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Interview with Alastair Scott

Alastair Scott speaks about his experience as a student at the Dundee Technical College, how classes used to be, about the courses he took and what Dundee and the campus used to look like. He spoke about his role in the family business and how the jute industry provided him with a lot of travelling opportunities (India, Pakistan, Thailand).
He talks about lecturers he remembers and the connections he still has with Abertay University and his role in the Dundee Heritage Trust. He then talked about all the different companies he worked for and other involvements he had (board member in America, part of a counsel).
Alastair speaks about his experience with synthetic fibres (e.g. polypropylene), and his involvement with the university for the creation of the jute museum at Verdant Works.

1:00 Jute technology course at the Dundee Technical College
3:00 Describes courses he took (textiles, management)
4:00 Practical and theoretical work, jute as an important part of education in Dundee
5:00 His role in the Dundee Heritage Trust (which owns a lot of the College's training machinery now)
6:00 College Lecturers that he remembers and people he stayed in contact with
8:00 Connections from now with Abertay (scholarship)
10:00 His time in the jute industry (travelling opportunities)
11:00 Use of jute replaced by plastics
12:00 His company producing artificial grass, and a story about how it led to him sharing a sports field with Whitney Houston
14:00 Other career opportunities it has provided to him (member of an American textiles board, member of a council)
15:00 Social life, social areas at the College
18:00 Differences in the Campus and university back then and now

  • the use of jute
    20:00 Archway story
    21:00
    23:00 Producing polypropylene + how it took companies a while to get used to it, with
    24:00 The Tech's involvement in research was limited - jute companies were secretive about their processes and in competition with each other
    27:00 College machinery for the jute production and his involvement in setting up the Verdant Works jute museum
    29:00 The Jute industry’s legacy

Alastair Scott

Interview with Sumant Mathure

Sumant Mathure speaks about his time as a research student in Mechanical Engineering at Dundee College of Technology, his journey from India to Dundee in January 1987, the work he did on continuous casting with precious metals, and meeting Prince Philip during the College’s centenary celebrations in 1988.

[0.00] Interview Preliminaries
[03:22] Interview starts
[04:20] Name & connection to University - Jan 1987-May 1991 at DIT
[04:44] Research into continuous casting with gold, silver copper; Working with Birmingham Mint & Rautomead; Student project working on unique relationship with manufacture & institution
[06:00] Already had a Bsc in chemistry (?) from India; Dr Robert W Johnson was his supervisor
[07:00] Degree in metallurgy (mentioned in Herald newspaper)
[08:00] Dr R W Johnson presented a paper on continuous casting in Mumbai at the Hotel Taj. This attracted him to studying in Dundee.
[10:00] Lots of profound memories from his “golden years”. Born in 1966 and arrived in Dundee 5th Jan 1987, only 20 years old, no internet, only letters and telephone to communicate. His Dad was in Dubai when he and his mother received the letter of acceptance from R W Johnson to attend at DIT. Courses started on 7th Jan
[11:53] First time travelling alone internationally. Arrived to the worst winter in the UK
[12:45] Not happy with the snow, weather or food.
[13:53] Met friends, started to feel Scottish
[14:50] Food – first 3 months were in halls of residence. He had to prove he was able to do his studies and so was often working on projects into the later hours. Meaning he’d miss his high tea at the halls and would be given cold salad to eat!
[15:50] Difficult to understand the Scottish accent
[16:15] Student council international food fest. Sumant insisted on 4 tables to represent India
[18:50] Had international housemates, from China, Egypt and Zambia.
[19:20] Duke of Edinburgh visit in 1989 to look at the gold project
[22:00] Gold project. Only a few people were able to enter the mechanical engineering room where the gold project was taking place. Needed a pass to get in. Felt very proud that he was one of the students who had access
[23:30] Sumant ran the demo for Duke of Edinburgh. Metal heated to 1100 degrees C – needed to be very careful and was his responsibility to make sure the demo ran smoothly!
[24:20] Duke of Edinburgh comments on India and how pleased he was with the presence of international students
[25:10] Felt honored as a student to be there
[26:36] Becoming a university in 1992-1994. Had to scrap the mechanical engineering degree.
[28:50] He also did consultancies under R W Johnson and 2 scholarships
[29:20] Joined his father in India after graduating in 1991. 1994 – got married. 1995 – made director of his Dad's company.
[31:00] Over 400 clients, very popular and well-reputed company in India.
[31:40] Still maintained contact with R W Johnson and others.
[31:46] Interview Recording ends

Sumant Mathure