A series of α-methylene-N-alkyl-2-pyrrolidone monomers with varying length of the alkyl chain from C1 to C8 were synthesised. The monomers were subjected to free radical polymerisation to yield a range of polymers each with a different balance in hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties originating from the pyrrolidone moiety and the N-alkyl chain. The equilibrium water content of polymers crosslinked with ethylene dimethacrylate were found to decrease with increasing alkyl chain length. The glass transition temperatures of the polymers are reported ranging from 98 °C to -5 °C on going from the methyl to the octyl derivative. The thermal degradation of the polymers was studied using thermogravimetric analysis and pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. The polymers were found to degrade at ca. 400 °C predominantly via an unzipping mechanism. Pyrolysis at 450 °C results in five products.