The Keele Oral History Project

Fancy dress cycle ride d cc1956 "Oral history is a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in past events and ways of life" (Oral History Association).

Oral history complements official documents and records by providing a personal view of historical moments. The Keele Oral History Project was instigated at the first Pioneers Reunion in May 2005.

The memories of former students are of value not just to themselves but also to posterity. Historians, sociologists, alumni, scholars and others will all benefit from the experiences they share for the project.

  • The Keele estate, the Sneyd family and Keele Hall - ideal for visitors or Keele people who enjoy history and heritage
  • The Origins of Keele University - ideal for visitors, staff and students who want to know why "Keele is Keele" and about the unique "Keele Experiment" which still informs our values and ethos
  • Keele Myths and Legends - ideal for staff and students who want to hear some of the more famous scandals, pranks, controversies and bizarre occurrences from Keele's Oral History

A Heritage Guide can meet visitors to the university or offer an activity with students or staff to develop an awareness about this amazing place where we work, study and - many of us - live! Visit the Keele Heritage Guides webpage.





Keele Swans Keele's Dragon
University Challenge Win Levitation!
Fresher's Gate  Colours and Heraldry
An "Incident" on the Lawns The Soundtrack of our (Keele) Lives
Memorable Pranks The Leader of the Pack
Keele Klobber and the Brain Bunnies Spies for Peace?
Declarations of Independence Hollywood Pop Festival 
Varsity and the Athletic Union Bell Sam and the South African Scholarships
Skiff Ahoy and the New Union Building John Lennon Interviewed
RAG at Keele Legendary RAG Records
History through Building Names Drama at Keele
Lindsay String Quartet Early Overseas Exchanges
Winter at Keele National and Wartime Service
Pioneering Keelites of Colour Horwood's Lost Dandelion
Early Student Publications  Hut Life
Keele Song Book The Gig of my (Keele) Life
'Our Keele' Standout Moment! Sunny Daze at Keele 
The Clock with No Hands  The KPA Oar   
The Nelson Mandela Bar  Cold War Diplomacy and "The Rape of the Sock"
Student Elections: Wit and Wisdom  Graduation Ceremonials   
Naming Names - Class Photographs  


Heritage Guides and KOHP Volunteers


In 2011, two Keele students (Georgie Fitzgibbon and Ariana Sevilla) set up a group of Heritage Volunteers – students who were willing to give up their time to find out about Keele’s heritage and history and to share it with others through guided tours.  In 2014 this initiative evolved into Heritage Guides – a team of student ambassadors trained to conduct guided tours about the History of Keele, Keele Hall and the Sneyd family, the history and heritage of Keele University and Myths and Legends of Keele students.  Heritage Guides are paid as Keele student ambassadors and can be booked to conduct tours through the Student Ambassador Office. Request a Heritage Guide


Many hundreds of alumni have been involved in supporting the Project with donations of stories, photographs, interviews, ephemera, COPIES OF student and university publications, advice, stories, film-clips, audio-clips, information and most important of all - memories! Alumni volunteering for the KOHP is coordinated  by Brian Walker (1970) and Nici Hildebrandt (1975).

Photo: Production team for "First Decade":John Groom (1956), Keith Clement (1956), Geoff Matthews (1957) and Brian Walker (1970). Not shown: John Easom (1981) 

First Decade KOHP Volunteers








Photo: Production team for "A Coming of Age": Nici Hildebrandt (1975), John Easom (1981), Bill Proctor (1968), Brian Walker (1970), Phil Davies (1971) Gerry Northam (1970). Not shown; Pam Jones, Matt Bowling (2008) 


Did you enjoy this? Why not read more stories from the Keele Oral History Project?