Chris Mitchinson – Chairman
Having enjoyed a professional career trying to predict the future as an Equity Strategist in the Japanese market, on retirement I decided that looking to history would provide some balance. After two years of part-time study at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford, I enrolled full-time as an undergraduate in the History Faculty at King’s College, London. Three very busy years later,I emerged with the Brewer Prize for the best history degree in the year. ‘ No wonder,’ remarked one of my youthful contemporaries,’you have lived through most of it!’ My interests center on C19 & C20 British and European History but I am gradually filling in my understanding of non-European perspectives. My main functions as Chairman are to organize the lecture schedule ( input always appreciated), liaise with visiting lecturers and on the day of the meeting wine and dine them, escort them to the meeting, chair the meeting and (extremely important) ensure that they catch their return trains after the event.
Mike Brooks – Treasurer
After studying finance and accounting at Portsmouth Polytechnic and the LSE, I spent most of my working life as a Finance Manager in the international oil and gas industry, latterly with Royal Dutch Shell. After retiring from full time employment, I developed a portfolio of consultancy and non-executive appointments including some charity activities. My interest in history was triggered by gaining an unexpectedly decent grade at O level, and I have retained this interest ever since. In addition to being your branch Treasurer, I am Treasurer of the Historical Association at national level.
Rollo Crookshank – Secretary
After studying electronics and electrical engineering, I spent my working life in those trades. As a relaxation I read about and listened to general histories of the world and learned of country’s history wherever I travelled. I was delighted when a friend introduced me to the West Surrey branch of the Historical Association in the 90s and joined the committee. It was soon discovered that I was the Treasurer of another organisation and was persuaded to take on that position for the branch, which I held of nearly two decades. Over this period lecturers began to request electronic aids using a laptop computer, projector and screen to enable them enhance their lecture with slides. As audience numbers increased the committee decided to provide the speakers with a lapel microphone to project their voices to the rear of the hall. I cared for all of the electronics between lectures and set it up prior to the meetings. Other members of the branch have taken over this responsibility when I have been indisposed, as 9 out of 10 lecturers require this facility now. I remain a committee member.
Valerie Haye has master’s degrees in arts and social work. She has worked as a book editor and publisher, specialising in history, and as a clinical social worker. She is a trustee of the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia and has organised lecture series on British India in association with the Institute of Historical Research (2017-18) and the South Asia Centre, London School of Economics (2018-19).
Lifelong history enthusiast and long term HA member. Specialised in the history of political thought at LSE then worked in the City and Industry. As a committee member I’m responsible for publicising the activities and existence of the branch. Limited resources mean that anything members can do – by word of mouth or leaflet distribution – to help in this is very welcome. My wife Sue and I are at the signing in desk for meetings.
Jane Saul joined the Historical Association while at school in Worcester. She has served as Secretary of the West Surrey branch and now represents the interests of the general members of the association on the HA’s Branch and Members Committee.
Graham Searle – Honorary President
After National Service and a History degree at Worcester College, Oxford my whole career has been in independent education teaching History up to and including A level and culminating in thirteen years as Head at Colston’s School, Bristol and then ten years as the National Director of the Independent Schools Careers Organisation. While in Bristol I was President of the Bristol Branch of the Historical Association and, after retirement, Chairman of the West Surrey Branch for ten years.
Matthew Smith – Membership Secretary
Matthew read history at King’s College London, specializing in the medieval nobility and gentry and the reign of Henry II. After teaching history and politics at secondary school level, he spent time living in Germany before moving to Guildford in early 2012.
Having graduated from Nottingham University with a history degree, Neil has worked as a teacher in secondary education, in both the maintained and independent sectors, for over 25 years. During that time he was head of history at St John’s School, Leatherhead, for 11 years and taught a range of GCSE, IGCSE and A level topics. Areas of special interest and research include seventeenth century British history and the Arab-Israeli conflict.