Archive and Special Collections

No ghosts. No echoes.

At 3 p.m. on 13 June 2013 I stood in the heavy silence of the Great Hall. Exactly the same spot where one hundred years earlier J.A. Pease, President of the Board of Education, began his speech opening the Leeds Training College’s new home at Beckett Park.
Guests mingle at the entrance of the Education Block, 1913.

It seemed an appropriate place for me to be to mark this significant moment in the life-cycle of buildings that have become so intimately linked to my working life.

I heard no ghosts. No echoes. There was no murmur of satisfaction at a job well done. No echoes of ‘hear hear’ or polite laughter at the Minister’s speech. I did not hear the scrape of chairs on a wooden floor as a lone ‘elderly’ suffragette stood up to interrupt proceedings nor the resulting derisive jeers from the gathered dignitaries and guests. Nor did I hear ‘God Save the King’ fill the hall to close the proceedings.

There was no pomp to mark the moment, no circumstance or fuss. There was only a solemn stillness, a counterpoint to the loud speeches, brass bands and high tea of a century ago.

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