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We have been asking staff, students and alumni to share objects and places with us that make the University of Chester special to them. This week, alumna Susan Carmichael (née Mallard), tells us all about Gladdy Hall (now known as Small Hall). Susan studied at the then Chester College from 1963 until 1966, when Gladdy Hall was the venue for many dances and drama productions. Nowadays the hall is used for exams, conferences and clubs/societies. Keep on reading to hear Susan’s memories of Gladdy Hall…

A hall by any other name…

“There are some buildings that are not architecturally significant, but have a great importance in your life. Such as Small Hall (is there a Large Hall?!), or to those of us who were at Chester College in the 60s and 70s, we know it more fondly by the name Gladstone (Gladdy) Hall.

“It started the second day we were there in September 1963. First year students had to go to Gladstone Hall to sit a series of exams – Maths, English, and something called Adult Intelligence. We never did find out how well (or otherwise!), we had done so if anyone finds the results at the back of an old cupboard, please let us know…



Chester College Ladies Hockey Team 1964 – Susan Carmichael (front row, second from right)

“Of course there was the weekly College meeting, 9am on a Wednesday morning when the principal, Revd Aubrey Price and then Sir Bernard de Bunsen, would speak to us. Imagine today trying to get all the students into one place, let alone Gladdy Hall! It was one of the occasions when we were obliged to wear our College gowns.

“Gladstone Hall was also the place where we sat our exams, our careers resting on how many ways we could write about using a rubber mat in Primary Physical Education, to the more serious subjects we had chosen to study.

“There was also the more fun side of Gladdy Hall. The Dramatic Society plays, the Gilbert and Sullivan productions of HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, with the Revd Audrey Price taking a major role, and many other students making things possible behind the scenes.


“All those events were important in our lives, but ask anyone who was there at that time what they remember of Gladdy Hall, and they will tell you… the Saturday night dances! Throughout the year the different clubs and societies each held a dance.

“My memory may be playing tricks with me, but apart from the society running the dance, I seem to remember the dances were all mostly the same. Did we care? No, they might sound old-fashioned entertainment these days, but to us they were the highlight of the week.

“Who could forget the College group, Some People, being the backing group for the Rolling Stones when they played in Chester?! ‘The All Stars’ jazz group, and the visit of ‘The Nashville Teens’, not from the USA, but Surrey. Great events, honestly!

“When I started at Chester in 1963 it was the year of the introduction of resident females, with all 28 of us living in Old College. After 124 years of an all-male College, the sudden appearance of young females certainly caused a stir, although we were there for economic reasons – certain government grants and the expansion of the College depended on the acceptance of resident female students.

“Why have you mentioned that, I hear you say…? Well, it does have a great significance to what took place at the dances in Gladdy Hall. A dance, with no females?

“Saturday evening saw the arrival of various coaches loaded with girls from the all-female colleges in the vicinity. Were we surprised, even shocked – of course we were, but that’s how it was.


“I cannot imagine female students, wherever they are, putting up with this today. The role of women has certainly changed since then. We were quite vociferous about it then though, and it must be viewed in the spirit of the age – the inequality of the rules for male and female students, being back in hostel, leaving College at the weekend. I could go on, but thankfully some things have changed.

“When you walk past Small Hall, please spare a minute to look at the plaque, in praise of Gladdy Hall, ‘Memories are made of this’.

“They certainly were. Insignificant building, maybe – but if the walls could talk, what tales they would tell!”

If you would like to nominate an object or place for #UoC100Objects, we would love to hear from you! Email us at or drop us a message on social media.

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100 Object Chester College Alumni History Gladdy Hall Guest Blogger College Memories