Driving into Lincoln each morning, I have the pleasure of watching the new building developments grow before my very eyes. Having moved from Scotland to live in Lincoln in the mid 80s, I recall the days before the bypass, the university and the Tritton Road developments.
I remember living just off Doddington Road and walking across fields to reach Woodlands Junior School, where I spent my final years as a primary student.
In my mind, that expanse of field was considerable and it seemed to take a long time to walk across each morning. When I returned to Lincoln in my early 30s the field was filled with new housing and, from my new perspective, everything had seemingly shrunk. It is amazing how, as the years pass, our perspective of what is around us changes so remarkably.
Lincoln has experienced extensive growth in these intervening years and I have enjoyed watching the developments unfold.
I appreciate the thoughtful architecture that allows a new building to nestle comfortably into the historic skyline and value the minimal disruption to daily life, a result of considerate building contractors.
As much as I appreciate the new developments, my heart is warmed by my daily drive to our college. As I drive towards the entrance, the Grade II listed building seems to look down upon me, reminding me of its significance in educational history.
Since 1893, many feet have trod the path, entered the building and engaged in education. The archives tell the tales of the young women educated in the Girls School, the students who studied art and design with the university and now, our own scientists and engineers who are laying the foundations for their careers.
We so often learn about history through viewing archives, but this week I was fortunate to hear first hand about education in the Girls School in the mid 1900s.
Last month I was contacted by Jo Saxby, an Old Girl, with a request to tour the UTC and I was delighted to welcome Jo and a group of her school friends last Thursday afternoon.
As they entered the building, their lively chatter and excitement filled the Old Café. They explored our classrooms and told tales of their schoolmistresses and the subjects and activities they enjoyed during their education.
Their individual memories were pieced together to paint a vivid picture of a happy, purposeful and valued education.
As we admired the way the building has been carefully restored, I felt as though I was looking at it through new eyes.
Seeing Jo and her friends chattering through the corridors and hearing their laughter as they shared tales of schoolgirl pranks and escapades, I appreciated more fully the importance of the UTC’s presence in the old ‘Greestone Place’ building.
I appreciate that there are many Old Girls and university students, who may well be curious to see inside their old haunts and share their stories and experiences.
We have an Open Evening on May 16 from 5-7pm and I would be honoured to welcome them alongside potential UTC applicants.
I do hope that they take a moment to get in touch with us and share their memories so that the history of this glorious building and all who were educated here can be truly appreciated.
Dr. Rona Mackenzie is Principal of Lincoln University Technical College (UTC). She has a strong background in education, having worked in six local authorities during her career, and is passionate about providing an education that meet the needs of young people and their community industries. She is a keen sportswoman and mountaineer, recently trekking to Everest Base Camp, and has an interest in photography.