Dr Claire Gobbi Daunton (Chair)
I studied history at Bedford College, graduating in 1974. The course was wide-ranging, and we were exceptionally well taught, and well cared for as individuals. Of course it helped that we were located in Regent's Park and that our department was in the beautiful St John's Lodge, with a rose garden running down to the boating lake where some tutorials even took place. We had the best time.
The history degree was intercollegiate so we could take courses in different colleges of the university, and I did. We were encouraged to feel part of our own college, but also part of the University of London, and to take advantage of what London offered. Being in central London was a great privilege, even though in 1973 we had the oil crisis and not long after that the three-day week, and much disruption. But all in all it was a golden time.
I made friends there, at Bedford, good friends for life, and I came out with a very good degree which took me on to a further degree, and I never really left history. I have worked at different kinds of jobs in the University of London, and now in Cambridge where I have been for the last seventeen years. Although now retired I still do some research and teaching in medieval history.
What I took from Bedford College was a deep love of my subject and of academic enquiry more generally, and an abiding sense of gratitude to the place and people who taught me. I am still in regular contact with many of them, and the Bedford society helps to maintain this contact.
Professor Caroline Barron OBE
I joined the History department of Bedford College in 1965 as a tutorial fellow and rose through the ranks to become a professor in 2005. So my academic career was divided almost evenly between Bedford College in Regent’s Park and Royal Holloway and Bedford New College at Egham. I was the last Dean of Arts at Bedford and worked closely with Professor Ian Spink, the Dean of Arts at Holloway to try to achieve a creative and amicable merger of the two Arts Faculties. Later I was Dean of the Postgraduate School at RHBNC and I have always particularly enjoyed teaching postgraduates. Together with Dr Ros Field in the Bedford English department we instituted the new MA in Medieval Studies which we took with us to RHBNC and which still flourishes.
My own research interests focus on medieval London, Richard II and medieval women. Outside of my University work I have served on the Council of the Girl’s Day School Trust, as a Royal Commissioner on Historical Manuscripts, as a Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and as an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford. Bedford College gave me the opportunity to pursue a career which has been an extremely happy one and I am very glad that I have been able to repay a little of that debt by serving on the Bedford Society Committee.
Professor Gavin Drewry
I joined the Sociology Department at Bedford in 1966, as a very junior research assistant attached to the Legal Research Unit. The Head of Department then was the formidable Professor (later, Lord) McGregor, but I quickly learned that it was our equally formidable departmental secretary, Madge Simonis, who really ruled the roost. My research director was the distinguished barrister (he was subsequently elected an an honorary fellow of RHBNC) the late Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC, who taught criminology. In 1970, I transferred to the teaching staff, and lectured in politics and public administration. I went on doing that for another 39 years (can it really have been so long?) until I (semi) retired, as an emeritus professor, from what had by then metamorphosed, via many convoluted evolutionary stages, into the Department of Politics and International Relations at RHBNC.
Like many Bedford colleagues and students, I didn’t relish one little bit the prospect of eviction from our lovely location in Regent’s Park. But, I did soon grow to accept and respect the merged institution at Egham. RHBNC is a world-class university and Bedford is an essential part of its heritage. The spirit of Bedford College is, thankfully, still very much alive and the mission of this Society is to ensure that it remains so. As a loyal and rather sentimental old Bedfordian I am very glad to be part of this important project.
Mrs Pat Doble
I studied Mathematics at Bedford 1962-5, then Operational Research at Lancaster University.
Bedford gave me a glimpse of London life and the opportunities ahead, with a lasting passport into the best employers.
In my early career computers transformed all aspects of business. I helped Littlewoods and then Mars to optimise budgets, including advertising, before transferring into marketing. After a nine year career break, we have two daughters and a son, I managed marketing services and global brands at Mars, then Guinness’ spirits brands. I loved travelling, understanding and motivating people across the world to drive mega brands like Johnnie Walker. Finally, I joined the board of a media services company, Aegis, to build a global network through acquisition and strong international branding. I served on the Board of Nationwide Building Society and became Chairman of the Nationwide Foundation. I was a member of the Council of RHBNC.
I retired to work with my husband in handing over our farm to our son as a fourth generation tenant. Gardening and music have always been my inspiration, recently eclipsed by two tiny granddaughters.
I would like the Bedford Society to bring alive the legacy of pioneering education and to help RHBNC inspire and support today’s trail blazers.
Mrs Sanaya Robinson
Sanaya started her degree at Bedford College in 1981 and mainly chose Bedford College because of its setting within the beautiful green oasis of Regent’s Park. Little did she know that a period of cuts and budget constraints would follow, which would mean that she would have to move with her Chemistry undergraduate colleagues to the Royal Holloway site in 1982, as part of the advance party of migrating students, ahead of the full merger of the two colleges.
Whilst this was undoubtedly a difficult and uncertain time, there was considerable support from the Chemistry department staff at Bedford College who also moved. Also, this early upheaval has stood Sanaya in good stead for various changes that have followed throughout her working career. In 1984, Sanaya graduated with a BSc in Chemistry with first class honours. She then trained as a Chartered Accountant. Upon qualifying, Sanaya went out into the big wide world and worked in increasingly senior roles across a range of FTSE 100 plcs: ICI, Abbey National, Kingfisher and Safeway. In these roles she built up a wide range of experience across all areas of Finance, and various special projects and Strategy. During this time, Sanaya passed her Treasury exams and is now a Fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.
She then gained her first Finance Director role at Wickes at the age of 37. Since then she has had two further FD roles, at Moat Housing Group and at Acorn Care and Education, a private equity-backed group, where she helped to acquire and integrate several independent businesses.
Since 2009, Sanaya has concentrated on Non-Executive roles. She joined the Board of Town and Country Housing Group and then Housing and Care 21, where she took on the role of Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee. She has also been a Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair of a regional Building Society. In 2012, Sanaya became a graduate of the FT NED diploma.
Sanaya lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband. She is a keen gardener, likes travelling, is a cricket fan and passionate about art.
Sanaya joined the Bedford Committee in 2017 because she would like to ensure that the spirit of Bedford College is kept alive and to encourage RHBNC to have regard to and consider the importance of Bedford College, not just from the point of view of its heritage, but also its future. She would also like to encourage more recent alumni of Bedford College to engage with the Society and its events.
Dr William Joseph Spring
Joseph Spring is a mathematician and computer scientist. His initial training in mathematics centred on developing skills in analytic and algebraic disciplines with applications in Newtonian, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, logic, classical probability, quantum theory and relativity. Subsequent training focused in operator theory, quantum probability and quantum stochastic calculus. In computer science his initial training involved programming, formal languages, cryptography and security in networks and distributed systems, quantum Information and computation.
Joseph’s research interests include classical and quantum distributed systems, dynamics, intrusion detection schemes, geometric applications to quantum based systems and applications of quantum stochastic calculus.
Joseph currently lectures in cyber security, quantum computing, programming paradigms, measures and models for software engineering, secure systems programming and distributed systems security. He continues to supervise students for PhD, MPhil, MSc (Res), MSc and BSc (Hons) in areas relating to quantum distributed systems, cyber security, intrusion detection, applications of game theory to secure systems, security and VoIP, security and the internet of things, cryptography, cryptographic algorithms, and the representation of quantum states via hyperbolic geometry.
Joseph’s international interests have involved the management of educational links in Hungary, India, Ireland, Malta and Oman
Ms Betty Hales
After sixth form I went to work as a computer programmer, where I met my future husband who urged me to get my degree. I grew up in a working class family and despite gaining 4 good ‘A’ levels I hadn’t the confidence to go straight to university from school. I graduated from Bedford College in 1973, having studied Physics. There were only 3 women out of over 30 students in our cohort. Lectures started at 9.00 am every morning, there was a lot to fit in, but the walk from the tube station and into the park was always magical even in the rain. I chose Bedford for the surroundings, of course, but also because the department was small and friendly. The course was demanding yet we worked hard and helped each other to succeed. I followed my degree with a PGCE year at Homerton College, Cambridge. My first child was born a few weeks after completing my PGCE, having married during my 2nd year at Bedford, which was very unusual.
I then taught Maths and Physics in a variety of part-time posts until the youngest of my 3 children started school. Then I became the Head of Physics at a girls grammar school, worked in a college of Further Education and as Head of Science in a comprehensive school in East London before moving into education management as Deputy Head, then Acting Head, in a very deprived school in Hackney, which, unfortunately, was closed amidst national publicity. I found that I related well to pupils with a range of social and learning problems and so I moved into Special Education, becoming the Head of a school for pupils with Social, Emotional and Behavioural difficulties, just 5 months before an Ofsted inspection that it was expected to fail but didn’t.Three years later it was described by Ofsted as ‘Very Good’. I went on to work in other special settings which needed improvement and focused on helping pupils from dysfunctional backgrounds to achieve academically. Thus giving them options in life that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
I retired 8 years ago and am pleased to be involved with the Bedford Society to help past students to keep in touch with each other and to keep the spirit of Bedford College alive.
Mrs Maggie Bolton
I studied History at Bedford College from 1971-74 and as a result of the inspirational teaching there, History became my passion. The staff were encouraging and supportive; they provided an exceptional environment in which to study and also to have fun – some exciting staff student cricket matches and Christmas entertainments! I loved the sport and took advantage of the London University Swimming Team, becoming captain in 1973. This brought me into contact with students from all the colleges.
I went on to King’s College for my P.G.C.E. teaching qualification and then into a career of teaching History in a wide range of secondary school in Bromley and in Kent - a High School, three Comprehensives and two Grammars. As my level of responsibility grew, there was less opportunity to teach History which I regretted, but it was the price to pay for promotion. I was Headteacher for the last twelve years of my career.
When I announced my retirement, I was asked to continue to work with, and develop further, a consortium of 34 primary and secondary schools - to organise conferences and to provide a range of programmes to develop leadership in schools. I also ran training in mentor-coaching for all newly appointed Kent Leaders of Education.
After three years of this work, I decided it was time to return to my passion for History and take a further degree. The natural choice was to choose Royal Holloway and Bedford New College and I studied there for a Masters in Medieval Studies. I thoroughly enjoyed the year and whilst studying there, I realised the importance of championing the role that Bedford College played and continues to play through its alumni, to the current work of the College. In addition, of course, it is important that Bedford alumni can still come together and enjoy themselves in a range of activities.