Building name changes

Tue, 05 Apr 2016 10:37:00 BST

Dear Colleagues

As you know, this year marks the 175th Anniversary of the Young Men’s Mental Improvement Society, a predecessor institution of the University.  During the year we are beginning a process of renaming many of our buildings, moving away from the largely descriptive names (e.g. West Building or Central Services) and introducing names of important figures connected to areas of the University’s work. 

The first buildings to be renamed will be:

Central Services Building (CSB) which will become the Schwann Building (SB); HHHS Research Building (HHRB) will become the Edith Key Building (EK); Milton (M) will become the Sir Patrick Stewart Building (PS); Science and West Building (X and W) will become the Joseph Priestley Building (JP); and West Lecture Theatres (W) will become the Bronte Lecture Theatres (BL).  An information board will be displayed in each building providing background details on each of the figures (the text that will be used is included at the foot of this message).

Estates and Marketing will be organising new signage for the buildings, updating campus maps and communicating the change to students and staff.  The signage will be in place for 1 August this year.  The timetabling team have put these new details into the new timetable and these will appear when it is issued.  We are aware that Schools and Services may also have systems that make use of room numbers so the changes will impact on these too.  Timetabling staff have started a list of system owners to consult about this, but please do get in touch with them if you have not heard from them by the end of this month so that you can discuss how you will implement these changes.

Professor Tim Thornton

Deputy Vice-Chancellor

The Schwann Building

Frederic and Mary Schwann were inspired to provide vocational education for the town of Huddersfield.  In 1841 five young men employed and encouraged by Frederic set up a Young Men’s Mental Improvement Society.  Together with about 30 others they then began night classes.  Mary was a leading light in the Female Educational Institute, one of the first of its kind in the country. The Society was soon renamed the Mechanics’ Institute, and together the two Institutes are the direct precursors of today’s University of Huddersfield.

The Edith Key Building

Edith Key was a prominent suffragette and the secretary-organiser of the Huddersfield branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). She participated in suffrage demonstrations in London, resulting in her spending several days in Holloway Jail. Key provided shelter to a number of suffragettes who were avoiding the authorities, including Adela Pankhurst. She was also involved in the Adult School Movement and, along with her family, was opposed to the Boer War and the First World War.

The Sir Patrick Stewart Building

Sir Patrick Stewart is one of the leading stage and screen actors of his generation and he also made his mark as a deeply committed and energetic Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.  He remains our Emeritus Chancellor.  Sir Patrick is particularly eager to ensure that young people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential through access to Higher Education.  

Huddersfield is effectively his home-town university.  Patrick Stewart was born in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, in 1940.  His father was a regular soldier and his mother was a weaver.  He left school at the age of 15 and worked briefly as a reporter on the local newspaper.  But a teacher at school had inspired in him a love of Shakespeare and the stage.  Acting ambitions quickly superseded journalism.

Patrick Stewart was made OBE in 2002 and in 2010 he received a knighthood.  His many involvements include Amnesty International and he is a frequent public speaker in favour of its goals in the field of human rights, as well as being an active patron for Refuge, the domestic violence and women's rights organisation.

The Joseph Priestley Building

Joseph Priestley, born in Birstall near Huddersfield in 1733, is perhaps best remembered for his discovery of the gas that would later be named "oxygen".   

A clergyman, scholar and teacher, he was often a controversial figure as he spoke out against the established church and supported the French Revolution which caused him to be regarded as an enemy of the English government.  In light of this he moved to the United States of America in 1794, and remained there for the rest of his life.

The Brontë Lecture Theatres

The Brontë sisters, Charlotte (1816-1855), Emily (1818-1848) and Anne (1820-1849), are world renowned 19th century novelists.

Born in a village about 12 miles north of campus, the sisters lived much of their lives in Haworth and knew this area of West Yorkshire very well.

Like many of their contemporary female writers, they originally published their poems and novels under male pseudonyms: Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Their stories were famous for their passion and originality. Charlotte’s Jane Eyre was the first to know success, while Emily’s Wuthering Heights, Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and other works were later to be accepted as masterpieces of literature.

There is a particular connection to Huddersfield through Red House (built in 1660 and now a museum). It was home to a family of cloth merchants and manufacturers. Mary Taylor, who lived there, is considered an early feminist and was a close friend of Charlotte Brontë.

Charlotte Brontë’s second novel, Shirley, is about the Luddite uprisings in the Yorkshire textile industry during the industrial depression of 111-12, and much of it is set at the house.



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