnes of CO2. 

In modern aviation, data is now key to improving services… but where will it take us in the coming decades? 

You are your ticket 

Self-service check-in, Terminal 3. Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd

Biometric passports and automated ticketing are already here, but could be set to evolve further in the near future. Facial or palm recognition technology at check-in and boarding could see physical tickets and boarding passes become a thing of the past. 

Mobile tech may also provide passengers with wayfinding, flight information and constant Wi-Fi connectivity door-to-door – in theory, a more seamless travel experience. 

Automation will likely spell the end of traditional departure halls. Check-in desks may vanish, and baggage sorting, customs and immigration may be streamlined. 

And, as traveller processing functions become more efficient using less space, so more of that space may be devoted to passenger experience airside after check-in. 

Destination: Heathrow 

Heathrow of the future – an artist’s impression. Image courtesy of LHR Airports Ltd

What will the Heathrow Airport of the future be like? 

One change we can expect is the transformation of the airport itself as leisure destination. State-of-the-art facilities for visitors will make the airport more than just a place of transition. 

Other international airports such as Singapore’s Changi and Dubai International in the UAE have already established a look and feel for 21st-century airports that moves beyond traditional, uniform and functional design. Instead they provide more state-of-the-art facilities and a greater sense of place. This approach is set to spread globally as we spend more time in airports and the nature of what constitutes an airport evolves with technological advance and consumer demand 

One day you may visit Heathrow for just a shopping trip or a meal. Maybe you’ll go to a cinema, visit a garden or workout at a gym. And for once, forgetting your passport won’t be a disaster. 


“Heathrow: The Journey” was made possible by generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Heathrow Airport and the University of West London.

‘Heathrow: The Journey’ exhibition at UWL’s Ealing Campus, St Mary’s Road

With special thanks to:

British Airways Speedbird Heritage Centre

London Transport Museum

Curator & writer: Steven Swaby

Archivist: Anne-Marie Purcell

Graphic design & creative direction: Andy Spencer Design Ltd

3D design: One&More Ltd

‘Heathrow: The Journey’ exhibition at UWL’s Ealing Campus, St Mary’s Road

AV: Kristina Stafecka/W5 Productions

Project management: Laura Thomas Ruth Cribb



For more information about the Heathrow exhibition see our webpage:

Also see UWL archives for more information about historical collections held by UWL:

To search the archive, see the UWL Archive catalogue:

Collecting UWL’s Covid-19 memories

UWL archives NEED YOUR HELP to record the experiences of students and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic

UWL Archives

The situation has had an impact on all our lives and we need your stories to record what life has been like during lockdown. Future generations will look back at the pandemic as a key point in history so collecting records of our experiences will be crucial to help people understand how we have all lived through these past few months.

CC. Philafrenzy

We welcome anything that you have created/collected relating to the pandemic. You may have taken photos during your daily exercise around Ealing or your own local area; perhaps you created video diaries of your studies from home, or were inspired to record musical compositions or performances. We are also interested in collecting physical artworks, social distancing notices or messages of support for key workers hung in windows. Whatever it is, we encourage you to send it to us in order to create an archive of Covid-19 memories.

We are particularly keen to focus on the following areas for collecting:

  • How the physical spaces at UWL and the surrounding area have been transformed from busy and bustling to quiet and eerie;
  • The effects on students and staff working in the NHS and social care;
  • How students have reacted to and coped with the changes of moving learning online;
  • The changes to ways of working for staff including the challenges of working from home

Please contact for further information about this project. Any material donated will be safely stored by UWL Archives indefinitely and will be available to researchers of the future. Donations containing sensitive personal information are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018.


Launching the catalogue of the LGCHT

UWL archives hold the records of The London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism (LGCHT) which began teaching over 70 years. The archive has been catalogued and descriptions are now available to search on UWL archives’ online catalogue The collection includes a number of interesting photos from early on in the life of the College, some of which are featured within this article.

College staff, 1953: Mr. P. B. White, Mr. V. Ceserani, Mr. E. Jonckheere, Mr. R. G. Hudswell, Mr. S. Grey, Mr. F. P. Sharman, Mr. B. A. Liebold, Mrs. J. Bowes, Miss N. Brien, Mrs. N. Bradley, Miss E.F. M. King, Miss K. Witchell, Miss M. Hisee, Mrs. G.G. Cook

Mr. R.G. Hudswell, Pat Halligan, Roy Hudswell, Richard Ellewood, Ann Carter, Miss M. King, 1953

Demonstrations at Hotelympia with Miss. M. King in the centre, 1950

Miss E. F. M. King, Mrs. Eyinade Omidiora, Margaret Wallbank, 1955

The LGCHT began as the Acton Hotel and Catering School opening in 1948.

Doreen Francis, Mr. Danby, Rex Foster, 1949

The school developed a worldwide reputation under the experienced leadership of Mary King and Gerry Hudswell and other staff from within the hotel and catering industry. Victor Ceserani joined the college a few years later and the School left Acton Technical College (Woodlands Parade, W3) to become part of Ealing Technical College in 1957. The School brought with it a reputation for being one of the top training schools in the country with students going on to work in top restaurants in Paris and London, and many also going on to work as cabin staff for airlines such as BOAC (British Overseas Airways Cooperation) and BEA (British European Airways).


The School moved into the present location at St Mary’s Road, Ealing in 1962 as The Ealing School of Hotel Keeping and Catering. The East wing was added to the College to house the additional students and in 1962 a restaurant was opened where the public could eat lunch for approximately 35p cooked by trainee chefs and served by the hospitality students, a forerunner for ‘Pillars’ restaurant at UWL today.

Hotel receptionist training showing Judith Range, 1955

In the beginning catering students kept handwritten notes of recipes taken down from the blackboard however Ceserani and fellow lecturer Ronald Kinton decided to print recipes leading to the publication of Practical Cookery which went on to become a popular textbook for catering students across the country.

 In 1975 Ealing Technical College was turned into Ealing College of Higher Education. Influential catering lecturer Ceserani retired in 1980 and the School continued to develop expertise in management education. In 1991 the Ealing College of Higher Education merged with Queen Charlotte’s College and Thames Valley College to form the Polytechnic of West London and became Thames Valley University a year later. This was a time of expansion for the college and saw the introduction of the Postgraduate Diploma of Hospitality Management and the strengthening of international links. The following decades saw the development of honours degrees in culinary arts and the introduction of foundations degrees in Hospitality Management. The school was renamed the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism in 2016 in honour of the University Chancellor and Alumnus, Laurence Geller, CBE.

2016, from left to right: Chris Humphries,CBE (UWL’s Chair of the Board of Governors), Professor Peter John (UWL’s Vice Chancellor) with Ruth and Laurence Geller,CBE

The College continues to offer provision in Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Hotel Management as well as Aviation, Tourism, Events, Leisure and Transport Management at degree and post graduate levels. In 2018 the Heathrow Exhibition was opened at the Ealing Campus, with links to the aviation courses available at UWL which have been expanded further with the introduction of the Aviation Management and Commercial Pilot License degree beginning in 2019.

‘Heathrow: The Journey’ exhibition at UWL’s Ealing Campus, St Mary’s Road

For more information on the collections available at UWL archives, see the UWL archives web page: 

Women’s History Month: Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu DBE, CBE, FRCN, PhD is the Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London (UWL). 

Prof. Dame Elizabeth Anionwu (UWL)

Elizabeth was the first UK sickle cell/thalassemia nurse counselor and helped establish the Brent Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Counselling Centre in 1979. Elizabeth has spent her life as a nurse and a tutor, working with black and minority communities in London. She has received a fellowship from the Royal College of Nursing and been named one of the 70 most influential nurses and midwives in the history of the NHS. 

Elizabeth was born in Birmingham in 1947 to an Irish Catholic mother and a Nigerian father who were both students at Cambridge University. Born out of wedlock Elizabeth had a tough childhood living in children’s homes for the first 9 years of her life. At 16 she became a school nurse assistant and at 18 started her training in London. In the 1970s Dame Elizabeth became a health visitor in Brent, London and had her first encounter with sickle cell anemia – a painful disease found mostly in African and Caribbean families – which at the time was often overlooked. 

Prof. Dame Elizabeth Anionwu and Charmagne Barnes, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare (UWL)


Elizabeth lived in Acton for 48 years and taught nursing at the University of West London. She founded the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice  and prior to retirement in 2007 Elizabeth was University’s Dean of the School of Adult Nursing Studies. 




Mary Seacole Statue at St Thomas’ Hospital (wikimedia: Sumit Surai)

Elizabeth was the vice-chairperson of the successful Mary Seacole memorial statue appeal and helped to raise £750,000 towards the statue which was unveiled in 2016 at St Thomas’s Hospital, London (Jamaican Mary Seacole treated British soldiers on the battlefield in the Crimean War). Elizabeth received the British Journal of Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award in March 2018, along with many other accolades throughout her career.  

Dame Anionwu has written and contributed towards many important works in the field of nursing and sickle cell anemiaElizabeth’s memoirs ‘Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union’ were published in 2016 (a copy is available at UWL’s Paul Hamlyn Library in Ealing and the Berkshire Institute for Health ref. 610.73092/ANI)

‘Mixed blessings from a Cambridge union’ by Elizabeth Anionwu, 201






UWL Archives

UWL archives hold some interesting collections of photos of nurses from the 1960s and 1970s within materials from the Wolfson School of Nursing, Westminster as well as various nursing medals from former Reading and Berkshire nursing institutions. For more information contact Here is an example of some of the images mentioned:

Wolfson School of Nursing

Wolfson School of Nursing

Wolfson School of Nursing

London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism: Mary King

The Acton Hotel and Catering School opened in 1948 and was run by Mary King and Gerry Hudswell. The School became renowned all over the world due to its knowledgeable teaching staff who had experience of working in the hotel and catering industry. After moving to Ealing Technical College in 1957 it then moved to its current premises at St Mary’s Road when it became the Ealing School of Hotel keeping and Catering in 1962. Later that year a restaurant was opened to give the local community an affordable lunch and was named ‘The Mary King room’. The public could eat lunch for 7s 6d (approximately 35p) which was cooked by the School’s trainee chefs. Mary King retired the following year in 1963. The Mary King room was the forerunner to today’s Pillars Restaurant which still offers a fine dining experience cooked by students of the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism (LGCHT). Mary King’s memory lives on through The Mary King Award which is awarded annually to deserving students of the College. Below are some photos of Mary King from the LGCHT archive:

Mr Victor Ceserani and Miss Mary King, 1953

1953 staff: Back row, L-R: Mr. P. B. White, Mr. V. Ceserani, Mr. E. Jonckheere, Mr. R. G. Hudswell, Mr. S. Grey, Mr. F. P. Sharman, Mr. B. A. Liebold. Front row, L-R: Mrs. J. Bowes, Miss N. Brien, Mrs. N. Bradley, Miss E.F. M. King, Miss K. Witchell, Miss M. Hisee, Mrs. G.G. Cook

L-R: Miss E. F. M. King, Mrs. Eyinade Omidiora, Margaret Wallbank

Spotlight on the Archive: Snow days………!

Earlier this month we received the kind donation of a British European Airways (BEA) London Airport Operations Log Book from 1954 to 1955 (ref: UWLA/HA/01/06/07/001). The log book contains information about incidents relating to BEA aircraft at what was then known as London Airport, later known as Heathrow. The log book also remarked on anything which might affect the operations of BEA services such as cancellations due to weather conditions or availability of crew. In a week when many parts of the UK are braced for cold and wintry conditions, the log book reports of similar weather on the same date back on 25th February 1955, 65 years ago:

‘1045: Spoke to Capt. Law re airfield state & weather conditions. Snowing hard, low cloud, height not given, 2″ snow on runway, braking action only fair. Snow should cease after midday. In view of this decided to hold BE 544 in town.’

Thursday February 24th, report from BEA operations log book, 1954 – 1955 (UWLA/HA/01/06/07/001)

The reports that followed describe a situation of multiple delays and cancellations due to poor weather at other UK airports which resulted in aircraft being out of position and crew shortages.

Thursday February 24th, report from BEA operations log book, 1954 – 1955 (UWLA/HA/01/06/07/001)

Thursday February 24th, report from BEA operations log book, 1954 – 1955 (UWLA/HA/01/06/07/001)

Friday 25th February 1955, report from BEA operations log book, 1954 – 1955 (UWLA/HA/01/06/07/001)










BEA Operations log book UWLA/HA/01/06/07/001










The log book was written up by the then BEA Operations Controllers who were mostly ex-RAF personnel. BEA operated short haul services to domestic locations, Europe and the Middle East. It merged with British Overseas Airways Cooperation (BOAC) in 1971 to form British Airways.,_2010.jpg


UWL Archives is always interested to hear about historical documents and artefacts relating to Heathrow and other subjects taught here at the University. For more information and to view a copy of our Archives policy which includes a guide to the materials we collect, see:



Spotlight on: Tom Eckersley London Transport murals

UWL Archives is the proud custodian of two Tom Eckersley murals. These are part of a set of nine artworks originally displayed on the platforms at Heathrow Central Station when the extension of the Piccadilly line first opened on this day 42 years ago (16th December 1977). The murals were donated by TfL in June 2018.

Tom Eckersley Concorde tail mural

Mural on display at Heathrow Central Station c.1977










Eckersley was born on 30 September 1914 in Lancashire. In 1930 he began his study at Salford Art School where he was soon awarded the Heywood Medal for Best Student. In 1934 Eckersley moved to London with a desire to become a freelance poster designer. He was accompanied by Eric Lombers, a fellow student and future collaborator on commissioned poster designs.

Eckersley-Lombers posters were both eye-catching and functional and proved popular with advertisers. They supplied full size artwork with hand drawn lettering for their poster designs. Eckersley was also involved in the teaching of graphic design: he and Lombers worked as visiting lectures in poster design at Westminster School of Art. The poster became recognised as a design piece in the 1930s however they were restricted by tariffs imposed for displaying posters in public places. Eckersley’s bold, simple style was well-suited for the workplace safety posters he produced for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) throughout his career.

World War Two ended the Eckersley-Lombers partnership as they joined different military services. There was a decline in commercial advertising which led Eckersley to create posters for RoSPA which were aimed at factories that were part of the war effort. The posters are striking in their bluntness as with little text it is the illustration that catches the eye.

Eckersley originally joined the Royal Air Force for cartographic work but later transferred to the Publicity Section of the Air Ministry. In 1948 his contribution was recognised with the granting of an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to poster design. The ability of the poster to communicate complex messages was recognised so they became propaganda messages and instigated the development of mass media. The demand for government information posters reduced after the war and commercial advertising was still limited. However, Eckersley was able to gain commissions from new sources such as Gillette and old sources such as the General Post Office.

Eckersley taught poster design at the Westminster School of Art from 1937 to 1939. In 1954 Eckersley joined the London College of Printing (LCP, now named London College of Communication) to teach undergraduates. Here he established the first undergraduate courses in graphic design in Britain. He was Head of Graphic Design at the College from 1957 until 1977. Eckersley also continued to complete commissioned work, adding The United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the National Business Calendar Design Awards and Cooks to his list of clients.

Eckersley was one of the most iconic poster designers and graphic communicators of the twentieth century, who combined practice with education. In addition to poster making and book illustration he also produced magazine covers and logos. His designs put across complex messages by bringing together text and pictures. The range of companies who commissioned both the Eckersley-Lombers partnership and Eckersley individually reflects the wide appeal of their/his striking designs and include: British Petroleum; the British Broadcasting Corporation; London Transport; the Ministry of Information; the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA); the General Post Office; Gillette; London College of Printing; Guinness; the Inner London Education Authority; and many more.