We used to be a ‘monastic-type’ school. What do I mean by that? Of course in the medieval times there were schools attached to monasteries and the monasteries themselves had schools to educate young monks. But that’s not what I mean.
In Kay-Schuttleworth’s and Coleridge’s times that would mean that the school should be an environment that would eliminate all distractions from the studies. What would that mean in practice? A lot of discipline, rules and schedules. The school would be an isolated place where time was highly organized and occasional breaks from studying would be filled with manual work and every hour in a student’s life would be accounted for. Ugh:-). Things got better with time, but even in the 50’s, the ‘monastic’ was very much alive- doors closing at 10, walls around the campus, no women students, just like in Mike Ford’s stories.
So nowadays the discipline is gone, but the ‘monastic’ is still present like a shadow of a monk in a haunted monastery. Look closely at this picture of a proposed building in the campus of St Mark College. See that bit with the columns running alongside the building? That’s called cloister, a part that is traditionally included in monasteries.
We’re now far away both from the monastic beginnings of education and from the ‘monastic-style’ schools. However, the ‘monastic’ still lives in the architecture of ~Marjon. With the move to Plymouth they made sure we still have a cloister even that it is modern-looking (well, retro-modern nowadays:-)). It is one of my favourite features of the campus, it allows you stay dry when moving from one building to another even if it rains cat and dogs and horses or just enjoy rain without a drawback of being wet. Next time you’re walking from the shop to the library, take note why we have that convenient route.:-)