Engineer who steered Loughborough to University
status and became its first Vice Chancellor,
Herbert Haslegrave, studied Mechanical
Engineering part-time from 1918 to 1923, and
then returned to lecture from 1931 to 1935, at
Bradford Technical College.
Herbert joined English Electric as an engineering
apprentice straight from Wakefield Grammar
School when he was 16. He studied part-time at
Bradford Technical College and attained First Class
Honours in his external London degree.
He won a Whitworth Scholarship, the highest honour for a practical engineer, and went on to Trinity Hall Cambridge, where he achieved a First in the Mechanical Engineering Tripos, snaring all 3 university prizes in his subject. Despite his distinguished academic record, Herbert went back to work at English Electric, as a designer based in Stafford.
After a couple of years Herbert realised that he had a vocation to technical education so he obtained a Lecturer’s position at Wolverhampton & Staffordshire Technical College. After one year he returned to lecture where he had first studied engineering, Bradford Technical College, staying for 4 years.
In 1935 he moved to Loughborough College to be Head of Continuing Education. Over the next few years he became Principal of 3 Technical Colleges in succession: St Helen’s, Barnsley Technical & Mining and then Leicester College of Technology.
In 1953 he then returned to Loughborough and set about reorganising and raising standards, resulting in it becoming a College of Advanced Technology in 1958. Herbert continued his improvements, expanding the curriculum, developing 4 new departments, bringing in new staff and promoting participation in sports. He invested in future growth by convincing the Department of Education to acquire adjacent land and began a building programme. Under his dedicated direction, Loughborough became the first CAT to be granted its university charter in 1966, with Herbert as the first Vice-Chancellor. Herbert was economical with financial resources but generous with his time for all his staff and students.
Following his retirement in 1967, Herbert chaired a government committee on the training of technicians, resulting in the influential Haslegrave Report. He also visited the USA and USSR as a member of delegations examining technical education. In 1968 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Technology by Loughborough University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to technical education. He died in September 1999.
Photograph courtesy of Loughborough University