Higher education postcard: summer holidays

This week's card from Hugh Jones’s postbag is sent to you from the mythical "quiet period in the summer"

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

Having a lovely time, wish you were here!

Once upon a time, or so the stories go, universities had a quiet period during the summer when stuff got done. I got told this story back in 1990, and even then it felt like a longing rather than a reality. And it certainly isn’t the case now: higher education is a 53 weeks a year business.

But it must have been true once! The planning for the 1960s universities in the UK included consideration of where students could live, and one advantage of seaside universities like Sussex was that students could fill up capacity in holiday B&Bs which was not needed for tourism during university terms. This is not, of course, how things turned out: and it’s the B&Bs that largely went the way of the flesh.

If your thoughts are turning to the seaside, you might find that there’s a university nearby. If we define seaside as a place with a beach or a pier, then I reckon you’ve got: Brighton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Falmouth, Swansea, Aberystwyth, Bangor, and the University of the Highlands and islands. And that’s not counting the university centres which have sprung up – Scarborough for one. I must also have missed some – please correct me in the comments! Surely the east coast has some university seaside towns?

Whatever your plans for the summer, I hope you have a good one. Postcards are taking a break for August – I’ll be back on 8 September. Thanks for reading, and for commenting, and I hope you enjoy reading and looking at them as much as I enjoy sharing them.

[Your editor notes – the Aberystwyth postcard does not appear to show all 443 (as per HESA Estates) buildings. If you know Aber at all I’d love to know more about these!]

6 responses to “Higher education postcard: summer holidays

  1. Woolly swimsuits required but: Aberdeen, which for a period had as many universities all to itself as there were across the whole of England (two!) and St Andrews spring immediately to mind! And Dundee, if we accept Broughty Ferry Beach as the seaside.

  2. If you count branches of universities, then Essex is at Southend and Coventry is at Scarborough (and Brighton is also still in Eastbourne for one more year).
    If only we had a proper list of university centres, but if you’re sticking with your seaside definition I reckon you’ve got University Centre Blackpool, Cornwall College University Centre (Newquay & Falmouth) and University Centre Weston plus University Centre South Essex is also in Southend.

  3. UCL has a field studies centre on a shingle spit in Norfolk but it would be a stretch to call it a campus. I think you can walk to Portstewart Beach from the University of Ulster campus at Coleraine. Aberdeen has a campus in Doha, the water might be warmer there.

    1. I recently visited the Blakeney Point UCL Campus Rex Knight mentions. Whilst stunning, there wasn’t much campus…

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