75 down; 50 to go!

Today’s post on Lady Margaret Hall means I am three-fifths of the way through my project to blog 125 days of Edge Hill’s 125th anniversary and I’ve come to an earth-shattering conclusion.

This was a really, really stupid idea.

What on earth was I thinking?! I’ve got into a bit of a pattern where I go down to the archives every couple of weeks, scan in interesting documents and line up a few posts at a time. Some of the themes running through the posts have been useful – maps, postcards and other Edge Hills are the staple of my blog and handy if I’m not feeling very motivated but you, dear reader, deserve more.

So please help me! I’ve had a few offers for guest posts already and thank you to those people but if you’ve got ideas, let me know in the comments below or by email. I’m happy to do the legwork of scanning and writing up, but sourcing materials is getting increasingly difficult. So far I’ve posted things I think I’d be interested in seeing and it’s hard to know what’s working and what isn’t so again, leave a comment saying what you like and what you don’t like!

Computer Service 1985

Also from the 1985 annual report we get a glimpse into the growing use of IT in the College:

Academic Services

Computer Services has again continued to expand its provision for academic purposes throughout College. Almost all subjects now make some use of computers and in several cases the introduction of new materials and equipment has led to developments in the curriculum which would not have been possible otherwise. At the same time, computer services provide a computing and statistical service to staff and students to aid them in a range of types of research.

Teacher-education students continued to have free access to the range of equipment which they are likely to meet in Primary, Secondary and Special Schools. To meet the DES requirement for teacher-education students a set of nine machines has now been made available. In addition, BA and BSc students have access to machines and software which they are likely to meet in commerce and industry. Subject-based machines are used for the analysis of experimental work, to support student activities in schools research work and for record keeping. The involvement in word-processing continues to grow as staff and students recognise the ease of preparation and clarity of presentation available for the production of theses, dissertations and other papers. Computing in the undergraduate courses occurs in a major way in Computer Education and in Mathematics. In addition, many other subjects include an element of computing in their syllabuses.
Demand for in-service courses for teachers continues to run at a high level. With the introduction of new equipment and materials there seems little doubt that in-service courses will be fully subscribed for the foreseeable future. A programme of courses has again run both during term time and vacations covering the needs of teachers in Primary, Secondary and Special Schools.

Following the successful introduction of computerising student records at the admissions stage the way is now open for this data to be made instantly available to appropriate staff by the development of a network system. Already work has been eliminated in the examinations section by passing on this information in database form.

Administrative Services

The College is developing the use of micro-computers and word processing facilities to assist our administration in a number of areas. In the general administration of the College we will shortly introduce word-processing facilities in the Directorate and other administrative offices to assist in the production of minutes, reports, statistics and other administrative publica-tions. In all three Faculties micro-computers and word-processors are being introduced for statistical and record-keeping purposes. A micro-computer is used to provide statistics for the Catering Department and for Central Administration covering pricing policies, production of menus and stock control. We intend to commence work in the 1985-86 session on the provision of computing facilities and programmes to cover the work of the College Finance Department.

In the field of admissions all work from a student’s initial application to the production of student course lists is now computerised. Records produced in the Admissions Unit are used to provide the data for the production of individual student records which are housed in the College Records Office.

In relation to examinations, micro-computers linked to word-processors are used to prepare examination entry lists for Part I and Part II degree examinations. Examination papers for Part I are prepared on word-processors and these and computer equipment are extensively used for the production of mark sheets, mark lists and statistics used by the various Boards of Examiners and the College/University College Examinations Board.


In the coming academic year the staffing of Computing is to be considerably increased. A full-time Head of Computing will replace the half-time Head of Computer Services post, the Computing Assistant will be full-time instead of part-time and the addition of another supporting post is planned. This strengthening of resources will lay the foundations for a more comprehensive provision of services. It is confidently expected that our Computing Services will continue to expand to meet the multiplicity of needs generated by a College of our diversity.

The Centenary Celebrations

From Harry Webster’s 1984-1985 Annual Report we can find out about some of the things that happened during Edge Hill’s centenary year.

Since 1885 was the year of the College’s foundation, the most significant event of 1985 was the celebration of our centenary. Planning for the centenary celebrations began in March 1984 with a series of exploratory meetings involving College staff, members of the Guild of Former Students, and members of the Executive Committee of the Students Union, representative of the broad range of expertise required for such an important undertaking. Subsequent progress in designing a programme of events was based on three aims: to present a history of the College and a view of the College today representative of the breadth of its work; to offer a focal-point to the thousands of present and past students, staff and friends of the College to meet together to celebrate its centenary; and to enable people in the local and regional communities to share in these celebrations.

Presentation of the unique history of the College took two complementary forms. First, a comprehensive exhibition was assembled consisting of visual and written material based on the College archives and numerous items of memorabilia loaned by members of the Guild of Former Students. First exhibited in the College in January, it was designed to be easily transportable and was subsequently exhibited at a number of public locations in the North West. Second, this highly successful exhibition was paralleled by a much more detailed examination of the historical development of the College which was undertaken by Dr Fiona Montgomery, one of our History tutors, in producing her book ‘Edge Hill College : A History 1885-1985’. Published in June, this work concentrates on the transformation of the College from its inception as a small, women’s college with 41 students and the first non-denominational training college in England. It includes developments in teacher education over the last century and, besides interesting social historians, it will also contribute to women’s studies since it throws light on the development of attitudes towards women’s work and their roles within society.

Presentation of the vast range of work of the College as it is today was concentrated into a programme of some thirty events from January to July of 1985 including public lectures, conferences, seminars, concerts, dramatic productions, dance displays, poetry readings and a wide variety of exhibitions. Details of this programme, representative of the breadth of College activities was contained in a Centenary Year Diary of Events, 6,000 copies of which were distributed to Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges, Schools and Libraries throughout the country. A press and media conference was held to launch the total programme.

The first major event, the Centenary Lecture, was delivered by Professor A M Ross, Director of the School of Education of Lancaster University. In this lecture tribute was paid to the continued success of the College through a century of social and educational change and development. Professor Ross spoke in particular of the college’s close and fruitful association with the University of Lancaster during the last decade and recognised the dynamism which the College was showing for continued academic development in the future. Edge Hill College was already showing its potential for moving into new fields appropriate in a time of rapid change in Higher Education where fundamental principles would have to be re-interpreted as we move towards the twenty-first century.

This stimulating lecture, emphasising the present and future work of the College, did much to ensure the success of the lectures and conferences which followed in the programme and which were attended by a total of some three thousand people. In addition, the numerous exhibitions and arts events also attracted thousands of visitors to the College, helping to sustain public interest at a high level throughout the period and leading to the third and final phase of the celebrations, the College Centenary Open Day on the 29th June.

The Hale Hall provided an appropriate setting for the Service of Thanksgiving which began the Centenary Open Day Celebrations. Conducted by the Rev K Thornton, Vicar of Ormskirk, before a large congregation of members of the Guild of Former Students, past and present staff, students and College guests, the service was both moving and memorable. Hymns were led by the College choir, readings were given by staff and students, the College Prayer was delivered by a senior member of the Guild and the address was given by Dr B Greaves, Deputy Director of the College.

Following the service members of the Guild of Former Students escorted their guests, who included the present Director, Mr H Webster, and three previous Directors, Dr M I Bain (1947-64), Mr P K C Millins (1964-79), Miss M W Stantan (1979-82) to their Centenary Luncheon in the College Refectory. Meanwhile the facilities and campus were opened to the public.

It was evident from the constant stream of cars entering the campus from 10.30 a.m. onwards throughout the day that publicity in the form of press and media coverage, posters and pamphlets had been effective. The number of visitors was finally estimated to be in the region of eight thousand.

Besides the exhibition on the history of the College, 40 other exhibition areas, including displays of subjects, student community work and student societies, courses and admissions information and the use of facilities by outside organisations, were all designed to reflect the very active life of the College today. Existing and developing links with other major institutions of Higher Education in the county were stressed in exhibitions arranged by Lancashire Polytechnic and Lancaster University. A particularly lively exhibition by various local Adult Studies organisations which also have strong links with the College, aroused considerable interest, while the two Halls of Residence which were open to the public demonstrated the excellent residential facilities available for students.

This wide range of exhibitions was supported by an equally extensive programme of arts and sports events. Demonstrations and displays in the gymnasium and swimming baths were supple-mented by an outdoor programme of sporting activities and a Summer Fair organised by students. Performances of Indian Classical Dancing, Victorian Melodrama, Medieval Pageant Plays, Band Concerts, a Gymnastics Heritage Display and various craft activities in which visitors could participate, all proved popular attractions.

The College buildings, grounds and gardens were at their very best, providing a perfect setting for this memorable day when so many past and present staff, students and friends of the College met to celebrate not only its distinguished past but also its present position as one of the leading Colleges of Higher Education in the country.

The North West – Region of Contrasts

Last month I posted some text from the 1985 prospectus describing Ormskirk and the local area. Let’s see how things had changed by 1991:

Seaside towns, city lights or rural life – as an Edge Hill student, you’ll find them all close by. Ormskirk is well-placed for motorway and rail links so there’s plenty of chance to get away from it all whenever the mood takes you.

A short walk away from the College, Ormskirk has everything you’ll need on a day-to-day basis. It’s large enough to offer all the usual amenities yet still retains the friendly atmosphere characteristic of so many busy market towns.

Catch a bus from outside the campus and in half an hour you’re in Southport. Funfairs, nightclubs and restaurants all add to the town’s seaside flavour, and if you’ve an eye for a bargain, check out the indoor Markets and ‘junk’ shops too!

For a taste of city life, take a trip to Liverpool. Visit Anfield or Goodison Park; take a ferry ‘cross the Mersey, or explore the city’s two impressive cathethals. Manchester is well worth a visit too – especially if you enjoy the theatre, cinema and the Arts.

If you’re a country-lover, the Martin Mere Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is only three miles away, whilst the Trough of Bowland, Lakeland and Peak District National Parks are well within striking distance. Make the most of your time at Edge Hill – the best of the North West awaits you!

Always good to have a dig at Southport and its “junk” shops! The descriptions aren’t so far off what we say today, but what is it you like about the local area? Have your say in the comments!

Layer of Meaning

Just popped down to the Faculty of Health to see Derek and Zoe Boak’s art exhibition:

Loved-up artists Derek and Zoe Boak show the ‘Layer of Meaning’ to life and loss in a brand new exhibition showing at Edge Hill University as part of the Institution’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

It is the first time the married painting duo from Southport have exhibited their work together but thought it would be a fun project to join up on to help mark the University’s milestone anniversary.

It’s on show until 7th April so get down and take a look.

Earlier this month there was an exhibition by Tony Evans so I wonder what we have to look forward to for the rest of the year!

Wanted: memories!

The alumni team are keen to extract memories of Edge Hill from anyone who studied here and to persuade you to send them in have sent me some quotes from one of Edge Hill’s more well known graduates, Stuart Maconie.

If you have something to share, you can email Caroline Mitchell in the alumni office or leave a comment below and I’ll make sure to pass on the details.

I was asked “how does an English graduate end up being a DJ?” I do regard the DJ bit as being a bit of an aberration. I don’t know quite how I fell into it – and I don’t know when and how I will fall out of it – but the love of literature, and I say this not in a poncy way, though, inevitably, it will sound that way, was instilled in me by the people and things I did here. I chose Edge Hill because it had a great 20th century literature course and it was here I first got excited about Lawrence, Green, Hardy, TS Eliot and Auden. I recorded an edition of Celebrity Mastermind – I’m living the dream now – please watch it to see just what a good education Edge Hill can instil into people.

The quote is from the awarding of Stuart’s honorary degree which you can see here – skip forward to about 50 minutes:

There will be “an audience with” event next month – stay tuned for details of how to get tickets!

Ormskirk: The College Setting

First up, welcome to readers of the Ormskirk Advertiser – I hope you find something of interest! To make sure you don’t miss out on the latest 125 by 125 posts you can subscribe to our feed, or sign up to get the latest posts delivered directly to you by email – both are free!

Onto today’s interesting artefact and since there might possibly be some people from Ormskirk reading today, it seems only right that we focus on the town with this from the 1985 prospectus:

Never heard of Ormskirk before? Well, then, read on and see if you do not find it interesting.

Ormskirk is an attractive country town which has a beautiful old church with both a tower and a steeple, a statue of Benjamin Disraeli, a twice-weekly open market that has existed since medieval times, and Edge Hill College of Higher Education which is well known in educational circles throughout Britain. Throughout the English-speaking world too, as the number of overseas visitors to the College bears witness!

Ormskirk has produced a gardener who worked for Catherine the Great of Russia, a boy actor who could recite the complete plays of Shakespeare by heart and took 18th century London audiences by storm, a famous manager of London’s Drury Lane Theatre, as well as a host of scholars and teachers, trained and educated at Edge Hill, who hold leading positions throughout the country.

A word about Edge Hill itself. Students coming by rail to the College fr the first time have been puzzled as the train neared Liverpool to see a station with signboards labelled Edge Hill. That is the district in Liverpool where the College stood for the first fifty years of its existence. In the late twenties Lancashire County Council bought land on the outskirts of Ormskirk, gathered skilled craftsmen – bricklayers, carpenters, joiners and stone-carvers – from all over Northern England and built a college that was to be equal to anything in England. Of course, it has been extended and modernised in recent years. And such was the generosity that it still enjoys over 45 acres of tennis courts, playing fields and landscaped gardens.

Ask yourself how many Colleges of Higher Education enjoy such facilities. And, then, look at the map – eight miles to Southport where you enjoy miles of sand dunes and nature reserves and in Lord Street one of the most elegant shopping streets in Britain – and twelve miles to the great city of Liverpool. An there only thirty-five minutes away you have two Cathedrals and the Everyman and Penny Lane and Pierhead. And if you are in search of the exotic we can offer you at nine miles distance the celebrated Wigan Pier.

Back at Edge Hill you have plays and concerts, films and discos and excellent teaching and guidance. Why put up with second best for your higher education? Make Edge Hill your first choice!

And what photo should accompany this description? Why Hesketh Bank boatyard, of course!

Hesketh Bank Boatyard