Secrets of Stopford

Ever wondered about Stopford’s 4th floor zoo? The Tab reveals all..

Stopford Building university of manchester school of medicine

The Stopford Building. A concrete monstrosity looming over Oxford Road, guarded by the fiercest of reception trolls with exit gates intent on castrating every male they come into contact with. But as many of us know, this tardis of science related-learning harbours dark, dark secrets.  So, is there any truth behind the rumours?


The ugly grey building that houses a million mysteries

1. The 4th floor zoo

The very first rumour every life sciences undergrad is told…passing whispers in the corridors, the occasional stray animal rights activist outside Stopford.  Word on the street is that the ferocious swipe gates were introduced after animal rights activists, posing as students, broke into the building and wreaked havoc.  And indeed, maybe the residents of Chester Zoo do have a second home.  Visible from the far side of the quad, and accessible by special lifts, a secluded floor apparently exists to house animals in the name of scientific research. Monkeys, dogs, kangaroos (yes, I actually heard this one) – you name it, Stopford apparently provides it. Lets envisage a tropical rainforest complete with Dr Varnick (that crazy scientist from Beethoven) running around willy-nilly in a panama hat, cornering monkeys with oversized syringes.  The truth here? Unlikely.  Yes, Stopford as a centre of scientific learning and research probably does house animals for testing.  Monkeys, dogs and kangaroos? No. Mice, frogs and fruit flies? Yes. Ah well, it makes a great story.


About as tropical as it gets.

2. The secret Starbucks

Yes, it’s true.  A sophisticated alternative to Chromo-zone (c’mon, who came up with that?) the Stopford Starbucks is a mysterious wonder behind the incubator doors.  One of the more far-fetched secret Starbucks rumours, that all drinks are a pound, is unfortunately false.   Sadly, its elusive reputation is maintained by restricted access. This I found out the hard way – spurred on by stories of friends getting special access on their lowly student cards ‘for meetings’ I approached the front desk trolls. Unsurprisingly, vicious Barbara laughed me out of the building. Ironically now in possession of a shiny new staff card, I recently had an actual meeting in this secret Starbucks – the experience was more disappointing than no longer being able to get my chubby hand down a pringles tube.

A much less secretive Starbucks

A much less secretive Starbucks

3. The cadavers

Once upon a time, an inebriated medic told me bodies donated for dissection were brought in through Stopford’s backdoor in the dead of night.  This creepy rumour immediately caught my attention. Given some thought, it’s highly likely. Scientific research in the form of dissection is of course very important to the University. Coupled to the impractical issues of a  ‘Stopford special delivery’ with the morning sandwich delivery, makes this rumour even more probable. It’s probably best the poor souls are brought in round the back; vicious Barbara would probably make them swipe a student card otherwise…

Steve Cross was not harmed in the making of this article

Steve Cross was not harmed in the making of this article

So there we have it, the Stopford Building – Life Sciences hub of the University and rumour mill extraordinaire.