How much has uni changed in the last 40 years?

If you’re at Leeds, not a lot

Did your mum and dad have a better time at uni than you? They’ll probably say they did. They had cheaper drinks, indoor smoking and everything was just a whole lot nicer.

Well now, we can judge for ourselves. This promotional film shows what Leeds Uni was like back in the 1970s.

Fair warning, if you make it through the whole video, you’re a very patient person. It’s four people monotonously talking you through the ins and outs of life at Leeds. A far cry from open days and those lame “welcome to uni guys” talks you had in freshers’ week.

I had a look to see what, if anything, has changed.


You know all those horrible, Stalinist-looking buildings around campus? They were still relatively new back in the seventies. I’m not entirely sure if The Roger Stevens was just as hated back when it was new, but I suspect it probably was.


Roger Stevens opened in 1970



“I think as far as working goes, I could never work in The Brotherton because it always reminds me far too much of church” says one of our narrators.

There is excitement in the air though as a “brand spanking new library” is under construction – they’re talking about the Edward Boyle.

Aww, baby Eddy B.

Aww, baby Eddy B.

You can just imagine their little faces lighting up when Eddy B finally opened in 1975.


Forget Fruity, according to the chalkboards outside the same Union building, ‘Samantha’s’ was where it was at. Judging by the scenes of topless dancing sixteen minutes into the video, it looked incredible. You don’t really get a sense of what the music was like though. One the one hand, there was all the great seventies rock bands, but on the other, there was no Taylor Swift – so who can really judge which is better?

On Thursdays, there was an LUU “drink the bar dry” night, something I’ve never seen in all my time here. Old Bar will have been there, without the posh sofas but a hell of a lot smokier.

Smashing pints with the squad

Smashing pints with the squad

Not everyone was keen, one said: “The union is very large, but whether it has anything else to commend it is a matter for debate.”

I bet he had loads of mates.


It’s hard to judge whether these guys were a representative sample of Leeds girls and boys in the seventies, but there certainly don’t seem to be many wavy garms on display. The top knot had yet to make its debut in West Yorkshire, and none of these guys would have had the faintest idea what an “Air Max” was.

You were nothing if you were a bloke without long hair though.




The student paper

The video allows us to be a fly on the wall at a “Leeds Student” meeting. You’ll notice an all-male editorial team deciding on what to put on the back page.

They elect for a photo of a female Maths fresher for what was apparently a regular feature called “Leeds Lovely.” If FemSoc had been around then there’d have been hell to pay.


Where’s our ‘Leeds Lovely’, Gryphon?


Has Uni changed that much? Not really, we don’t dress quite the same but we still learn and get drunk in pretty much the same grim buildings that the previous generation did.

Still waiting on that “drink the bar dry” night though, OB.