Thanks for the memories


Earlier this year, the Alumni Relations team was inundated after asking you to send in your memories of your time at the University. Thank you to everyone who shared their memories of Birmingham; here are just a few of the fascinating stories you had to tell...

Jane Piggott (BSocSc Russian and East European Studies, 1970) "Birmingham meant making wonderful friends and meeting my husband of 42 years. It also meant opportunity and the possibility of looking at the world - and my life - in a different light."

Life on campus

Helen Later (née Lea) (BA French Language and Literature, 1985) "I remember being driven down the steps behind the arts faculty in a VW Beetle!"

Dr Rod Packman (BSc Physics, 1960; PhD, 1964) "During our first year, there were extensive renovations being done on Joe. One evening, on a dare, we decided to climb Joe, inside that is. The lift was off limits, so we climbed and climbed. Initially progress was a walk in the park, however the girth of the tower decreased with height and things on the ground began to look very, very small. And, of course, going up was the easy part!"

Thomas Telford (BSc Zoology, 1947) "Fire watching from Joseph was on a regular basis and there was one bomb near Chancellor's Hall with little damage."

Rag Week

Ken England (BSc Mechanical Engineering, 1952) "I remember my first Rag/Carnival Day 1949, leaping on a bus at Alcester Lane in a ridiculous get up and rattling my tin for contributions. Joining the engineers' float, I finally ended up at the Great Hall exhausted with some young lady I had met en route, who particularly wanted to hear the star attraction that year."

Kate Yates (BA English and French, 1974) "In Rag Week 1970, the English and Drama departments did an all-night Shakespeare reading in town. Around 3am, a couple of lads came by on their way home from a nightclub. They had drunk quite a bit and had never read any Shakespeare, but joined in for a laugh and got hooked - they stayed about two hours, and a whole world opened up for them!"

Sporting achievements

David Taylor (BSc Chemical Engineering, 1972) "The hockey XI went on a three-game tour to a Netherlands hockey tournament and our loud in-tune, drink-encouraged song was 'We beat Amersfort City, we beat Hanover too, we'll beat Schaervade tomorrow, cos Birmingham... we love you'. Sadly, we lost 2-1 to Schaervade. On the way back, our team was sick on the hovercraft, except tough-stomached me who suggested a fry-up on our arrival at Folkestone. That re-polished off a few."

David Lim (BSocSc Economics, Politics and Sociology, 1966) "My fond memories include being a member (long jumper) and secretary of the Birmingham Athletics Club, whose unpaid and unofficial coach was Dr Mike Hayes from the Department of Chemistry. We trained on the athletics track beside the library at lunchtime, got to tour tertiary institutions in the then West Germany (Cologne, Hanover and Berlin) and represented the University Athletics Union (UAU) in long jump."

Course and classmates

Pauline Kent (BA English and History, 1982) "On my first day, I asked a mature student if he was my lecturer. He was 80 and looked like Dumbledore, so easily done. He was a great guy with racy stories to tell. Then, I watched my friend Simon Le Bon take off as a musician, Duran Duran was to become the soundtrack for the '80s."

Valerie Vessey (BSocSc Economics, Politics and Sociology, 1962) "I remember when we had seminars in huts and there were black stoves in one corner that got very hot. One time, one of my fellow students left his plastic portfolio case against it. Suddenly there was a dreadful smell and smoke - all the plastic had melted."


Get in touch


Send your memories of Birmingham to With your permission, they'll be put online on our Memory Lane webpages.