University of Central Lancashire

Hugh Jones' Higher Education Postcard comes to us from the North West this week

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

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Lancashire Polytechnic became the University of Central Lancashire in 1992, but can trace its origins back to 1828.

That was the foundation of the Institution For The Diffusion Of Knowledge in Preston – arising from the temperance movement, and dedicated to providing education for the masses.

Between 600-800 members initially enrolled, many of whom were “operatives”, and there was a rapidly expanding library and museum. But, to quote Charles Hardwick’s History of Preston and its Environs, published in 1857:

The institution was, however, too far advanced in its character to meet the then state of the education of the masses, and, like many other Mechanics’ Institutes, soon ceased to be much patronised by that class.”

By 1857 the numbers enrolled were:

  • Out of business, professional, and tradesmen 240
  • Operatives 264
  • Females and minors 67
  • Total 571

It became the Harris Institute in 1882, following a substantial bequest – then Harris College in 1956, Preston Polytechnic in 1973 and Lancashire Polytechnic in 1984.

(That also gives us a range of dates for the card. The card was published by Lancashire Polytechnic, and my guess is that it was part of their rebranding work in 1984.)

The university’s motto – Ex solo ad solem, or From the Earth to the Sun, is reflected in its astronomy programmes, of which the author is a proud, certificate-bearing, alumnus.

One response to “University of Central Lancashire

  1. That looks perfect for 1984 when I began my four year engineering degree there as a mature student (I was 27 and in the Merchant Navy). Lovely memories – seems like yesterday. Red Rose Radio was popular and Alan Beswick was doing his ‘argue with Alan’ show. Loved my time thee in Preston -a fine town with lots of real ale available. Sadly, the ‘Lamb and Packet’ is no longer there for extended beery student lunches! I always remember Preston and Lancs poly with very great fondness.

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