Category Archives: Marjon pride

The Actor’s Wheel

When you live off campus, there is a chance that some things will pass you by. One of those things that passed me by was theatre. Marjon has its own  actor training company called  The Actor’s Wheel. They put up productions in Marjon’s own theatre in Desmond Tutu Building and then go on tour.  I have found posters and flyers of their past productions in our archives.

And if you feel like some theatre and want to support young thespians, here is the link to their website. Check out their new productions starting in may.

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A small ripple in reality

I’ve always said that Marjon has its fingers in many pies. It has ties to many people, direct or indirect. Leo Tolstoy, Arthur Sullivan, John Ruskin. All those people were in one way or another influenced by Marjon. But it takes a small newspaper clipping to realize that the reality itself was influenced by it. The clipping itself, dated 1.11.93 marked as being from Evening Herald is a mini-article. It mentions someone reading Caroline Fox who was a Cornish diarist that was recording memories of well-known people. Fox mentions Coleridge and his aims to bring the education to the poor. But that’s not all. The article’s author(who sadly is anonymous right now) says: ‘It lead, according to the writers, to the institution of Anglican lay readers, who are, of course, members of the laity who can take many of the services.’
Boom! You live in a reality where Marjon changed the face of the Anglican Church. How is that as food for thought?

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Not much of a post this week due to boring organizational reasons. But I want to share one of my favourite old photos from the time Marjon campus was brand new. I really like the composition, there is something nicely dynamic  about it. Notice how the library still lacks the third floor.Photo1067

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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:

 

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Marjon Chelsea entrance

And it turned into this:

 

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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:

 

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Marjon Chelsea entrance

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

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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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A shadow of a monk

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.

A proposed puilding back in Chelsea

A proposed puilding back in Chelsea

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The ‘monastic’ is gone, the cloister remains

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.:-)

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Hush-hush no more

The award itself

The award itself

Now when there was a press release and everything, I no longer have to keep quiet. Do you remember the big thing we were all preparing for? Well, now I can tell you that we won an award for all our volunteering work from Archives and Records Association. And it is actually a national thing- the Archive Volunteering Award. The judges were unanimous and were very impressed that we did so much with so little.
There was the award presenting ceremony in our archives, that’s why we all worked so hard. That evening the room was full of big wigs: we had three people from ARA presenting the award, guests from the Plymouth’s Volunteer Centre and other outside organizations, various people from different Marjon’s departments and even out vice-chancellor. We wanted to show our guest all the projects we made and when it was put all in one room it was a lot. When you work week-to-week on your part of the project, helping other volunteers with one thing or another, you really miss the scope of the whole undertaking. You think about your project as that small thing that you do for the reasons of your own and don’t give it a second thought. But the world is watching and then you realize: whatever you do has an impact.
But don’t take my word for all of it. Check it out for yourself:
http://www.archives.org.uk/ara-in-action/news/557-university-of-st-mark-and-st-john-wins-2014-national-volunteering-award.html

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Hush-Hush

I haven’t written a lot recently and today I fear I don’t have another story from the archives. The reason is: there will be a huge event in the near future. I can’t say anything specific just yet. Everything is still on hush-hush basis and waiting for the big reveal. Everybody is running like ants after a storm in preparation for it. How big is it? Well it’s big, national level big. We are all pulling together to showcase our work the best we can. We have our hands busy by choosing, printing, planning and displaying. I hope that this event will make us a little bit more visible. We have worked
hard for the past year and we want others to see the fruits of our labours.

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8 quirky things about Marjon

The new academic year is just around the corner and I still can’t believe it will go on without me :-(.
For some it is the beginning of their relationship with Marjon. So for all those who are just joining: here is what makes Marjon- Marjon.
1. The mysterious machine.

mysteriousmachineFrom the depths of our storages comes this mysterious machine. For the longest time it was a part of our scientific equipment, until everyone forgot what it is and what it was
used for. This handmade apparatus was speculated to be some kind of distillation
device until finally proven by its documentation to be a device to
experiment upon the thermal conductivity of copper under different conditions

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2. Chelsea site model

MarjonChelseamodelFor the longest time this was the face of Marjon. It doesn’t look it now, but Marjon
is old. This model of the old campus that was situated in the middle of Chelsea,
London is here to always remind us that while buildings and places change, our
spirit doesn’t.
3. The Marjon Cup
marjoncupMarjon was always very involved in sports and once upon a time it used to award its own trophy. Here it is- The Marjon Cup, a sizable reward for those who earned it. I’m not very sporty, but even I would be tempted:-)

 

 

 

 

 

4. Marjon International
malaysiapictureAs I wrote before– we have many international ties. People around the world come over to study for their diplomas. Sometimes they leave souvenirs and leave their mark on Marjon.

 

 

5. The timetables of doom

oldtimetableEvery student thinks that their schedule is busy. Well, I’m sure that past students would laugh that statement off. Here is a timetable from a hundred years ago. Every waking moment was framed within rigorous plan of study, work and prayer. I doubt that many people could stand that today.

 

 

 

 

6. Marjon the beautiful
marjoninsnowMarjon grounds are beautiful. With its lush and manicured Quad area, with the hidden grove and pond, and with its new apple orchard. But the prettiest Marjon sight it its chapel after the heavy snowfall. This is my favourite picture of it.

 

7. The war hospital

warhospitalEverybody and their little dog enjoy a good war story. Marjon has many stories of men that fought and died in both world wars. But that’s not all. The buildings have stories to tell too. For example: the old college building used to be a hospital during the WWI. If only the buildings could talk.

 

 

 

 

8. Macro- and micro- media

mediaMarjon was always good with its media. Here it is a small display what kind of things people was working with: Huge master tapes, ancient betamaxes, a little more modern VHS tapes and nearly recent DVD. Those tiny tapes laid in a pyramid are master tapes for VHS hand-held cameras, a technology many of the fresh students might be unfamiliar with.

And now, if you want to see all of the above, you can do so. There is a display put up in the reception area of the library. Look for two tall glass cases, one on the lef of the reception desk and one on the right of the exit.

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Malaysian Memories

Those who know Marjon a little bit better also know that we have well organized International Office. It is located on the second floor of the main block and the whole place is decorated with pictures, artwork and various colourful objects from many different cultures. I used to wonder where they all come from. Well now I know. A recent donation that came to the archives is all the souvenirs that Malaysian students brought as gifts.

For more than thirty years Marjon worked in partnership with more countries and Universities abroad than you can shake a stick at. Nowadays any course is open for foreign students, but also there are special programmes such as International Foundation Programme and Academic English Preparation Courses so you can imagine how many people came over here over the years. The gifts they left behind vary greatly. Some are simple souvenirs, others are more elaborate. There are pictures, scrolls and pennants. Some showed how little I know about Malaysia- the strange studded brass frame is actually a mirror with a little doors.

Some of those things must have been in the possession of the International office for years; some are recent as the newspaper that I found alongside the gifts. It is dated 2013 and titled ‘University’s farewell to Malaysians’. It shows that people still are coming to us from Malaysia to get their education. We live worlds apart, but for a short while we have lived and worked together. And here is the proof that we will always remember and treasure our friends from far away:

 

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The coat of arms

If you never saw the official coat of arms of Marjon university- look to the right of the page. Today we only use the shield portion, having retired the dreadful ‘nike’ logo that dominated both webpages and signs when I got accepted.

The official document granting the coat of arms to Marjon

The official document granting the coat of arms to Marjon

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A close-up of the three heavy seals attached to the document

I had a rare opportunity to see the official document that gives coat of arms to Marjon. It is housed in a special wooden box that protects it from the damaging light. Marjon got his coat of arms when the two Colleges merged in 1926. They were especially designed to accentuate the equality between the two schools, which from now on would stand as one. The official description is pure ‘heraldese’ that only those who are adept in the heraldic arts can understand. For us, the lay-people, it is enough to understand that the swords came from the coat of arms of diocese of London and the red diamonds from the Southwark’s diocese. Why? Because the schools were located in those dioceses. You can clearly see the connection:

http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/bishop_of_london_crest_detail.gif

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Diocese_of_Southwark_arms.svg

A close-up of the arms themselves

A close-up of the arms themselves

I’m sure I don’t have to say anything about the blazon (the upper part of the arms- I’ve just learnt that word, please don’t throw stones at me:-)). The Lon and the Lamb stand of course for the Evangelists- St John and St Mark.

What surprises me, is the attitude the modern world has towards the arms. They are mostly ignored, substituted by logos and trademarks, and generally considered old-fashioned. G Woods Wallaston, the man who designed Marjon’s coat of arms, says: ‘Arms are to an individual, a family, or a body corporate what flag is to a nation.’ Nobody would ever dare to think the Union Jack to be old-fashioned, why then can’t we treat the coat of arms with the same deal of respect? They should be the source of pride and admiration, a sign of high standards and respectability. Yet some universities (I’m not pointing fingers, but you know who you are- Stars and Scallops:-)) prefer to hide their arms, restricting their use to the graduation ceremonies. But I ask you this: what good is to have your arms covered? The arms were originally invented for easy recognition and not for keeping under a lock and key. So I say: let our colours fly!

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