The colleges, and remain, a defining feature of the university.
The colleges, and remain, a defining feature of the university.
Lancaster University is based upon a collegiate system and is one of only six collegiate universities in the country. This system was favoured for a number of reasons. It was commented in the 1964 Lancaster Guardian special supplement on the University that large universities with big numbers of staff and students were more likely to break up their social life into smaller groups, which in the absence of colleges, would tend to centre around faculties or departments. In terms of socialisation, it was undesirable for off duty students to mix with those studying the same subject. Instead, the new University wanted to encourage interaction between students with varied interests. This was also encouraged by the creation of residences where both students and staff could live and work together.
The collegiate system has had a significant influence upon the University body. It has helped to forge a strong sense of identity amongst staff and students alike and continues to be one of the defining features of student life at Lancaster.
Visitors who cast their eyes beyond the skyline of the university will see a group of fells known as the Forest of Bowland (locally pronounced “Bollund”). This is a 300 square mile area of land lying to the South of Lancashire, described as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” Bowland was initially a hunting forest, but it is now largely used for recreation. The bar of Bowland College is aptly named “The Trough of Bowland”, this is another area renowned for its exceptional beauty.
Built in 1964, Bowland College was one of the first colleges to be built and witnessed a mass exodus of students into its residences from the old Waring and Gillow Factory.
Arguably one of the most visible colleges on the campus, Bowland is dominated by Bowland Tower, a vast tower- block that was originally built in order to cover the University’s heating system’s exhaust pipe.
Bowland adopted the Bowland Lady as their mascot. She represents a personification of Bowland Forest and originates from a map drawn by William Hole for the 1622 edition of a poem entitled “Poly-Olbion.” The poem itself was the work of Michael Drayton, a good friend of William Shakespeare. The map is safely housed in Bowland bar and the poem can be found in the library.
The area of Cartmel, after which the college is named, is one of the most beautiful in Lancashire. It is home to the famous Cartmel Priory that was built by Augustian Canons between 1188 and 1220. According to legend, the church was built between two parallel streams in response to a “heavenly voice.”
A great part of the priory’s structure was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry the VIII but a large part survived because the ruling King realised that the villagers of Cartmel had no-where else to worship. A number of books have been produced on the Cartmel Priory but a particularly excellent example is J.C Dickinson, The Priory of Cartmel.
Cartmel college residences were opened in 1968; much to the relief of its members of staff who were called out to haul bedsteads and mattresses upstairs before the first students arrived. Cartmel was designed by the Manchester-based architect, Mr Haydyn Smith. Smith designed the college in such a way as to expose it to as much natural light as possible. The college is also dominated by a number of large, multi-purpose grassed areas that are very popular during the warmer months. Extra residences were built in 1969 to cope with the expanding student population.
County college was the only college to be named after its benefactors rather than by a location in the area. The County council donated a generous sum of money towards its construction and promised to donate 50,000 a year for 10 years towards the university’s running costs. A commemorative plaque situated outside the college office remembers their generous contribution
It was decided that County college should be based upon the old Oxonian idea of building colleges around a quadrangle because it adds to the collegiate nature of the university and expresses the idea of an individual community.
The only way that a square could be incorporated into County was around an old oak tree that had been spared as a sapling by an agricultural labourer over 200 years ago. The tree rises majestically above the college and provides a great deal of shade during the hotter months.
The motto of the college is “Sine Consilio Nihil” which translates into “means without nothing.” Consilio" is Latin for “council” and refers to the fact that Lancashire County Council proposed and funded the building of the college. “Consilio” also means “planning” and “design” and seeks to show that things are of little use without planning.
Furness lies to the north of Morecambe Bay and stretches from the dockyards of Barrow-In-Furness to the mountains above Coniston in the Lake District. Furness became part of the borough when it came into the possession of Honour of Lancaster in the 12th century. The economy of Barrow in Furness prospered under the influence of the Cistercian Monks of Furness Abbey and later with the mining of iron, steel and shipbuilding. Furness Abbey remains to this day and is the 2nd largest Cistercian abbey in the country. Barrow became an important shipbuilding port, though today the area’s industry is in decline.
Furness College was the fifth of the university colleges to open. Planning of the college started in 1966 when a 12 person planning committee chaired by Professor Reynolds (founding principal of Furness) set up to design the buildings and faculties of the college. The Committee worked for two years and the college was officially opened in 1968.
The logo on the College notepaper displays a transect from the industrial fringes of Barrow inland towards the Lake District. Furness residence blocks are named after various towns and villages within this area.
Fylde is a rich green plain that runs from the coast across the unspoilt countryside towards the foothills of the Pennines. The area includes Preston, Blackpool, Lytham St Anne’s, Fleetwood, Thornton Cleveleys, Poulton-le-Fylde, Garstang and Over Wyre. Fylde is also a region of Lancashire bordered on the North by the River Wyre and on the south by the River Ribble.
In 1968, a group of young lecturers formed “College 6”, which they envisaged as a commune style building where students could exercise their own influence on the direction of the college. Although the original plan for a commune never took off, Fylde continues to demonstrate a great sense of community spirit.
The money for the construction of the early accommodation blocks was provided by Furness college, (who were £125,000 under budget after the erection of their own residential blocks). The college buildings were built quickly in the space of just 12 months. In accordance with the left wing ethos of those early lecturers, the college advertised for second and third year students who came largely from the ultra left-wing of the university. Fylde college soon became a hotbed for political discussion and student democracy. The blocks of the college were initially to be named after areas of Lancashire but the students rejected this, preferring names such as Lenin and Guevara. Since an agreement couldn’t be reached, the blocks were given numbers instead.
Fylde subsequently grew in later years, acquiring four blocks in 1970, a college building in 1971 and more residence blocks in the early 80’s and 90’s.
Fylde’s influence also stretched beyond its college. It set an early precedent by being the first college to appoint a student counsellor, Mrs Greta James, in 1971. Mrs James later went on to found the University counselling services. Students and staff from Fylde were also instrumental in helping to form the Pre-School centre.
The motto adopted by Fylde is “In arvo quaerere verum” which means “seek truth in the field.” This refers to the university motto “truth lies open to all” but also makes reference to the world outside the University.
Grizedale College is named after Grizedale forest that lies on the edge of the Lake District and is bordered by Coniston to the West and Windermere to the East. Grizedale means “valley of the wild boar” and this ties in with the fact that the forest used to be inhabited by wild boars. (picture) The forest itself is a major visitor attraction; there are 50 miles of tracks for cyclists and walkers and 6,000 acres of terrain that are home to deer, squirrels and woodland birds (but no boars!) The area has become a recreation centre for walking and hiking but this isn’t Grizedale’s only attraction. The forest also creates a stunning backdrop for over 80 outdoor sculptures created by local artists, and randomly placed around the forest.
Grizedale is the largest college on campus and was created in 1974. In fact, it recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. It was one of the last colleges to be built and although there were no doors on the showers or toilets when the college opened, its members learnt to love it! Initially, Grizedale incorporated a number of buildings that would later become Pendle college and the two colleges were jointly managed until they split.
In recent years the Grizedale boar was inaugurated as the college mascot. In the 1970’s, Depravo the rat, a character invented by the renowned actor Michael Palin, represented the college. An early member of the college staff was friendly with Mr Palin and obtained the rights to the character. However, it was only later in the 1980’s that a number of parents questioned the relevance of Depravo and the Grizedale boar was created.
Lonsdale takes its name from the Lune Valley (’Lune’s Dale’), which lies to the north-east of Lancaster. The Romans, Saxons, Normans and Danes all made an impression in the area. Apart from Lancaster itself, the main market town of the area is the ancient settlement of Kirkby Lonsdale (Norse: ‘Kirke-bu’ = ‘church farm’, ‘dal’ = ‘valley’; hence ‘Church farm in the Lune Valley’). The name ‘Kirkby Lonsdale’ was included in the Doomsday Book of 1086. The most notable feature of the town is the Church of St Mary’s, built in Norman times between 1093 and 1130.
Although Lonsdale College was built a full year after Bowland, the two colleges were designed in tandem. Lonsdale is, in fact, a mirror image of Bowland. In 1967, it was commented by the student paper Caryolnne that the “Staircases are narrow and the hooters attached to the water heaters sound like Dylan’s harmonica (!)”
Pendle College lies to the East of the region and was named after Pendle Hill. Pendle Hill, a feature that dominates the landscape, guards the roads from Lancashire to Yorkshire. Pendle Hill constitutes the remains of a vast plateau (the delta of an ancient river) of sedimentary rocks that lie over an ancient limestone bed. There is evidence of Stone Age and Bronze Age activities in the area but the Celts are responsible for re-naming the hill Pendull.
The term ‘Pendle’ is associated with a great deal of fantasy and legend. Although named after the magnificent Pendle Hill, the area is perhaps better- known for its association with the infamous Pendle Witches a subject which continues to excite people even today.
Pendle College is the newest of all the colleges at Bailrigg and was initially part of Grizedale College until the two were separated in 1992. Designed in part by Marcus Merriman, the old college used to house the visual arts department and the Peter Scott Gallery, hence when you gaze up towards what is now the side of the Management school, you will see large North facing windows that were built to allow light into the gallery. Within the Peter Scott Gallery itself (which is now within the Great Hall) there was a curious-looking lift shaft that was often confused for contemporary, installation art but this was in fact a remnant from the early days of the college. Ex-students of Pendle might remember the old bar, The Pendle Witch and a sandwich shop run by a lady called May who “called everybody love” according to Tony McEnery from the Linguistics Department.
The Latin motto “Altiora sequamor” means “Seek to climb to the top.”