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Leicester Special Collections



Acceptance letter to Clare Hall in 1962.

Although the overall number of students remained small in its early years, the University College’s catchment area was expanding. The Annual Report for 1926/27 notes that College students came from Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Rutland, Staffordshire and Sussex.[1]

With more students needing residential accommodation the College had a new problem to overcome. The former nurses’ home on the College site had been used as a women’s hostel, however no accommodation was provided for men. By 1928/29 the Annual Report notes the need for a new women’s hostel, and residential accommodation for out-of-town students of both sexes.[2]

In 1930, a new women’s hostel was created out of part of the Fielding Johnson Building. For the University College however, the problem of student accommodation remained. [3]

Even with the additional purchase of land on University Road, the College could not provide sufficient student accommodation without finding more land elsewhere. In December 1946 the College decided to purchase the Knighton Hall estate, and it was subsequently used for the Principal’s residence, in preference to College House on the main site. College House itself, together with the former nurses’ home buildings, became a women’s hall (College Hall).


Students in Knighton Hall junior common room, c.1930

College Hall was later relocated to Knighton Road (opening 1960), with the additional accommodation subsequently following during the same decade: Clare Hall, Salisbury Halls, and various University owned private houses.

A separate hall of residence for men and women remained until 1968/1969 when, ‘after full consolation with student representatives’, the first mixed halls were offered: Digby and Stamford Halls.[4] Each hall had a Junior Common Room, whose affairs were governed by a President and by other members of an elected J.C.R committee.

[1] University of Leicester: A History, Burch, Brian, (University of Leicester Press,1996), p.20

[2] Ibid., p.21

[3] Ibid., p.21

[4] University of Leicester Student Handbook 1969- 1970, University of Leicester Archives, Reference: ULA/P/HB12, pp 21-22