Visiting Exeter University, Exeter, England: academic and herbaceous maturity

Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
University of Exeter: Washington Singer and Roborough buildings
University of Exeter: Washington Singer and Roborough buildings | Source
The Washngton Singer Building, University of Exeter
The Washngton Singer Building, University of Exeter | Source
 Streatham Drive. One of main arteries of Exeter University's Streatham campus climbing past the Washington Singer building (right).
Streatham Drive. One of main arteries of Exeter University's Streatham campus climbing past the Washington Singer building (right). | Source
Tree colours, University of Exeter campus A variety of shades on offer by Streatham Drive, west of Washington Singer.
Tree colours, University of Exeter campus A variety of shades on offer by Streatham Drive, west of Washington Singer. | Source
University of Exeter Clock Tower
University of Exeter Clock Tower | Source

Trees and more trees

Exeter University was founded in 1922. Except that it wasn't called this at that time. In fact, it went by quite a mouthful. (None of the simplicity of 'CalTech', 'MIT', etc.!) No; for the first decades of its existence it was called the 'University College of the South West of England' (1). But because an exisiting college known as the Royal Albert Memorial College, later absorbed into the University, was founded in 1900, some people give 1900 as the date when the University was 'really' founded.

Then in 1955, the institution received a charter of incorporation as an independent university in its own right; from this time onwards it has been known as the University of Exeter or, Exeter University.

Anyway, the institution has now had ample time to achieve maturity. Not least, in the parkland in which the University's main site is situated.

This, the Streatham site of the University, runs to over 120 hectares. Many mature conifers are present, including those in a a pinetum, as is a wide variety of flowering plants, including rhododendrons, azeleas, magnolias and camellias. The parkland predates the University itself and was originally landscaped in the 19th century by the Veitch firm.

Among the most substantial of the earlier buildings belonging to the University is the Washington Singer Building (2). This structure is shown in a number of the photos (right). This sedate edifice was built in 1931, designed by Vincent Harris (1876-1971) (3). The building is now used by the Department of Psychology.

Also seen is the Roborough Building (close to the Washington Singer Building) which dates from 1938/40. This building was also designed by Vincent Harris.

One of the most conspicuous structures on the site (below, right) is the Tower.

As well as the Streatham campus, described here, Exeter University also has in the City of Exeter its St Luke's campus.

A few of Exeter University's distinguished alumae have been: Canadian Pulitzer prizewinning writer Carol Shields, writer J K Rowling and lawyer Fiona Shackleton; a few of the Univesity's distinguished alumni have included former Canadian Justice Minister the Honourable Martin Cauchon, President of Turkey Abdullah Gül, historian Gilbert Trausch; and many others.

The first Chancellor of the University was Mary Cavendish, Her Grace the Duchess of Devonshire (1895-1988).

September 25, 2013

Notes

(1) Devon being the only English county with a land border with Cornwall, the University College based in Exeter, Devon, was supposed to 'do' for Cornwall, also. Interestingly, there is now an Institute of Cornish Studies linked with Exeter University.

In the early 20th century, Exeter's fledgling University College wasn't the only university level institution with a mouthful of a name; at Cardiff there was the 'University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire'; true to form, this university institution has kept changing its name, including even in recent years. The University of Exeter, however, seems to have found serenity in its title for well over 50 years.

(2) Named for a significant benefactor of the University.

(3) Other buildings by architect Harris include the Manchester Central Library and Glamorgan County Hall, Cardiff. The architect also designed the Mary Harris Memorial Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Exeter University.


Map location of Exeter, England
Map location of Exeter, England | Source

Also worth seeing

In Exeter itself, various, other visitor attractions include the city's ancient Cathedral and its Guildhall. The city is a good base for excursions to Dartmoor, which traditionally draws very large numbers of visitors.

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How to get there: Flybe flies from Manchester Airport (England) , with worldwide connections, to Exeter Airport, where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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