THIS WEEK IN 1977: Students prepare for poly sit-in against increasing tuition fees

People arriving at Portsmouth Guildhall had to walk through lines of picketing students, protesting over grants while the polytechnic governors' meeting was being held inside
People arriving at Portsmouth Guildhall had to walk through lines of picketing students, protesting over grants while the polytechnic governors' meeting was being held inside
Ken stands in Woodmancote Road, Southsea, where he was narrowly missed being machine gunned by Messerschmitt during the war

NOSTALGIA: The man who was machine-gunned by Germans in war-time Southsea

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After a complete change of heart, student union leaders were urging their members to go into immediate occupation at Portsmouth Polytechnic. But the building chosen for the sit-in was a well-guarded secret.

Student union president Tom Edwards, who previously said he would resign rather than lead the union into occupation, said he changed his mind after discussion with other leaders.

A committee formed to arrange contingency plans for an occupation met for six hours to thrash out reaction to the governors’ reception of their demands.

‘On reflection, some of the governors answers to our demands, which seemed satisfactory at the time, were clearly an attempt to fob us off,’ he said.

‘I was under a lot of pressure to put our case to the governors and rather stupidly accepted one or two of their excuses for being unable to help us.’

An attempt to start an occupation previously was heavily defeated with the assistance of Mr Edwards.

But with their leader backing the sit-in, it was likely to get full support of a student majority meeting.

About 30 colleges in Britain were being occupied by students protesting at higher tuition fees.