Leicester University revisited

July 9, 2011 at 10:19 pm 13 comments

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Three very happy years were spent at Leicester University from 1979-1982. Doing what? Riding the paternoster in the Attenborough Tower, chasing law students (they had the best prospects I thought), making lifelong friends, drinking pints of Guinness (occaisonally with cider or blackcurrant as was the fashion) in The Cradock or Redfern, eating chips with curry sauce (without a chip fork) from Luigi’s on Queen’s Road, cycling across Victoria Park…oh and attending a few lectures on History of Art, English and American Studies. Lindisfarne at Fresher’s Ball, The Pretenders in the Percy Gee, Dean Friedman (who?!), Genesis small halls ‘Duke’ tour at de Montfort hall (had to sleep on the pavement to get tickets for that one).

Today I revisted my Alma Mater 29 years on….with a very special girlfriend who settled in the area and whom I have not seen for 15 years. She broke it to me gently. Elms Road Houses (the student blocks of 10 single sex, single room self catering accomodation on Elms Road) have been demolished. The driveway and boundary walls are still there, but now, executive homes where the launderette and self catering blocks imaginatively labelled A through to V once nestled. Number 9 Elms Road, home to many of my friends from Clare Hall (the boys house) has reverted to a posh detached house with fancy iron gates and a jaguar on the drive. The triple bedroom my friends once shared is still evident by its bay window at the front. Clare Hall has gone….the local halls of residence bar where drinks were 15p a half pint just a short stagger up the road and it was a privilige to be a bar steward (!)…and College Hall just about still standing but empty. The big houses that were the girls accomodation at Clare Hall are no longer university accomodation. Queens Road is now a trendy and busy high street with coffee shops and boutiques…Luigi’s fish and chip shop on Avenue Road Extension corner is now called Cyprus Fish Bar….Victoria Park has not changed….still beautiful tree lined avenues and there at last…the silhouette of the (ugly) university buildings at last I recognised…..The Attenborough Tower amazingly still standing (Arts Tower)…History of Art Dept was on the 17th floor and I remember being rescued by a fireman once during a fire. The Charles Wilson has had a clean up and extension, and the Percy Gee union building is unrecognisable as the flea pit it once was! Bit disappointed not to see Henry Moore’s kidneys outside the Fielding Johnson building….instead there is a splayed kidney sculpture circa 1990…perhaps the originals struck by lightning?

On then to The Cradock Arms….changed beyond belief. I remember as a student being told to leave one evening as time was called early (the landlord had died earlier in the day and the staff were overcome). Had to have a half of Everards Original (bit early in the day for a pint!)…the tap room and bar are unrecognisable but there were a few photos of ‘Bygone Leicester’ on the walls to evoke a bit more nostalgia. A wonderful afternoon…tinged with a rose tinted glow. Happy days indeed.


Entry filed under: travel, Uncategorized.

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. nigel sedgwick  |  September 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    The photos are great! Got any more?

    Nigel Sedgwick Leicester Uni 1973 to 1976 (College Hall)


    • 2. Annie Vergnon Beleyme  |  January 9, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      I was à French lectrice in 1971-72 .l lived in Clare hall where I had quite a few friends ,my office was on the 22th(?) floor at university and loved using the pater noster when we had electricity
      Our warden in Clare Hall was miss Grierson ,a fantastic woman
      I wonder if anybody remembers those specific 2 years


  • 3. Alun  |  October 6, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Thank you very much for this, brought back some happy memories!

    Alun – Leicester Uni 1975 to 78 (Beaumont Hall, Mary Gee)


    • 4. debievans  |  October 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      It’s well worth a revisit!


  • 5. Jim McLoughlin  |  November 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Nice little reminder of a long time ago…Elms Rd houses were home for 3 years, and Clare Hall bar was a place I spent way too much time in, Jim (1975 – 1978) & Anne (1974 to 1977). Thank you!


  • 6. barry wynne  |  September 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I took my daughter to Leicester for the Physics open day last saturday. we went on the open day bus to see the halls at Oadby. At the end of the day, i drove to Knighton to show her where i stayed in Clare hall for 3 years. ( 1978 – 1981 ). The house that i stayed in that was attached to the hall was 52 Knighton drive. It has now been converted into flats. It was sad to see that Clare Hall had been demolished and replaced by expensive looking appartments. Clare Hall was so handy to get to the university by foot or bike. Ah well progress i guess !


  • 7. Mr Grimsdale  |  November 19, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Good read. I am an Elms Road old boy (1987/88) and was sorry to hear it had been all but demolished. Paid a visit to Leicester myself at the weekend and had a look round the campus and visited some old haunts. I used to drink in The Clarendon (Clarendon Park Road, off Queens Street) and was delighted to see that, unlike The Cradock, it’s hardly changed a bit. Happy days.


  • 8. Glenn Cleary  |  May 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm


    So nice to take a walk down Memory Lane. We read the same subjects but did’t quite overlap. I finished just before you started.

    I did not have the shock softened. I revisited Elms Road and found the student houses had been replaced by “luxury Executive designer homes” as the legend on the sign described them.

    I took photographs and sent to everyone I knew. Howls of outrage greeted the news.

    I do like the new library extension.


    • 9. debievans  |  May 8, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Nice to hear from you Glenn… I suppose I always expect things to remain as I remember them. Even the cul de sac I grew up in which seemed vast for races, now looks like a dolls race track!

      Leicester still has my hero Richard lll in a drawer… I wish they’d return him to York!


  • 10. Abigail Shepherd  |  August 20, 2014 at 1:37 am

    My son is about to start at Leicester to do Aerospace engineering. I was there doing Social Science Geography from 1983-86. Started in Digby Hall and then 2 years in Elms Road. Took my son to see them when at the open day last year, and sad to find no longer there. College hall has turned into posh conference centre run by uni subsidiary according to their website. Pity there is only Mary Gee left in that area, as it was really convenient for the campus. My son is about to start at Mary Gee – funny comments on the Student Room who seem to think it is a bit basic – other than shared rooms it is the cheapest uni housing there is!! wonder how we survived!


    • 11. debievans  |  August 20, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Hi Abigail, I loved revisiting Leicester a couple of years ago but boy did I find it sad that familiar things have gone! Funny how students today turn their noses up at the little boxes we happily occupied! Hope he thrives…long live Mary Gee!


  • 12. Val Clements  |  March 24, 2015 at 5:14 am

    I was at Leicester from 1968/72, living happily in Elms Rd. Such very happy memories prompted by your blog, and real sadness too. (I’d forgotten the paternoster!)
    I might have to take a walk around for old times’ sake when I come to see Richard III.


  • 13. Jeff Gogarty  |  June 13, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Sad to hear the old places have gone. 77-80 were my years. Came upon this while looking up I saw the pretenders.

    Liked by 1 person


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