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.
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?
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.
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…
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
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.:-)
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:
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.