Category Archives: artefacts

Skeletons in boxes


This label comes from one of the donations from one of the former staff members. It is for a company that supplied medical and science equipment, most famously skulls and skeletons. They were operating in late 18th century and yes, it was a time when you could just go out and buy yourself a human skeleton neatly packed in a box for your convenience. Crazy, huh?

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Filed under artefacts, long time ago

So many badges

We were sent a whole box of vintage Marjon badges. They are blue with gold coat-of-arms and it says ‘blue’ at the top. What were they for? I’ve no idea. They are all unused and unopened. Did I mention that there is a WHOLE box of those?:-)

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Falling Debris

Sometimes the archives seem to be a catch-all for random stuff that gets cleared out from somebody’s office. Like this issue of Executive Post- a publication from PER.

‘So what?’ you could say. ‘Shouldn’t the university be in possesion of those?’ Certainly, but this particular issue is exactly as old as I am. Uh-oh, somebody is way behind cleaning in their office.:-)


On unrelated note: hey, PER people! Do you have anything that this starving artist could do?:-P

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Filed under artefacts, humour, inner workings, long time ago, random stuff

Donated Voice


A private record made at Marjon

What would you donate to archives? Documents? Letters? Publications? Sure, that’s what we usually get. Unlkie other archives we also accept objects, like uniforms, badges, plaques. Stuff that is more likely to be found in museums. Also on ebay, if the original owner was famous, with a price tag to give Blill Gates a heart attack.:-)
Some things arrived that used to belong to John Atkinson, who was Marjon student in the years 1959-1962. And for the most part, those are typical things, a small tower of year books, a really long group photo, some copies of his letters. He wasn’t a celebrity, just a music teacher doing his best to inspire his students. His only chance at fame was shot down when BBC (which he used to fondly refer to as ‘Berlin Broadcasting Company’) wouldn’t put him on the box.
But there is one thing that is unique among his things. You open an envelope and there is this vinyl record inside. The label says: Ascension Day 1959, Sung Eucharist. A private recording of him singing. Not only were his words given to us, or the likeness in the old picture, but also his voice. Hey Mister Atkinson, aren’t you glad? ‘Non omnis moriar…’

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The thoughts on displacement

In literature as well as in real life,  geography has a great influence on people. And the reason I am talking about it now is the thoughts of alumni that visited the archives recently. They were the ones who started studying in Chelsea and underwent the transition to Plymouth.
Imagine you signed up for this:



Marjon Chelsea entrance

And it turned into this:



Marjon Chelsea entrance

Imagine leaving the place you know one summer and returning to it in autumn. Only to realize that it changed looks and location. You’re no longer walking the grounds that were there since Coleridge had his ‘crazy’ ideas about educating the poor. No more stories of Lady Stanley’s ghost and no more walls to jump.

Instead there is a site under construction, brand new buildings built in modern fashion and a whole lot of space surrounding the place. Imagine you joined one of the oldest schools in England, with the buildings to prove it, only to have it completely changed, seemingly overnight. The college had ran the course of history, the old gave way to the new.
But it doesn’t meant that the old is gone. The new Marjon site was designed to remind us where we came from. Behold the cloisters, old and new:



Marjon Chelsea entrance

The old library and former training school with our legacy building- the chaplaincy centre:


Old library and chaplaincy centre

As for the ghosts…well, they say that the third floor of the library is haunted and some people would not go there alone. Although I never felt anything otherworldly over there. Maybe some day…

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Filed under artefacts, long time ago, Marjon pride, musings, photos

Stone Age Computing(or very nearly so)

There isn’t a better place to observe how the time flies than the archives. And the time flies especially fast for the computing history. For some reason we have some computing-related objects that for now can be labelled as severely outdated, but one day…

Four booklets for one laptop- all I got was two cd's and a printout:-)

Four booklets for one laptop- all I got was two cd’s and a printout:-)

Among the things we have is a set of instruction booklets for a Toshiba laptop. We used to have a scheme that would give each and every student enrolled a laptop. I was the last class to benefit from this scheme and my laptop didn’t come with as much paper instructions. Not to mention that apparently the system that these laptops came with was Windows 95- dating the set more or less 25 years ago, an eon in the computing history.
And that’s nothing. We have instructions and certificates for Windows for Workgroups, which is so old it actually comes with a paper registration cards. That’s right, no internet for most computers in 1992. This stuff would come on a series of diskettes(no cd-roms then

A diskette- soon to be put alongside Edison cylinders.

A diskette- soon to be put alongside Edison cylinders.

either) and behold: a sheet of printed labels that you’d have to put on them yourself.
Speaking of diskettes, we also have a companion diskette for Toshiba, still in an unsealed envelope- I can’t believe there are humans alive right now who have never seen one. I remember the time when buying a new box of diskettes was like buying a box of After Eight’s- open the seal on the box and each diskette came with a plastic envelope of its own.
Right now, these things are a bit(pun intended:)) of nerdy nostalgia. But one thing I know about nostalgia is that it can graduate to history when you have your back turned.

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Filed under artefacts, long time ago, technology

Return of the books

I have written before about Marjon in fiction and had a closer look at former Marjon students that wrote fiction. But the truth is I have just scratched the surface with the books that were penned by people involved with us. And since there is going to be a new display with books of our people I thought I’ll return to the subject.
The main thing about our authors and their books is that they are so varied: different subjects, different genres, some fiction, some non-fiction, poetry and prose. You’d think that for a place with teacher’s training so deeply in its tradition, that the books produced by its students would be mostly about education or on methods of teaching. So in the upcoming weeks I will talk about the titles that can be found in our collection. I am in for a treat!:-)


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Filed under artefacts, books, people