West London Institute of Higher Education

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The West London Institute of Higher Education (WLIHE), a two-campus academic establishment, was located in Isleworth and East Twickenham, West London, UK from 1976 until 1995 when it became Brunel University College. In 1997 it was fully integrated into Brunel University.[1]

Lancaster House, Osterley campus


West London Institute was created in 1976 from the merger of Borough Road and Maria Grey teacher training colleges and Chiswick Polytechnic. Borough Road College, on the Osterley campus, dated back to 1889 in that location, and to 1798 in its previous home on Borough Road in Southwark. As a College of Higher Education from 1976, West London received funding from local government, and it had to perform adequately in the higher education sector. It was placed under the direction, as Principal, of a sport psychologist and former physical education lecturer, Professor John Kane OBE, and a geographer Murie Robertson, who served as Vice-Principal. It awarded undergraduate degrees (CNAA) and HNDs, and continued to train teachers, being, for example, a specialist 'Wing College' for Physical Education. Operating over two campuses, one on St. Margarets Road in East Twickenham, alongside the River Thames, and the other immediately south of the Great West Road in Osterley. The Institute had a strong reputation for sport, and produced many outstanding performers, particularly in track and field athletics and rugby. The Borough Road name persisted on the rugby field and on the Institute's sports strip.

The 1980s[edit]

By the 1980s the degree and diploma programmes at WLIHE were being delivered through a variety of disciplines. The Borough Road College campus in Osterley was home to American Studies, English Literature, History, Religious Studies, Geography, Geology, Business Studies, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, and Sports Studies, while the Arts, Music, and Education were clustered two miles away at the old Maria Grey College site in East Twickenham. For a number of years, the Colleges were affiliated to The University of London's Institute of Education and therefore offered University of London degree courses. By the 1990s the courses offered were mostly joint honours awards in various combinations including: American Studies, Drama, Art, French, Business Studies, English Literature, Geography, Geology, History, Religious Studies, Music and Sports Studies, plus single-honours degrees in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, and Social Work. By the 1990s a few Masters programmes were also offered; for example, in Sport Sciences (the first in Greater London), Social Work, and Environmental Change. A small number of PhDs were also awarded across the disciplines. The British and Foreign School Society [1] kept an archive and ran a National Religious Education Centre on the Osterley site. The Twickenham site also hosted a ballet school, the Rambert. For its size and status (Higher Education colleges in the UK were not really expected to be high research performers), the Institute performed relatively well in research, with several departments achieving national recognition in the Research Assessment Exercises of the 1980s and 1990s (1992 result here) – WLIHE also did well in the 1996 assessment – and a few staff held national research awards from the ESRC and other bodies.

The merger with Brunel University[edit]

Given the evident strength in research, allied to its reputation in teaching quality, a merger approach by the Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University, Professor Michael Sterling, went amicably – WLIHE had expertise and subject areas that Brunel did not. In 1995 WLIHE ceased to exist. For the next two years, its campuses and departments were known as Brunel University College, under the stewardship of a Provost, Prof. Eric Billett, and then simply as Brunel University from 1997. This status prevailed for about 6 years, before Brunel decided to centralise all of its operations on its Uxbridge campus, 8 miles away. By this time, many departments had already moved from Osterley to Uxbridge. The East Twickenham campus, which contained several older buildings and had a riverfront location, was sold off in 2005 and was largely demolished and converted into luxury housing. Its central building, Gordon House, was on the market for 2 years at £15,000,000 after being sold once. It has been renamed Richmond House, even though it is not in Richmond.[2] The Osterley campus succumbed to the same fate in 2006 and is now a development of new and converted housing around Lancaster House, with the famous sports fields no longer operational (except for the athletics track which is now under private ownership).

The merger with Brunel was generally seen as a positive development by WLIHE staff, given the attraction of a University name for student recruitment and prestige. Almost all staff continued in their jobs, eventually moving to Uxbridge, although the greater expectation of research output at a 'proper' university forced a few into early retirement. In addition, Sterling's replacement, Professor Stephen Schwartz, later forced several Brunel staff into redundancy, closed the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, and merged several other groups. The Brunel merger ended most teacher-training activity, though notably Physical Education was preserved. The Rambert Ballet School went independent in 2003, citing financial and creative reasons for this change of status.


  • Denys Baptiste Jazz musician (tenor saxophone) and composer
  • Steve Bates England Rugby international scrum-half (1989)
  • Nigel Bevan GB Olympic Games (1982) Javelin
  • Kevin Bowring Wales National Rugby Union coach (1995–98); RFU Director of Professional Coach Development (2002–16)
  • Clive Brewer Author, books on Strength & Conditioning; Fellow UKS&CA; Asst. Director of Performance at Toronto Blue Jays; former National Programme Manager for Athlete Development at Sport Scotland; former Head of Human Performance at Rugby Football League
  • Katie Briers actor e.g. The Last Kingdom
  • Judith Burne GB Rowing, Coxless Four, World Championships (1985 & 1986) & Commonwealth Games Gold medal (1986)
  • Dave Clarke (Cross-Country) England Cross-Country, World Championships (1983)
  • Garry Cook GB Olympic Games Silver medallist, 4 × 400 m (1984), and World Championships 800m (1983)
  • Greg Davies stand-up comedian and actor
  • Abi Ekoku CEO and Rugby League player, Bradford Bulls; Discus thrower, UK Champion, GB/England – European Championships/Commonwealth Games
  • Alberto Fabris musician
  • Maurice (Moss) Finn Ireland Rugby international wing three-quarter (1979–86)
  • Justin Fitzpatrick Ireland Rugby international prop forward (1998-03)
  • Brett Garrard GB & England Hockey international, Olympian (2000 & 2004); GB and England's most capped player
  • Julian Golley GB Olympic Games (1992) & England Commonwealth Games Gold medallist (1994) Triple Jump
  • Steve Harris GB Canoeing, World Championships (K1 Sprint) and Marathon World Championships (K2) winner
  • Mark Hatton GB Winter Olympian (2002 & 2006) Luge
  • Dave Heaven Jazz guitarist
  • Toby Hessian GB Rowing LtWt Coxless Fours, World Championships Gold Medal (1991)
  • Richard Hill MBE British & Irish Lions (1997)/England Rugby international (1997-09); World Cup winner with England 2003; currently the England National Rugby Union Team Manager
  • Patricia Hodge OBE, actor; Olivier Award 2000
  • Julie Hollman GB Olympic Games, Heptathlon (2008), World Championships (2003) and England Commonwealth Games (2002 & 2006)
  • Paul Honeyford a successful author and linguist
  • Eddie van Hoof GB Gymnastics, Olympic Games (1984) & UK Coach of the Year 2016
  • Ben Johnston England Rugby international centre three-quarter (2002)
  • Alex King England Rugby international fly-half (1997-03)
  • Andrew M. Lane Professor, University of Wolverhampton
  • John Mallet England Rugby international prop forward (1995)
  • Simon Mason (Rugby) Ireland Rugby international full-back (1996)
  • Rosie Mayglothling GB Women's Eight, 1980 Olympics, and 5 World Championships; National Coach for Women's Rowing; Technical Coordinator for British Rowing
  • Mark Naylor GB High Jump, Olympics (1980 & 1984)
  • John Neal Head of Coach Development at England Cricket; Professor & Programme Director at Ashridge Executive Education
  • John Olver England Rugby international hooker (1990–92)
  • David Ottley GB Javelin, Olympics Silver medal (1984), Commonwealth Games Gold medal (1986) & World Championships (1987)
  • Mark Pearn GB & England Hockey international; Olympian (2000 & 2004)
  • Ian Peel England Rugby's national team Scrum Coach (2015)
  • Keith Power GB Four-man Bobsleigh, World Cup, Bronze medallist (1985)
  • Teresa Purton GB Modern Pentathlon, World Championships Team Gold medal (1983)
  • Amanda Rees, Professor of Geography, Columbus State University (USA).
  • Courtney Rumbolt GB Four-man Bobsleigh, Bronze medallist, Winter Olympics (1994)
  • Kathy Smallwood-Cook MBE 13 medals at the Olympics, World Championships, European Championships, and Commonwealth Games in Athletics (sprints; 1978–84)
  • Kelly Sotherton Olympic Games Bronze Medallist, Heptathlon (2004 & 2008); Gold medal Commonwealth Games (2006); Bronze Medal World Championships (2007)
  • Paul Stimpson GB & England Basketball, played over 120 times for GB and England and captained England
  • Linda Strachan GB Fencing (Foil), Olympic Games 1988 & 1992
  • Caroline Strong stage and screen actor
  • Ian Taylor GB Hockey goalkeeper and Olympic gold medallist (1988)
  • Peter C. Terry Sport psychologist at nine Olympic Games, 18 World Championships, 28 World Cup competitions, 9 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2002 & 2010 Commonwealth Games; Professor & Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Iwan Thomas MBE Silver medallist for 400 m at the Commonwealth Games (2002); European 400 m champion (1998), Gold medallist in the 4 × 400 m relay at the European Championships (1998); Silver medallist in the 4 × 400 m relay at the Olympics (1996) and a member of the winning 4 × 400 m relay team at the World Championships (1997); current TV presenter
  • Darren Treasure Sport Psychologist & High Performance Director for the Nike Oregon Project; Associate Professor Arizona State University & Honorary Professor Bath University.
  • Ian Tullett GB & England Pole Vault; Silver medallist, Commonwealth Games (1990)
  • Ichiro Watanabe Professor, Tokyo City University, Japan
  • Jeremy West GB Canoeing, Olympic Games & two Gold medals at the World Championships (1986)
  • Anthony Whiteman GB Olympian (1996 & 2000); winner of the 1500 m, World University Games 1997; Master's world record holder for 800 m
  • Alan Whitwell GB Rowing, three Olympic Games, Silver medal Men's Eight (1980), & World Championships, Lightweight Double Sculls Gold medallist (1986)
  • Jason Wing GB Four-man Bobsleigh, Winter Olympics (1994), & European Championships Silver medallist (1994)
  • Greg Whyte (sportsman) OBE GB Modern Pentathlon Olympian (1992 & 1996), won World Championship silver & European bronze (1991); Professor of Applied Sport & Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University

Former staff of some renown include:

  • Prof. Kathleen (Kathy) Armour Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of Birmingham
  • Prof. Simon Batterbury Chair of Political Ecology, Lancaster University; Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne.
  • Prof. Christine Bold School of English & Theatre Studies, University of Guelph, Canada
  • John Brierley England Athletics Team Manager, Commonwealth Games (2002 & 2010); Scotland international, Triple Jump; GB Athletics Team Manager, 6 World Student Games (1991–2001)
  • Em. Prof. Susan Buckingham-Hatfield social geographer and author, Brunel University
  • Prof. Gavin D'Costa theologian, University of Bristol
  • Prof. Della Fish Professor of Education, Swansea University
  • Prof. Paul Grimshaw University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Prof. Robyn L Jones Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Danny Kerry MBE GB Women's Hockey Head Coach, led the team to Olympic Gold medal (2016)
  • Em. Prof. Théodore MacDonald, polymath health promotion professor, medical doctor, mathematician and human rights activist; (1933-2011)
  • Prof. David Marsland "new right" sociologist
  • Em. Prof. Bill McGuire University College London, geologist, TV presenter and author
  • Alan Pascoe MBE European & Commonwealth Gold Medallist, and Olympic Games finalist, 400m Hurdles; Olympic Silver medallist, 4 × 400 m relay; Vice-Chair of the London 2012 Olympic bid
  • Em. Prof. Lorraine De Souza, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Brunel University London
  • Prof. Iain Stewart, University of Plymouth, earth sciences television presenter and geologist [2]
  • Prof. Peter C. Terry Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Em. Prof. N. C. Craig Sharp Brunel University London; Director and co-founder of the British Olympic Medical Institute; (1933-2018)
  • Prof. Richard Tong Cardiff Metropolitan University; current Chair of the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences


Personal account, S.Batterbury [3]

  1. ^ "West London Institute". History. Brunel University. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  2. ^ http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-24364233.html