University appeals for help to remember roots

Nearly two centuries of higher education in Preston will be celebrated - providing people are willing to share their memories.

Thursday, 25th January 2018, 3:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th January 2018, 4:35 pm
UCLan anniversary: Avenham Building at the Institute of the Diffusion Knowledge

Former staff and students, and anyone else connected with the University of Central Lancashire, are being asked to help create an online archive to celebrate the institution’s 190th anniversary.

The university can trace its roots back to 1828 when the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge was set up in the city centre by local cheesemonger, philanthropist and founder of the Temperance Movement, Joseph Livesey.

By 1882, financial backing from Edmund Harris led to it being renamed the Harris Institute, which went on to become the Harris College in 1956.

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Another name change 17 years later saw another change as the college expanded to become Preston Polytechnic.

1984 saw it named Lancashire Polytechnic and then in 1992 it was confirmed as the University of Central Lancashire.

Besides growing in student numbers, the site and nature of the institution has changed dramatically since the inception. Although a large percentage of students come from the North West the university has extensive links with partner colleges and overseas associations.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas said: “During our long and proud history the name above the door might have changed but the values have remained the same.

“Today we are a thriving global community with 38,000 students and staff and more than 181,000 alumni based around the world but our heart remains firmly in Preston where we are proud to play a key role in the future of the city and the region.

“This year’s 190th celebrations will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our rich heritage and look towards our exciting future.”

UCLan is looking for people who, for example, may have a generational link to the institution.

Staff and students joined together to mark the beginning of the celebrations when they were photographer together in the shape of a giant ‘190’.

To share your stories visit or use #UCLan190 on social media.

See how the 190 shape was created at