By Rebecca Couchman-Crook, Archives Assistant
The photograph collection from the University of Leicester’s history is now more accessible than ever before! You can view them from the comfort of your sofa by simply visiting Special Collections Online and scrolling down to The University of Leicester Archives.
In a move to make our collections easier to find and reach a wider audience we’ve uploaded a large selection of photographs (about 350) from the very beginnings of the University right up until the past decade. These join our other digitised photograph collections from the Leicester Mercury’s Industrial coverage, “Vanished Leicester” – buildings and streets demolished 1955-1975 – and Leicester during WWI, amongst others.
The University photographs reveal a sometimes forgotten story of how this institution first began. The Fielding Johnson Building was formerly the 5th Northern General Hospital during WWI, and as a tribute to fallen soldiers, and those that made it back safely, it was suggested that a University College be established in their memory using the building. This gave rise to the Latin motto on the University’s logo “Ut vitam habeant” – “That they might have life”.
The University College of Leicestershire and Rutland went through many name changes, and gained its official charter as a University in 1957 – which prompted a visit from HRH Queen Elizabeth II with the opening of the new Percy Gee Building.
We’ve had the odd famous face be honoured at our degree ceremonies too…
The University also opened the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and Arts in 1997, which gave rise to a star-studded opening, with Lord Richard Attenborough and Diana, Princess of Wales, arriving to mark the occasion.
Have a browse, and see what hidden parts of history you happen upon…