Francis Close Hall (St Paul’s) dorms


The University of Gloucestershire has a long history as a teacher training college, stretching back to 1847 when it was first established as Cheltenham Training College in St Paul’s. In a series of blog posts, we explore our teacher training history using the University’s Special Collections and Archives. Follow them on Twitter.


Current staff and students of the University of Gloucestershire may be surprised to know that students were once housed on campus. As you can see from the floor plans, dorm rooms with names such as Valhalla, Elysium and Paradise lined corridors at St Paul’s (now Francis Close Hall). The idea was that students would sleep in dormitories with cubicles, whilst their studies took place in classrooms. At St Paul’s, ‘lights out’ time was 10.30pm. The dormitory arrangement did, however, ensure a community feel as students took part in initiation ceremonies, visited chapel on a Sunday and joined the many societies on offer.

Francis Close Hall Dormitory Plan 1972 2nd floor

[Image from the Special Collections and Archives, University of Gloucestershire]

Francis Close Hall Dormitory Plan 1972 1st floor

[Image from the Special Collections and Archives, University of Gloucestershire]

The dorm rooms are now offices for Education and Health & Social Care staff. I tried to replicate some of the images from the archive, but it was tricky with modern lighting and room arrangements. In the images below you can clearly see that the windows have remained. Unfortunately, the view of the chapel has been obscured by the tree in full bloom. I believe that the archive image is a photo from a prospectus – hence the incredibly tidy and studious nature of it.

Francis Close Hall Student Room University of Gloucestershire

[Image from the Special Collections and Archives, University of Gloucestershire]

Francis Close Hall Campus office 2017

The closest halls to Francis Close Hall campus are Shaftesbury Halls, a two minute walk away. This image from 2009 illustrates the relative comfort in modern student living arrangements.

Shaftesbury Halls University of Gloucestershire

The final few images are a view down the corridor. It is barely recognisable apart from, again, the windows which are only partially obscured at the top.

Francis Close Hall 2nd Floor dorms

[Image from the Special Collections and Archives, University of Gloucestershire]

Francis Close Hall Dorm Corridor

[Image from the Special Collections and Archives, University of Gloucestershire]

University of Gloucestershire Francis Close Hall campus

FCH corridors 2018

University of Gloucestershire Francis Close Hall campus

FCH corridors 2018

University of Gloucestershire Francis Close Hall campus

FCH corridors 2018

 


Tom Brunsdon is a Technician Demonstrator for the School of Education. Do you have memories you would like to share about your teacher training days in Cheltenham? If so, get in touch with Tom by email.

Comments


G Sudron says:

This is great – thanks. I lived on Pepper Row (#131) in ’89-’90. We still had the old fashioned round 3 pin plugs in the rooms and the supply wouldn’t support a kettle or any other high draw item. There were limited 13amp sockets in the corridors for those.

I remember being really cold in the winter with the draughts coming through the window frames. It didn’t help that 131 had the turret with open vents to the outside.

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