The Circle is a small car park in front of the main University reception – the current picture shows a worms-eye view of it. My office is behind one of the windows overlooking it. When I came for interview I was invited to ‘park on the Circle’ and sent a map with a key listing many things, not including the Circle ironically, though as it was the roundest thing on the map I did end up in the right place.Â Before arrriving I studied the map with interest – after all, this was the miniature academic city I was hoping to inhabit. One or two things fascinated me – who was ‘John Dalton’ and why did his office take up a quarter of the main bulding? What was the Boiler Room – an industrial-themed nightclub for students?
Arriving early I explored the campus. After a while this became a kind of torture – the mixture of collegiate buildings, trees, quadrangles and modern facilities made me really want to work here – and I still had to pass the interview.Â Even seeing that the Boiler Room was in fact a room with boilers in it did little to shatter my illusions.
(Grinders wasn’t there in those days – if it had been I would have expected a rather louche nightclub for those who had tired of the Boiler Room – or a machine shop. A coffee bar would have been my third guess, though now we seem to have caffeinated beverages available in every enclosed space the odds are that any new development will involve a coffee bar.)