As part of their biennial reunion, a number of ex – students descended on Francis Close Hall campus archive collection with the purpose of reminiscing about their younger years and re – joining with old (but not forgotten) friends. During the time period when most of our visitors were students, the University of Gloucestershire was in fact not a university, but a teacher training college with separate campuses for men and women. In the early days, fraternising with the opposite sex was forbidden and with it came the threat of strict punishment!
During the students’ time at college, they worked together to create a yearly journal of events named ‘’Manuscript Chelts.’’ As part of my internship within the archives I have been working to index these manuscripts from 1910 onwards, and having just reached the 60’s manuscripts when the reunion took place, it was enjoyable for me to meet in real life some of the men and women whose photographs and articles I had seen in the journals. Some of the people I met during the reunion were extremely enthusiastic and characteristic of a different kind of upbringing than most of us have received today – in the internet age, it was very interesting to hear tales of how the old students found ways to entertain themselves with whatever was to hand.
One gentleman in particular had a great story which became even more amusing when he explained that he gone on to become a headmaster after graduating from St. Paul’s college. It was difficult to imagine such a commanding man partaking in any kind of misdemeanour! On a wintry weekend, the future headmaster decided – alongside some friends – that they would very much like to go snowboarding on Cleeve Hill. However, their plans were almost thwarted by a noticeable lack of snowboards; a problem they rectified by promptly stealing metal trays from the kitchens. After hours out in the cold they snuck the trays back to campus, however, they were clearly dented and damaged. As a punishment, they were subjected to ‘’gating,’’ a process which required them to be present on campus at all times for seven full days, and to prove that they had not left campus were made to visit the chapel hourly to sign their names in a log book, a measure I couldn’t imagine being applied to any current University of Gloucestershire students! The same gentleman later went on to look through the display boards and manuscripts put out especially for the occasion and was pleased to find photographs of his escapades within a manuscript, and called me over to look at them with him. (It seemed as if the punishment was worth it!)
By Rachel Clements,
Archives DegreePlus intern.