"Ouh, la la, Lancaster"
On our way to Hawkshead, Cumbria we decided to break our journey in Lancaster. Arrival into the town is easy. Be warned: its a one way system and we were very grateful that we had Bessie (yes, we named our Sat Nav, sad!) with us. The streets are narrow with very old, tall buildings on either side. Attractive and a real feel good factor to our first visit.
After much trial and tribulation we booked online, prior to departure, into The Sun Inn. No car parking but they advised of a public car park near by that did an overnight deal.
Sad as this might sound, the car park was right up there with amazing things on this trip!
"Parking, Lancaster Style"
Bessie (our Sat Nav) advised us where to turn. We blindly followed even though it felt and looked like we were driving into a wall. Hidden, beautifully, was the entrance to the underground car park. We passed through two security gates and into the car park proper. After parking in a near by bay, we were pleased to see a lot of high end cars parked here and felt that nobody would be bothered nicking our little mo mo.
What we didn't realise was that this car park is one of the most secure we have ever parked in, anywhere. We needed to validate our ticket before we left the car park and on doing so, were mechanically told that we needed to
St Martins College, Lancaster
"S. Martin's College, Lancaster"
Poem by Ursula Fanthorpe
Dedicated to Robert Clayton (former Principal)
Sword into felt-tip. Mars into Martin
The Oxfam saint. It's true about plough-shares:
Almost anything warlike, kept long enough,
Rusts into use. Armoury was where library is,
Since books are dangerous as bayubets,
And keep their point longer. Where officers
And gentlemen once toasted The King the Duke,
Bragged about whores and horses, the soft
Uncritical hum of the photocopier, plans
For peaceful teaching practice manoeuvres
In Morecambe. Inside the compound the urgent
Dilatory promenade of study, irregular presence
Of willow and flowering crab, where other ranks
Stamped their exact angles, angled their eyes
As their sergeant told them. Gone, all gone.
Now on the barrack square the chapel's shaft,
Collecting eyes like an after-dinner hostess,
Suggests a move elsewhere; in the keep now
TV's inhuman eye invigilates. Only the dumb
Dangling ghost of the suicidal batman
Still persists, and the guard-room dogs,
Nab de Cordova and Bob, unfailing garrison,
In their regimental graves, in the old tradition.
Ywo chiselled Lancashire roses. No flag; not a drum.
I studied here (well that's what it says on my degree certificate!) for 3 years in the eighties, leaving in 1989.
I've put up some photo's here for past students and potential future students to view. If you are pondering on going to St Martin's, then I'd say "go for it!"
It's one of the best things I have ever done. Lancaster is a great friendly City, and St Martin's is a great College.
The College is founded on the site of a former army barracks, and many of those buildings are incorporated into academic use today.
There is also an imaginative collection of new buildings, which makes for an interesting and green campus of character (contrast with the University site which is concrete city).
This is the main administrative and academic staff block. It looked great when we visited in October as the creeper was turning from green to red.
Here are some of the accomodation blocks, which are named after local villages e.g. Melling, Hornby. Some students live in these new blocks and some in converted barrack blocks.
This is the Chapel, which is an interesting building. Services are held Thursday daytime and Sundays. Inside there are many works of art, including a Bratby painting of himself as Christ on the cross. Very thought provoking.
Throughout the campus there are various art work, such as this sculpture, which is one of the more recent additions. I attended the unvailing of this one by Robert Clayton, the recently retired Principal.
When I lived on campus for the first year, it was in this block which we all called the Willy Tom, but to give it it's full title, is the William Thompson Hall of Residence. This is the only high rise building on the site, and it is something of a local landmark.