Tag Archives: Marjon

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

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


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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Filed under long time ago, Marjon pride

Bank Weirdness

Ah, the summer nearing its end. Those who enter their universities this year have(hopefully) already finished their Student Finance applications and await the money they are entitled to. Gone are the days when one had to write to the bank managers for their beer money. Well, gone but not forgotten:-).
But what about the banks themselves? Well, skimming through the Cremorne Review(which you might remember as once a platform for the literary creations of Marjon’s students) I stumbled upon some strange bank advertisements. And here they are in their off-beat glory:
First one that caught my attention was this…um, fairy:-)

bankads4 001Then there is a beatnik chomping on a shoestring. I wasn’t yet born in the 60’s. Was it normal for a person like this to have a candle on top of the head?

bankads3 001Hammurabi playing cricket.

bank ads 001And last but not least- a free book that cost three p. Is it me or the advertisements used to be really weird?

banks ads2 001

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Filed under humour, long time ago, random stuff

The most hated part of a computer(if you’re old like me)

Do you remember this?:

monitorThis old type monitor filter is something I dug out of a pile of stuff we keep around.I haven’t seen one of those for twenty years.When I was young I used to hate mine. Small monitors+low resolution+monitor filter= one dark picture. I wonder if they were even effective or really needed. Were the old CRT monitors so radioactive they needed those nylon mesh monstrosities? If so, why weren’t they included in the package when you bought your monitor? You had to buy and install one yourself. Sometimes they fell down. Maybe it was just a gadget to rake in some more money. Anyway, you can count on Marjon archives to bring in old memories.:-)

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When a pin is not enough

Chunky's sports kit

Chunky’s sports kit

I don’t have many mementoes from my time as a Marjon student. Apart from a copy of my dissertation and a library car, the only thing is a pin in the shape of Marjon’s coat-of-arms. But for some people such trifles are not enough.
Imagine Mr E Godin, a Kensington-living, pillar-of-the-community type of guy. However, in history he will go down as ‘Chunky’, a Marjon student, president of the student’s union 1969. Chunky would not stop at a pin, in fact we have just received a box of goodies that he took with him as he left Marjon. In our possession is now a part of his sports kit- a rugby polo, a scarf

Sports Challenge Shield

Sports Challenge Shield

and a pair of socks (unused, thank goodness!:-)) and a wooden trophy shield. On the shield it says: St John’s College, Battersea1903-1904 Intercollege Sports Challenge Shield. So in 1969 it would already be a something- sixty-year old memento from before the two colleges merged. I’m dying to hear how did Chunky got hold of it.
And what about you? What did you take to remember your university by?

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I can’t tell history

History is a story with murky beginning, with no end in sight. That much everyone knows. But as I’ve learnt, by digging in dusty papers, is that history is a story you don’t tell- you interpret it. Having found an interesting bundle of letters in one of the folders I thought I can interpret a story of J.V.B King for you. However, sometimes you build an interpretation just to see it crumble before your eyes.
J.V.B King- a student of St. Mark College in the years 1915-17 and like many young men he went to fight in the WWI. The letters I found are dated 1919 and 1920. King had been discharged from the army. He wrote both to Rev. Hudson, the principal of St Mark College, and to the Board of Education to be released from his agreement as student teacher. ‘I no longer feel fit to become a teacher.’ he says in his letter to the Board of Education. ‘…I desire to lead an open air life…’ and the reason for this letter is that he had been gassed during his service.
Few months later, unable to contact him, the secretary of the Board of Education wrote to Rev. Hudson. ‘I have no direct evidence that he had been gassed,’ says the letter. Oh my precious history nerds! Please come out of the woodwork and tell me: could you obtain such evidence back then? A doctor’s note perhaps? Could you even do that with the so many people dead, maimed or gassed? I’m sure that he lived, I can’t remember seeing him on the war memorial…
Thus the letters end and I still don’t know if J.V.B King got his release. I even wonder if he really lost his health or he simply wanted out. If the former, then I can only imagine how heart-breaking it must have been to not be able to pursue something he worked hard for. If the latter, then I can’t really blame him as teaching, to me, is a worthy equivalent of hell.
I wish I could tell you the rest of it, that King became a farmer and happily grew cabbage to the end of his days. But, the history is the only story I cannot tell.

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Filed under long time ago, musings, people

A Dream of Newspaper Clippings

I went for a forced break for the past two weeks, so now I am really glad to be back.
Does anyone remember the times when people collected the newspaper clippings? Some people used to have quite collections. They’ve cut and keep the bits that they wanted to remember, whether it was a mention of a relative that got famous for five minutes or a completion of a community project in the neighbourhood. Marjon also used to do that; the department responsible for public relations used to keep the clippings that mention Marjon and from there they came to us, a hefty box-folder full of them. Yeah, so they’re newspaper clippings. So what, right? Maybe right now- not much. But we should remember we are living in the age of the decline of the printed word. One day, maybe quite soon, those are going to be historical documents. Unlike some other paper documents, made to withstand centuries, the newspapers are fragile. The paper is of a bad quality. Some of the clippings are no older than 2009, but they are already yellow and brittle. Newspapers are also, as far as I know, a first-hand source. I’ve found three of them that stood out to me among the sea of sport reports and complains about the student loans (some issues seem to be eternal :-).
maggieThe first one is about a woman in her sixties that decided to pursue a diploma in Marjon. Maybe one day her descendants will like to know what kind of woman the great-great-great-grandmother was. Or maybe this bit of information will stand to defend our age against future accusations of being completely and utterly ageist.
Another reports on a completion of a wall artmural in Plymouth by Marjon-trained artist. Now it is a display of pride we feel, knowing that Majon graduates are successful. In some time it might become a memory- the mural painted over to make room for something different, or a help in recreating it if it gets damaged.
legoThe third one speaks about a project that was once developed at Marjon- a fully programmable robot that you could build yourself as it could be assembled out of LEGO. My sci-fi mind runs wild with this one. Will a historian one day find it and realizes that we were not as bad at robotics as it was widely thought?
So, newspaper clippings- useless junk for us, goldmine for the future. It maybe sooner than we think.

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Filed under long time ago, musings