University of Brighton Alumni Association


Alumnus Ian Anderson remembers his time at Brighton College of Arts and Crafts

Ian Anderson (right) in Bristol

89 year old Ian Anderson contacted us to share his memories of his time studying at Brighton College of Arts and Crafts when he was a member of the Brighton Student Association (now the SU). He began his studies at Brighton School of Art which became the Brighton College of Arts and Crafts in 1947 and was then was absorbed into Brighton Polytechnic in 1970, which eventually became the University of Brighton in 1992. You can read about the history of the art school here.

Ian recalls…

“Going back over 73 years can be a bit unreliable… I went, at 16, on a scholarship to Brighton School of Art, joining the Preliminary Course of six girls and three boys which, after the boys-only Brighton Grammar School, was something of a shock. In 1946, having passed the course, I was called up into the army, being demobilised in January 1949. After failing to become a stage designer (repertory theatres were closing all over the country) and other efforts at a career, I went back to the Art College in 1950, which had upgraded its name in about 1948, studying fashion for the Intermediate Arts & Crafts 2-year course, that being the nearest to stage design available.

“I was involved with the BSA, organising the Student Rag Day that year. Traditionally, the BSA president was from the Technical College, with about 800 students, while the vice-president was from the Art College, with just over 100. However, in my second year I was elected President of the BSA, due to a few politically-minded Technical College students pulling a fast one. The previous president had generously offered Brighton as the venue for the 1952 NUS Congress, so I had to organise that as well as the Rag Day.

“The Technical College provided an office and part-time secretary to the BSA but in those days presidents were supposed to find spare time to operate. As a result I spent a lot of time in the office and failed my course. Despite my Principal, Mr. Sallis Benney, offering another scholarship year, I left. I did complete an Open University degree in the 60s, when I was a lecturer at Salisbury College of Art.

“Incidentally, I think I have life membership of the Brighton Students’ Association, should it still be in existence.”

We love to hear your memories and receive pictures from our graduates. If you would like to share your story with us please email


Nic Ashton • October 5, 2017

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  1. N¡na October 7, 2017 - 11:36 am Reply

    This is such a fascinating post. I love reading about Student Union history.

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