In honour of its 100th birthday (and Valentine’s Day), University of Sheffield alumna Kaye Alexander introduces Peter Blundell Jones’ history of the School of Architecture
University of Sheffield School of Architecture 1908-2008: A Centenary History. By Peter Blundell Jones. University of Sheffield/BDR Publications
This book charting Sheffield School of Architecture’s 100-year existence is not remarkable for what it celebrates (Sheffield is certainly not the first school to reach this ripe old age), but for its anecdotal history.
Written by school head Peter Blundell Jones, in many ways the story of Sheffield is that of most UK schools, and thus its appeal is not in the general, but in the specific. The careful rediscovery and dusting off of student work, and the biographies of key personalities are telling illustrations of a school which holds its past charges and staff in such reverence.
The following extract, from a section headed ‘Student experience of the late 1960s’, charts a period when the school began taking the final steps towards becoming the institution recognisable today – including its colonisation of the Arts Tower’s upper floors, its standardised course structure and its ethos of pragmatism. See bellow for the excerpt.