The CLA Game Fair will be held at Shuttleworth, Old Warden
Park, near Biggleswade, Beds, for the first time on July 27-
29. Shuttleworth opened as an agricultural college in 1946
and Mike Johnston brings us up to date with its history
IN common with the industry they serve, many agricultural colleges are struggling. Shuttleworth College has had its share of misfortune and uncertainty, but the now expanding institution is thriving and offers a full range of courses for the land-based sector.
The college ethos is to meet the needs of individual students. This is a tradition started by its founder, Dorothy Shuttleworth, who always greeted each student personally and took a great interest in the progress of every individual.
She set up the Shuttleworth Trust and founded the college in memory of her son, Richard, who was killed in 1940 while serving with the RAF.
It enrolled its first students in 1946 and by the time Dorothy died in 1968, the college had established itself as a national centre for agricultural education. Dorothy, herself, was awarded the OBE in 1968 in recognition of her services to education.
Cranfield University took over the management of the college between 1988 and 1996. However, the future of agricultural education at Shuttleworth looked bleak when Cranfield pulled out, but it survived the scare and reopened in 1997. The college is now supported by the services of Writtle College – a development that marked a turning point in the future of Shuttleworth College.
Dorothy intended the house to remain as the centre of the college. She continued to live in the house and wanted students to enjoy and profit from being invited to study in this beautiful location where her son had lived and grown up.
She believed this close involvement with students maintained the character and atmosphere of the house. Today, the college has its own purpose-built classrooms, but students occasionally attend lessons in the house thus maintaining this long tradition.
A range of full and part-time courses are offered at Shuttleworth, including first diplomas, national diplomas and NVQs. Additions to the portfolio this year have been professional development programmes, such as BUSSEE (Business skills in East of England for food and farming) and ADER-sponsored programmes.
Traditional subjects, such as agriculture and horticulture, continue to be offered, but the need for the agricultural industry to diversify has led to the development of courses in animal care and equine studies. From September, the college will also be offering higher education programmes.
Strong links have been established between the current Students Union and the Shuttleworth College Association, which allows former students from all over the world to keep in touch with their old college.
Current Union president Will White recently met students who attended the college during the 1950s and remember Dorothy Shuttleworth.