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.



A Brief History of the Sneyd family, the Keele estate, the University College of North Staffordshire and Keele University

History and Tradition

Colours and Heraldry The Keele Society History through Building Names
Keele's Dragon Mascot Graduation Ceremonial RAG at Keele
Swans, Swanmasters, Swanmistresses Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors  A Brief History of Keele and the Sneyds
The KPA Oar Varsity and the Athletic Union Bell Lord Lindsay and the 1938 Oxford By-Election



Incidents and Events

University Challenge Wins Levitating the Clock House! Declaration of Independence
The "Incident" on the Lawns Memorable Pranks The Leader of the Pack
Squeezing in a Phone Box Hollywood Pop Festival   Spies for Peace?










Fresher's Gate Horwood's Lost Dandelion The Clock with No Hands
Skiff Ahoy and the
New Union Building
Keele Park Racecourse Railways at Keele
The Nelson Mandela Bar History through Building Names  









Our People and Our Stories

John Lennon Interviewed Portrait of a Princess Raft Races on the Lake
Drama at Keele Sam and the South African
Keele Kouples
The Soundtrack of our
(Keele) Lives
Keele Klobber and the
Brain Bunnies
Student Elections:
Wit and Wisdom
Legendary RAG Records Lindsay String Quartet Winter at Keele
Early Overseas Exchanges

Pioneering International Keelites

National and Wartime Service
Keele Song Book Officers of the SU and KPA
Officers of the AU
Naming Names - Class Photographs The Gig of my (Keele) Life Folk Music and Folk Dance Revolution
Hut Life Early Student Publications Interviews with Keelites











First Decade: The Origins of Keele University 1950-1962

A Coming of Age: Continuity and Change 1962-1973

Heritage Guides and KOHP Volunteers


First Decade KOHP Volunteers

Many hundreds of alumni have been involved in supporting the Project with donations of stories, photographs, interviews, ephemera, 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).

Brian Walker has recorded dozens of audio Interviews with Keelites.

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

Photo below right: The 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) 
Coming of Age team   


In 2011, Keele students Georgie Fitzgibbon (2013) and Ariana Sevilla (2013) 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 can be booked to conduct tours through the Student Ambassador team.


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