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.

Bowland, Beer and Blockades

Bound for Freshers’ Week 1973, a coach departed London Victoria to deposit a raw 18 year old from Kent, Mark Lane (MA Marketing, 1979 & Economics & Sociology, 1977, Bowland) somewhere in the vicinity of Bowland Bar – a hostelry he subsequently vacated (most reluctantly) during the closing weeks of 1979 after completing a couple of degrees.

'Fortunately, soon after my arrival I discovered Lancaster’s rich array of ales: Yates & Jackson and Mitchells became staples with regular supplements from Boddingtons and Hartleys. These wonderful local brews eased me into a typical 70s student lifestyle with all that entailed – exotic hairdos, unbearably tight flared trousers, rust-bucket cars plus Hirondelle wine and occasional bottles of Blue Nun when we felt posh.

To eke out my meagre income, I landed a job at the concerts Barry Lucas organised in the Great Hall, managing the team of student “bouncers” who, to be honest, were more like Citizens Advice counsellors than hired muscle. Besides providing ample beer money, the concerts gave me the opportunity to see gratis the conveyor belt of 70s musical talent Barry contrived to hire – Queen, 10CC, Blondie, Kinks, Stranglers, Van Morrison, Ian Drury, Elvis Costello, Status Quo…….   

The 70s wasn’t short of hot potatoes – Vietnam, Cold War, Winter of Discontent, IMF bail-out, racism, sexism, etc and Bowland Bar was, then, the epicentre for campus student political life. Agenda setting issues were debated and robust direct action was plotted over pints of flat McEwans bitter. As a consequence, cashing a cheque in Barclays Bank could be tricky when it meant crossing an anti-apartheid picket-line and Spar supermarket would get blockaded whenever it showed contempt for human-rights by stocking General Pinochet’s Chilean oranges.  

After waving a tearful farewell to Bowland, a career in the nascent computer industry was my first step towards financial salvation and the reduction of my ballooning overdraft. Next, a life-changing move into computer software - a whole new industry that emerged in the late 80s. This gave me wonderful opportunities to work and travel extensively whilst mixing with some exceptional people and eventually clearing my debts.

Now, semi-retired for the umpteenth time, I am just a humble beekeeper and assistant to my partner with her successful B&B business in the heart of Kent (www.thurnhamkeep.co.uk) which offers highly attractive rates for any passing Lancaster alumni!'

 

Photo: In Bowland Bar sporting our exotic hairstyles: Me (centre) with Anthony “Mad Ant” Plowright (left) and Peter “Fat Jack” Elliott (right) when I was President of Bowland JCR in 1975.