Image : Lancaster 50th Anniversary

Remember When

Here are some of the people and events that have made the University what it is today.

Send your memories and anecdotes (max 300 words plus a high resolution photograph) to alumni@lancaster.ac.uk.

We’ll include as many as we can.

Twins Hit the Headlines

Carol Williamson (English, 1970, County) still regularly visits campus for events and helps to represent the alumni department in a variety of ways. Here she explains how and why she became so fond of the institution.

In July 1969, the baby that I had been expecting turned out to be identical girl twins. There were no scans in those days, so it was a bit of a surprise! Being two thirds of the way through our degree courses, my husband and I were worried how we would be able to continue with our final year. However the Principal of County College, of which I had been a founder member, Amy Wootton, came to our rescue and offered us a brand new fully furnished rooftop flat at £4 a week, including heating and lighting. A positive luxury compared to the student flats on offer in those days!

This was our life saver as to have accommodation on site meant we could continue with our studies as normal and friends could easily pop in and babysit when our lectures or seminars clashed. The twin pushchair became a familiar sight around campus.

During the October of 1969 we made the headlines in all of the national newspapers when a local reporter Les Stringer took up our story. We received many letters from well wishers and even an anonymous gift of two beautiful baby vests.

At the end of the year, thanks to help from my parents, we were able to sit our finals and obtain our degrees.

In the summer of 1970, following graduation, the twins, Lucie and Emma, were baptised in the Chaplaincy Centre by the Rev. Paul Warren - the first such service to be held there.

Our family hit the headlines again in 1985 when Les wrote a follow up story. By then the girls were studying for their GCSEs. Since then Lucie qualified and has had a career in nursing and Emma has two daughters, Frankie, now aged 18 and Molly, aged 9.

I have retired from my job as a primary school headteacher and I am still very much involved with Lancaster University as a member of Court, sitting on various Alumni related committees and recently turning out as a reserve for Lancaster's Christmas University Challenge team !

I feel very honoured and happy to be playing  an active part in campus life. Maybe it is in some way a token of my appreciation of the way that the university assisted me and my family..... 45 years ago!

Photo shows Lucie on the left and Emma on the right!

 

 

Building the Chaplaincy Centre

Dedicated in 1969, the Chaplaincy Centre is one of the first University creations which reflects the commitment Lancaster has to diversity and multiculturalism. When designed and built in the 1960s, the Chaplaincy Centre was hailed as innovative not only in its design, but also in the multi-faith nature of the space.

The building consists of three circular lobes with a three-pronged spire, which forms the basis of the University’s modern logo, introduced in the Silver Jubilee year in 1989. Two of the lobes contain Christian chapels – one Roman Catholic, the other Anglican and Free Church – with the third lobe being split on two levels and containing a social space, a suite for Jewish worship and a Quiet Room, frequently used for worship by other faiths. Recently, the Centre has introduced a Natural Health office.

Almost as old as the University itself, the Chaplaincy Centre continues to be the core of many student societies including the Catholic Society, the Jewish Society, Bahá'í Society, Christian Fellowship, Chinese Christian Fellowship and the Islamic Society – though the Islamic Prayer room is located near InfoLab21. The building is not limited to religious societies however, it is also used by the science fiction society and the University’s gospel choir. Initially, three crosses adorned the spires of the centre, but students protested that the presence of the three crosses would prevent students of other faiths worshipping there, particularly because the highest cross was placed over the shared space. Consequently, the arms were sawn of the cross, leaving a simple spike which still adorns the building to the present day.

As an increasingly diverse university, praised on international league tables and boasting a population of 3,000 international students from over 100 different countries, the Chaplaincy Centre is a timeless creation of the University whose importance has been felt throughout the last fifty years.

The Queen Visits Lancaster University

The Queen made a short visit to the University on 17th October 1969 (photo courtesy of Brian Carter)

After a walk from University House into the Library and along the south side of Alexandra Square, she visited the County College and unveiled a commemorative plaque before looking in on the Great Hall, the Jack Hylton Music Rooms and, finally, the Chaplaincy Centre. All went smoothly, the royal visitor being unaware of the installation by Bill Corr of a toad as the Archduke of Lancaster on the opposite side of Alexandra Square, a brief incident that was naturally highlighted by the press and that entered the Bailrigg mythology.