Understanding Charles Morris

We sent our resident anthropologist Katie Jackson down to try and understand Leeds’s most exclusive hall


Venturing just off the beaten track of the familiar Leeds Union lies the elusive community of Charles Morris. Shrouded in partial captivity during the evening hours, this pack is among the most difficult of all the tribes around Leeds to infiltrate, the outsider requiring either expert climbing skills or links within the tribal settlement itself.

The inhabitants of this community follow a fixed routine that has little variance from winter to summer months.

Living in a semi-permanent hibernation, it is rare to see life before midday and when awoken after a long night in the wilderness, the people of Charles Morris emerge hungry and intoxicated.

Unlike other tribes of the area, the Charles Morris tribe do not rely on their own foraging skills but instead are fed in luxury at the Refectory. It is not difficult to spot these creatures in the union with their trays, moving slowly in order to conserve energy levels – much like a sloth.

Although a large community, much of the pack is connected to one another through degrees of separation stemming from what London-based private school they attended or what time they migrated to Thailand in their “Gap Year”.

During the afternoons it is easy to observe across the tundra of Storm Jameson Court a gathering of these species settling by the outside benches. Many or all of these individuals sport a trademark uniform of protective One Pieces and Ugg boots- clothing favoured by the people of Charles Morris to shelter them from the harsh northern weather that is much unlike that of their native habitat of southwest London.

A rare image of a resident in its natural environment

The males of Charles Morris can be easily identified on the open plains of Leeds University campus from their heady aroma of Lynx Africa, bright white high tops and their extenuation of vowels in everyday speech.

The alpha males of the pack assert their dominance through their display of various flat caps – much like the antlers of a wild stag and ironically, the most affluent of these are identifiable through their almost constant wear of one particular outfit, most likely including a pair of tracksuit bottoms.

Females are more diverse in appearance, with a distinct split between those that take regular care of their appearance and those that do not. Every Monday at 10pm gatherings of these females assemble to watch ‘Made in Chelsea’, pointing out when the camera pans past their house or which cast member they met previously in ‘151 on the KR’.

The community itself, however, does appear to implement an apparent class system, with those inhabitants of Storm Jameson enjoying facilities beyond the relative squalor of Dobree and Whetton.

Such members enjoy the luxury of a futuristic capsule-like cabin that is run entirely from an electrical key and boasts an en-suite bathroom that is the equivalent to washing inside an iPod dock.

One member sends a warning call, alerting others of any danger

Alas, for the inhabitants of Dobree and Whetton these amenities are sparse. Groups of two are forced to battle over their shared unlockable bathrooms and live in constant fear of their privacy being breeched when most vulnerable- a battlefield unthinkable for those in Storm Jameson. Clearly the resources of this tribe are anything but equally spread.

The colony itself is protected by round-the-clock security. The relationship between the colony and their gatekeepers is precarious, as with any wild animals kept in partial captivity.  It is not unusual to see female members of the species after meeting with their pack scaling the gates of the compound in an act of open rebellion against the security measures put in place to protect them. Although the tribe consider themselves finally free from their old restrictive habitat of boarding school, it is interesting to note their choice to reinsert themselves back into the protective holding pen environment offered by Charles Morris.

A gated fence marks the settlement’s boundaries

It is indeed fascinating to delve into the fragile ecosystem that hangs in the balance just meters from the usual Leeds student in their day-to-day life.

These creatures – although marked by their fascinating tribal activities – must not be looked upon as alien. Indeed it is very possible to see ourselves in their faces. As the natural course of evolution dictates, most adapt to their environment after a year and migrate to new, fertile stomping grounds.

In fact, has been estimated by zoologists that in Hyde Park you are never further than 50 meters from an ex Charles Morris tribe member.