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So here I am standing in Green Lane, back when it literally was a green lane. That’s probably a bit of Pendle behind me, but the geography won’t make sense to later generations. Grizedale has been a wandering college; starting in one small E-block in 76, before moving sideways into Pendle and bulldozed into a pile of rubble before re- emerging in its current spread out location.
I’m guessing this is the Winter of 78 or 79. Enjoying the great outdoors, because it’s warmer than it is inside. The University went through months of not being able to get hold of any heating fuel, so luke warm water appeared for an hour in the morning and evening. Sometimes. Non-essential spaces were left unheated. Lecture theatres were like gatherings of Inuit, but armed with ring binders instead of seal spears.
Total Grizedale population is around 300, 250 of whom can be found in the bar (which is considered an essential space) and benefits from occasional gurgles from the radiators; the remaining 50 are trying to catch a bus.
Weekly budget to keep body and soul together, £5. Star Wars has just been released. The Clash are playing the Great Hall. We live at the end of the world in glorious isolation. The local butcher gives us a discount, because he knows we’re all skint. Strangers stop to offer you a lift. You know nearly everybody in your year. On a clear night, we can pick up Kenny Everett on Radio Liverpool. Swimming in the Crook o’ Lune. Lectures are optional.
Where’s a time machine when you need one?
As a member of staff in the Department of Educational Research and School of Education I joined Grizedale in the early-1970s when it was still in its planning stages and before the foundations had - literally and metaphorically - been laid.
When we opened in the mid-1970s Grizedale was the smallest, and the last, of the indergraduate colleges to be built. It was definitely at the 'cheap and cheerful' end of the market: no en-suite in those days.
Things changed in the mid-1990s when we incorporated the then Pendle College buildings and overnight became the largest of the undergraduate colleges.
Although the last undergraduate college to be built we have the dubious distinction of being the first to be completely demolished and rebuilt, with the present buildings (definitely 'up market' this time) opening in the early 2010s and occupying roughly the same footprint as the previous site.
So Grizedale has come a long way over these 40+ years, and no doubt will be scaling even further heights in the years to come, not least as it builds on its current success in the sporting arena - but there again, that is only to be expected of the college which represented Lancaster University at the inter-universities football tournament held at Wembley Stadium in the late 1990s when we made it through to the finals.
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