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Norman Plastow interview: Higher education and professional training

I didn't stay on at King's. I took what was then the Schools Certificate - the "Matric". (It reminds me of a girl who used to hang around King's known as "the School Cert".) I could have stayed on for the higher certificate but I decided then I was going for architecture which is a five-year course. Having taken the "Matric", I could have applied for university but the problem was that immediately after the war with all those people coming back from the forces the universities were packed to the gills. Getting in anywhere was difficult. You might get in in Ireland or somewhere like that. Also there were no universities that gave you the full five-year course. You did the three-year course to immediate and then had to go on on your own and sort the next two years some other way. Kingston was one of the few places that was offering an architectural course so I decided to go there and stayed for the full five years.

Then you had to have one year in practice to learn about contract law and so on. I worked at a firm called TP Bennett near the British Museum - I used to go to the British Museum every day during my lunch for a brief visit. Most of the work then was with Shellmex and BP and I used to go all over the place, visiting sites, potential sites for petrol stations. Nothing very exciting or interesting but I did get an idea of how things worked and that lasted for a year.