Lancaster University

Lancaster University

Infobox University
name = Lancaster University

motto = Patet omnibus veritas ("Truth lies open to all")
established = 1964
type = Public
city = Lancaster
country = England, UK
campus =
staff = 2,250
head_label = Visitor
head = Her Majesty The Queen
chancellor = Sir Chris Bonington
vice_chancellor = Prof. Paul Wellings
students = 17,410cite web|url=|title= Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07|accessdate= 2008-04-10|format= Microsoft Excel spreadsheet|publisher= Higher Education Statistics Agency]
undergrad = 13,855
postgrad = 3,555
colours = "Quaker Grey" and red

affiliations = 1994 Group N8 Group ACU AMBA NWUA EQUIS Universities UK
website =

Lancaster University (officially "The University of Lancaster") [cite web| url =| title = Charter, Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Lancaster| accessdate = 2007-12-27| format = Microsoft Word document] is a British university in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. The University has an annual income of £149 million, cite web | url=| title= University of Lancaster Annual Report| author=Anon| publisher=University of Lancaster | accessdate=2008-02-27] 2,250 staff and 17,415 students. In the last Research Assessment Exercise Lancaster was named the 7th best research institution in the United Kingdom [] . Along with the universities of Durham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, Lancaster forms the N8 Group of research universities. Lancaster was ranked 10th of 113 British universities in the 2008 "Good University Guide". [cite web|url=|title= League table of UK universities - The Complete University Guide|accessdate= 2008-06-14|year= 2008|work= The Complete University Guide]

Lancaster is a collegiate university, with its main functions divided between three central faculties and nine colleges. In general, the faculties perform research and provide centralised lectures to students, while the colleges are responsible for the domestic arrangements and welfare of undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and some University staff.



Following the Second World War the future of higher education became an important concern of the government as it tried to cope with the demands of an expanding population and the advent of a new technological age. Between 1958 and 1961, this balance was readdressed as 7 new plate glass universities were announced; one of these was the University of Lancaster.


The University was established by Royal Charter in 1964. The Charter stipulated that
HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent be the first Chancellor. She was inaugurated in 1964. The ceremony also saw the granting of various honorary degrees to dignitaries including Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Princess Alexandra served the University as Chancellor until retiring in 2004: she was the longest serving Chancellor of any British university.

The University accepted its first students in October 1964 and there were initially 13 professors, 32 additional members of teaching and research staff, 8 library staff and 14 administrators on academic grades. The motto, "patet omnibus veritas", which means "truth lies open to all", was adopted by the new university. The first Science students were admitted in 1965.

The University was temporarily based in the city after its establishment. A lecture theatre and the University's first JCR were based in Centenary Church, a former congregational church, opposite the old factory premises of Waring & Gillow, which were used to accommodate the new students. Many new students were housed in Morecambe. The Grand Theatre was leased as a main lecture room and 112 and 114 within the St Leonard's area became teaching and recreational rooms. The library occupied the old workshops of Shrigley and Hunt on Castle Hill.

List of Chancellors

* HRH Princess Alexandra LG GCVO (1964–2004)
* Sir Chris Bonington CBE (since 2005)

List of Vice-Chancellors

*Professor Sir Charles Carter (1964–1980)
*Professor Philip Reynolds CBE (1980–1985)
*Professor Harry Hanham (1985–1995)
*Professor William Ritchie OBE (1995–2002)
*Professor Paul Wellings (since 2002)


All members of the University are members of a college.cite web | url=| title= University of Lancaster - Colleges| author=Anon| publisher=University of Lancaster | accessdate=2008-02-27] Most colleges have about eight or nine hundred members and all on-campus accommodation is linked to a college. The colleges are governed by a "syndicate". The syndicate structures vary, but all include a Principal, a Dean and assistant deans.

The University has eight undergraduate colleges, which are all named after regions of the traditional county of Lancashire. The University also has one post-graduate college: established in 1992 it is simply named Graduate College. The original colleges are Bowland and Lonsdale.

*Bowland (established 1964), named after the Forest of Bowland
*Cartmel (established 1969), named after the Cartmel peninsular
*The County (established 1969), named after Lancashire County Council
*Furness (established 1966), named after the Furness region
*Fylde (established 1968), named after the Fylde peninsula
*Grizedale (established 1975), named after Grizedale Forest
*Lonsdale (established 1964), named after the Lune Valley (Lonsdale)
*Pendle (established 1974), named after the Pendle area of Lancashire

The college buildings accommodate a number of academic departments, but are primarily social and accommodation facilities, each with its own bar and Junior Common Room. A selling-point of the University is that the colleges are more than mere halls of residence, offering a sense of community. Lancaster's organisation differs from that of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham: while Lancaster's students are allocated a college after stating a preference, the latter three universities employ an application system by which a prospective undergraduate must apply directly to a specific college.

Chancellors Wharf

Chancellors Wharf is the name of the University's off-campus accommodation for students. It consists of three buildings by the canal on Aldcliffe Road. The location is near "The Water Witch" pub, central bus routes, Lancaster Royal infirmary and the city centre. It is open to members of all of the University's colleges. Residents remain members of their various colleges, with Chancellors Wharf itself being only a hall of residence.


The University is divided into three faculties:

*The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences consisting of the school of Law and the departments of Applied Social Science; Educational research; English and Creative Writing; European Languages and Cultures; History; Linguistics and English Language; Philosophy; Politics and International Relations; Religious Studies and Sociology, the Institutes for Cultural Research; for Health Research; for the Contemporary Arts (Art, Design, Music & Theatre Studies) and the Ruskin centre.
*The Faculty of Science and Technology consisting of the departments of Biological Sciences; Communications Systems; Computing; Engineering; Environmental Sciences; Geography; Mathematics and Statistics; Natural Sciences; Physics and Psychology, and the centre for Medical Education.
*The Faculty of Management is a single school faculty (Lancaster University Management School) consisting of the departments of Accounting and Finance; Economics; Management Learning and Leadership; Management Science; Marketing and Organisation, Work and Technology; the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development and the centres for e-Science; for Excellence in Leadership (CEL); for the Study of Technology & Organisation (CSTO); International Centre for Research in Accounting (ICRA); Lancaster Centre for Forecasting (LCF); Lancaster Centre for Strategic Management; Lancaster China Management Centre (LCMC); Lancaster Leadership Centre (LLC), Health Leadership Centre (HLC) and Centre for Performance-Led HR (CPHR).



The purpose-built campus occupies Bailrigg, a convert|200|acre|sqmi km2|3|adj=on|lk=on|abbr=on site donated by Lancaster City Council in 115, Building the New Universities, Tony Birks 1972] The campus buildings are located on a hilltop, the lower slopes of which are landscaped parkland which includes the "Carter Lake" duckpond and the university playing fields. The site is located three miles (5 km) south of the city centre. The campus buildings are arranged around a central walkway known as "The Spine". [cite web|url=|title= The Spine|accessdate= 2008-06-14|coauthors= Emma Vickers and Emma Edwards|year= 2002|month= May|work= History of Lancaster University|publisher= Lancaster University] The walkway runs from north to south and is covered for most of its length. The main architect was Gabriel Epstein of Shepeard and Epstein. In contrast to some of the other campus universities, Bailrigg was designed to integrate social, residential and teaching areas. Another major feature of the design was that there would not be a large central Students' Union building, but that the individual colleges would be the centre of social and recreational facilities. [page 120, Building the New Universities, Tony Birks 1972] Vehicular and pedestrian traffic is separated: this is achieved by restricting motor vehicles to a peripheral road with a linking underpass running east-west beneath Alexandra Square. The underpass accommodates the Bailrigg bus station. Car parking is arranged in cul-de-sacs running off the peripheral road.

Construction of the Bailrigg campus began in November 1965, with the first building being completed a year later. The first on-campus student residences opened in 1968. Alexandra Square is the University's main plaza. Named after the first chancellor, HRH Princess Alexandra, it is situated at the centre of the original campus and contains the library in the southwest corner, designed in 1964 by Tom Mellor and Partners, the first phase opening in September 1966, the second in July 1968 and the third in January 1971. [The Library Building: University of Lancaster 1972] The library was extended in 1997 and in 1998 the Ruskin Library designed by Sir Richard MacCormac was opened. On the west side of the square is University House as well as various banks and shops. To the southeast of the square is the tallest building on campus: the fourteen storey Bowland Tower, which contains accommodation and disguises the boiler room chimney. One of the most distinctive of the Bailrigg buildings is the free-standing University Chaplaincy Centre. Opened on 2 May 1969, the architects were the Preston-based firm Cassidy & Ashton. The building has a trefoil plan with a central spire where the three circles meet. The University's logo is based on the spire. A plan existed to have a twin campus with another eight colleges to the east of the M6 motorway at Hazelrigg. this would have been linked to Bailrigg by a flyover. The plan was abandoned during the 1970s and the land sold during a period of financial difficulties.

Major projects

New accommodation blocks for Furness and Fylde colleges, on the east side of campus, were completed in September 2006, while the near complete rebuilding of Grizedale College and construction of further accommodation for The County College at the northern edge of campus was completed in Summer 2008. Phase 5 of the residence plan began with the refurbishment of the County Main building in early 2008. The aim of Phase 5 is to regenerate older accommodation in the University and will continue into 2009 with the refurbishment of much of Bowland College. The Lancaster University Masterplan 2007–2017 envisions improved access across the University with enhanced greenery and the construction of 27 new buildings, which will be largely for academic use. It will cost an estimated £450 million and construction has already started on the Information System Services building. In the academic year 2008–2009 work will begin on a new Management School building, new social space for Grizedale College and a £21 million sports centre.

outhwest Campus

The University began expansion onto the lower slopes of Bailrigg with the development of new buildings for Graduate College in 1998. The is now part of "Southwest Campus". Development continued with the construction of "InfoLab 21" and "Alexandra Park" which now houses Lonsdale College, Cartmel College and the en-suite rooms of Pendle College.

The decision to expand onto what is now known as Southwest Campus was met with some protest for various reasons. Some of the complaints against the expansion were that it would drive up accommodation prices, both on and off campus.Fact|date=June 2008 The site was a greenfield site, with residents of nearby Galgate being worried about "the impact of the new buildings",Fact|date=June 2008 flooding of the local area due to increased run-off from the site and increased traffic flow on the A6 and other local roads. The development of InfoLab 21 also met objections with the proposed building being described as a "Dalek factory". [cite web|url=
title= Greenfield Development Planned From Lancaster to the University|accessdate= 2008-06-14|last= Booth|first= Steve|date= 2002-09-27|publisher= Virtual Lancaster
] Another concern related to the limited amount of new social space.Fact|date=June 2008 The older accommodation sometimes consisted of approximately 15 students sharing communal bathrooms and kitchens. The communal kitchens were often a source of social interaction, while the new en-suite areas have fewer students per kitchen, and private bathrooms.


The Bailrigg campus hosts a range of shops and services. Services on campus include Bailrigg post office, Barclays Bank, NatWest Bank, UNI TRAVEL a travel agent which sells rail and bus tickets , a health centre, a pharmacy, a dental practice, and an optician. Shops on campus include a SPAR supermarket, LUSU Shop, LUSU Central, a charity shop, the proceeds of which go to Cancer Care and St. Johns Hospice, Waterstone's bookshop, a newsagent, a florist and Endsleigh insurance.

Cultural venues

The Peter Scott Gallery is open to the public free of charge. The Gallery is located on the Bailrigg campus and houses the University's international art collection, which includes Japanese and Chinese art, antiquities, works by twentieth century British artists including works by artists from the St Ives School, Sir Terry Frost, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Barbara Hepworth and William Scott. Among other British artists whose work is represented are Norman Adams, Patrick Caulfield, Elizabeth Frink, Kenneth Martin and Winifred Nicholson. Within the last fifteen years works by Andy Goldsworthy, Peter Howson and Albert Irvin have been acquired. The university collection also includes prints by significant European artists such as Dürer, Miró, Ernst and Vasarely.

The Nuffield Theatre is a black-box theatre located at the north end of the campus.

The Ruskin Library houses archive material related to the poet, author and artist John Ruskin. It is open to the public, although only a small part of the collection is on public display at once. The building was constructed in 1997 by architect Richard MacCormac. The Whitehouse Collection housed in the Ruskin Library is the largest holding of books, manuscripts, photographs, drawings and watercolours by and related to John Ruskin in the world.

The University's Great Hall is situated at the far north end of the campus.

Clubs and societies

There are many different clubs and societies operating within the University of Lancaster. Common areas include sports, hobbies, politics and religion. There are several fairs during the freshers period in which various clubs and societies promote themselves.

Bailrigg FM is the student radio station and Lancaster University Cinema is the student union's on-campus cinema, based in Bowland College Lecture Theatre.


Every summer term the students take part in the Roses Tournament against the University of York. The venue of the event alternates annually between Lancaster and York. As of 2007, both Lancaster and York have won the tournament 21 times, with one tie. Other sporting activities are focused on inter-college competition rather than on national leagues. The colleges compete for the Carter Shield and the George Wyatt Cup. In 2004 the Founder's Trophy was played for the first time between the University's two founding colleges, Bowland and Lonsdale. The University also has a representitve club , Furness Rovers, in division 2 of the North Lancashire and District Football League.

Religious Groups

There are also a range of religious based societies within the University. Lancaster University Chaplaincy Centre is located at the north end of campus and the mosque and Islamic Prayer Room, also open to non-muslims, is located near InfoLab21. There are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahá'í and Pagan societies which hold regular events and meetings.

Lancaster University Students' Union

Lancaster University Students' Union ("LUSU") is the representative body of students at the University of Lancaster. Unusually, there is no main Union building - instead the Union is organised through the eight college JCRs, each of which has its own social venues and meeting spaces. The Union is, however, allocated an administration building by the University. "Scan" is the Students' Union newspaper. LUSU owns a nightclub in Lancaster called The Sugar House. This is a major source of income for the Students' Union, which also has two shops on the campus.

Centre for Medical Education

The Centre for Medical Education was established as the co-ordinating unit for all medical and health-related activity across the University. It is home to the collaborative venture with The University of Liverpool, the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Cumbria to establish undergraduate medical education in North Lancashire and Cumbria.

Notable academics

* Peter Checkland - Emeritus Professor, the developer of soft systems methodology (SSM) in the field of systems thinking.
* Michael Dillon - Professor of Politics, author of "Politics of Security"
* Alan Dix is a Professor in the Computing department
* John Leach lecturer in AI with Computing and Psychology who has presented television programmes on survival psychology [] .
* Norman Fairclough, a proponent of critical discourse analysis, is Emeritus Professor, and formerly Professor of Language in Social Life in the Department of Linguistics and English Language. []
* Paul Farley, Lecturer in Creative Writing - winner of the Whitbread Prize for poetry (2002) and other awards.
* Gwilym Jenkins (until 1974) - Professor of Systems Engineering.
* Bob Jessop - Professor of Sociology
* John Law - Professor of Sociology, key proponent of actor-network theory.
* Geoffrey Leech is Emeritus Professor and was Professor of Linguistics and Modern English Language. [] He was part of the team which, with a team based at Oxford University, compiled the British National Corpus, a 100 million word collection of a range of spoken and written texts, in the 1990s. This is an important contribution to corpus linguistics.
* Barbara Maher is Professor of Physical Geography and head of the Geography Department. Specialising in environmental magnetism and palaeomagnetism, she was the recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Merit Research Award in 2006.
* Gordon Manley - English climatologist and author of "Climate and the British Scene" in the Collins New Naturalist series.
* George Pickett - Professor of Low-Temperature Physics, for which the university is world-renowned. He was one of the main designers of the adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator, which allowed the university's physics department to reach milli-kelvin temperatures and lower.
* Jeffrey Richards - Professor of Cultural History and expert on British popular culture.
* Norman Sherry - Professor of English, 1970-1983. Expert on Graham Greene.
* Prof David Allsop Professor of Biomedicine and active supporter of the international "sleeves up" campaign.
* Ninian Smart - Foundation Professor of Religious Studies, 1967-1982.
* Lucy Suchman - Professor of Sociology, key contributor to research into human-computer interaction (HCI). Awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science in 2002.
* Stephen Taylor - Professor of Finance. World leader in Financial Econometrics.
* John Urry FRSA is a Professor of Sociology, noted for his work on tourism, mobility and complexity.
* Sylvia Walby OBE - Professor of Sociology, and one of the world's leading authorities on gender.
* Brian Wynne - Professor of Science Studies and Research Director of the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC) at Lancaster.

Notable alumni

College is shown in parentheses, where known.

* Richard Allinson (Fylde), DJ BBC Radio 2
* Antony Burgmans (Bowland), Chairman Unilever
* Alan Campbell (Furness), Labour MP
* Martin Close (Fylde), writer Coronation Street
* Hilton Dawson, Labour politician
* Robert Fisk (Lonsdale), journalist
* Tina Gaudoin, journalistcite web|url =|title = Coolhunter: Kendal Mint Cake|accessdate = 2007-11-11|publisher = Timesonline]
* Martin J. Goodman (The Graduate College), journalist and novelistcite web|url =|title = Some recent publications by past and present students of Creative Writing at Lancaster University|accessdate = 2007-08-09|publisher = Dept of English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University]
* Irving Hexham, Professor of Religious Studies
* Justin Hill (The Graduate College), novelist
* John Hull, Professor of Finance
* Ralph Ineson (Furness), actor
* D. F. Lewis, fiction writer
* James May (Pendle), journalist, presenter "Top Gear"
* Gillian Merron, Labour MP
* Alan Milburn (Pendle), Labour MP, former cabinet minister
* Andrew Miller (The Graduate College), novelist
* Jacob Polley (The Graduate College), poet
* Jason Queally (Bowland), Olympic cyclist
* Andy Serkis (County), actor e.g. Gollum [ [ University page of notable alumni] ]
* Ranvir Singh, journalist, presenter BBC Northwest Tonight
* Nahed Taher, CEO Gulf One Investment Bank
* Gary Waller, Conservative politician
* Sarah Waters (The Graduate College), Novelist
* Peter Whalley (Lonsdale), writer Coronation Street

Reputation and rankings

In April 2008, Lancaster was ranked 10th in the UK in "The Independent Good University Guide 2009".cite web | url=| title=|] In 2007, "The Sunday Times" named Lancaster the top university in the north-west of England.cite web | url=| title= University Rankings| author=Anon| publisher=The Sunday Times| accessdate=2008-02-27] Lancaster is also currently top in the north-west of England in The Independent, The Guardian and The Times university guides. Lancaster University Management School is, along with London Business School one of only two 6* Management Schools in the UK.




The Visitor of the University of Lancaster is Her Majesty The Queen. The Visitor is the final arbiter of any dispute within the University, except in those areas where legislation has removed this to the law courts or other ombudsmen. Student complaints and appeals were heard by the Visitor until the Higher Education Act 2004 came into force. [ [ Section 20 of the Higher Education Act 2004] ] All student complaints are now heard by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.


The Council is the governing body of the University, constituting of mainly lay members along with representatives of staff and students. It is responsible for the proper management and financial solvency of the University, with major policy decisions and corporate strategy being subject to its approval.


The Senate is the principal academic authority of the University. It oversees academic management and sets strategy and priorities, including the curriculum and maintenance of standards.

George Fox Six controversy

The "George Fox Six" were six members of the local community, including University students, who were prosecuted for aggravated trespass during a corporate venturing meeting at the University in September 2004. Speakers at the conference were drawn from one of the largest companies in the North West. The protesters criticised these companies for involvement in the arms trade and the abuse of human rights and the environment. The six protesters entered a lecture theatre in the University's George Fox building and their supporters say this was to hand out leaflets and engage delegates of the conference. The University says their aim was to aggressively disrupt the conference. On 30 September 2005, the six were found guilty of Aggravated Trespass: specifically of intending to disrupt the conference and were ordered to each pay £300 costs and were given a 2 year conditional discharge.

In The Media

The History Man

In 1980, the BBC's four part mini-series adaption of Malcolm Bradbury's novel, The History Man, was filmed at the university, masquerading as the fictional University of Watermouth. It had long been rumoured that the events of the book were based in part on activities at the University of Lancaster, although the University of Sussex has also been cited as a possible basis.


* [] - Masterplan 2007-2017 Part 1
* [] - Masterplan 2007-2017 Part 2

External links

* [ Lancaster University] – Official website

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