Higher Education Postcard: Edge Hill University

The latest card from Hugh Jones’ postbag shows a university which upped sticks and moved house - from Liverpool to Ormskirk

Hugh Jones is a freelance HE consultant. You’ll find a daily #HigherEducationPostcard if you follow him on Twitter.

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Good morning! Today’s postcard shows the Art Room at the Edge Hill Training College, which is now Edge Hill University.

Edge Hill College admitted its first students in 1885. Based in Edge Hill, Liverpool, it had been founded by seven of Liverpool’s great and good, including sugar magnate William Crosfield, cotton-man and Liberal MP Samuel Smith, and co-founder of a shipping line, Alexander Balfour.

The College provided training for women who wished to teach, and admittance was not based on any particular religious faith or Christian denomination, which was a first for England.

In 1925 Edge Hill Training College was placed under the control of Lancashire County Council. The Council provided land in Ormskirk, a small market town to the north of Liverpool, halfway to Preston. Grand new buildings were constructed and opened in 1933. The move from Liverpool was under way.

On November 28 1940 the College’s Edge Hill site was destroyed by bombing, a direct hit killing 166 people. The Ormskirk campus at this time was used as a military hospital, but post-war became once more the College.

The College admitted men in 1959, and in 1960 introduced thee-year teacher training courses. The newly-established Lancaster University validated these degrees.

Remember that at this point Edge Hill was under local authority control – as was the then Lancashire Polytechnic. In the late 1970s the Local Education Authority sought to merge the two institutions – for what undoubtedly seemed good reasons such as economy and

efficiency. But like nearly every institution, identity mattered, and the merger was fought. Successfully. Edge Hill continued to be Edge Hill.

The 1990s expansion of higher education and reform of teacher training enabled Edge Hill to continue to develop, and in 1996 it became Edge Hill University College. Ten years later it became Edge Hill University, with the power to award its own taught degrees, supplemented in 2008 by research degree awarding powers too.

The card clearly dates from before the move from Liverpool – probably early twentieth century.

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