75 years in Ormskirk


From the first issue of Campus Link, the news letter aimed at keeping local residents up to date with what’s going on at Edge Hill:

Edge Hill University is preparing to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of its Ormskirk campus next month.

The University, then a teacher training college for women, first came to Ormskirk on 2nd October 1933 after relocating its main campus from Durning Road in Liverpool.

The H-shaped main building, which is still the centrepiece of the campus today, was unveiled by Lord Irwin in a tree-planting ceremony, who then unlocked the door of the main entrance and declared the college open.

The building housed 176 students, 13 staff, a matron, a secretary and two cooks in four residential halls – Clough, Stanley, John Dalton and Lady Margaret – all named after members of the Derby family.

An article published in the Ormskirk Advertiser just prior to the opening of the campus says: "Ormskirk has now become an important centre for Higher Education. A stretch of the green fields between St Helens Road and Ruff Lane was chosen as the site of the college, and here during the last two years the buildings have been slowly rising until today they stand as one of the finest and most modern of their type."

The ladies attending the new 1930s college had very different experiences to Edge Hill students today. Their days started at 6:15am with ‘lights out’ by 10pm and any spare time was spent on morning prayers and cooking classes.

Edith Greenwood, 84, who studied in at the college during its first year in Ormskirk, says: "I must have been one of the first to use the new building in Ormskirk. It was a tremendously exciting time – everything was so new and modern. It was obviously built well if it’s still being used by students today.

"It was a big change for the girls who had come from Liverpool. They were used to all the noise of a busy city and then they found themselves in what felt like the countryside!"

The Princess

We’ve featured the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to campus and now it’s the turn of the sister-in-law. These photos were taken by the Ormskirk Advertiser – they had “PROOF” stamped on the back – so please don’t sue me for publishing them.

I’m sure everyone Princess Margaret met was carefully selected and I particularly like the clichéd bearded-scientist-with-bunsen-burner:


Got a story?

Next week I’m going to be away for a few days so why not help me out and become famous to possibly dozens* of readers?! Get in touch with your interesting artefacts or stories from the last 125 years of Edge Hill, by email to michael.nolan@edgehill.ac.uk or pop in to see me in the SIC!

* Exact number of readers may vary. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. Do not run with scissors. APR 5.4% typical. Not suitable for persons with a fear of a full moon.

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

The Duke

Duke of Edinburgh

Why bother finding my own interesting clips from the archives when you can get the Ormskirk Advertiser to do the hard work for you? This photo was featured in the LookBack column on Thursday 24th April 2003 and is captioned:

In this week’s dip into our pictorial archives we wonder if anyone remembers the time when Prince Philip was taken to the cleaners. Literally. As part of a visit to Edge Hill college the Duke of Edinburgh stopped to chat to the college cleaners as he made his royal progress through the grounds.

Cryptically there is no further information than this leaving us to wonder when it was from (1960s?) and what exactly he’d said to make the cleaners stare at him so intently.


Dredge was the name of Edge Hill’s rag magazine from – I believe – 1969. At least that’s the only date written in there and seems to fit in with the principal’s reign. Ken Millins introduces the mag with a poem:

I wish Dredge well,
Just Rag hilarity,
It deserves to sell,
In the cause of charity.

P. K. C. Millins,

Flicking through there are quite a few adverts for companies you might recognise. Ormskirk Motors is still going strong on County Road.  Taylor’s seems to have had it’s spot on Moor Street since The Dawn Of Time (although I’d be interested to know what Fancy Goods they sell!).  The Ormskirk Advertiser closed its office and moved production to Southport a couple of years ago while Woolworth’s old building is about to become an Iceland.  The award for most fitting advert (considering it’s in a rag mag) has to go to Hattersley Valve Company.

If you enjoy reading Dredge why not donate some money (at least 2/-) to Rag?