Murray Hall: Forever in our hearts

It was a shithole, but it was our shithole

campus Geddes halls murray hall stirling university

It’s been nearly two years since Murray Hall was reduced to a pile of rubble.

And let’s be honest, a pile of rubble would probably have made a better home than the breeze block favela that was Murray Hall.

These days Murray veterans are taunted by the sight of Beech every time they stroll around campus, left with only sweet memories and a touch of liver failure for comfort.

For those not lucky enough to experience its debauchery think what Geddes would be like if a bomb hit it. From squirrels stealing your food to windows literally just falling out of their frames Murray really did have it all, with the odd bat making itself at home for good measure.

The Murray Hall squirrels went nuts for Hovis

The Murray Hall squirrels went nuts for Hovis

But for all its faults, hundreds of freshers were given the honour of calling Murray home. The person who stayed in my room the year before me left a friendly engraving on one of my shelves: “This will be the best year of your life.”

And I’m not afraid to admit that living in that slum probably was the best year of my life. Many of my fellow residents, now horribly stressed third years, also share fond memories of our time living in the accommodation equivalent of Frosty Jacks – shite, but battle through and you’ll end up having a good time anyway.

Murray Hall: The gold at the end of the rainbow

Journalism student Amy McCready said: “Although the building was a crumbling shithole, Murray still had a sort of community vibe.

“I’ve had so many good nights spent in the kitchen with everyone. I miss the craic a lot. First year was good because of Murray.”

Amy High on life

Amy high on life

Third year Psychology student Ciaran Matheson also has fond memories of his Murray social life: “The best thing about Murray Hall was definitely the social side of it – pretty much everyone knew each other.

“You could come back from uni or work and nine times out of 10 – people would be drinking, or doing something. We were hardly ever bored.”

Ain't no party like a Murray Hall party

Ain’t no party like a Murray Hall party

Law student Michael Tunnicliffe, another Murray Hall veteran, said: “I personally loved Murray Hall because it felt like you were part of a community rather than a restricted flat.

“Literally, you would know everyone on each level and each kitchen. There was always somebody doing something so you were never alone!

“Sure, we had to share one shower between 15 people but once you got used to that it was grand.”

Murray Hall was the only place in the world that had safety deposit boxes filled mostly with fridge raiders and babybells

Murray Hall was the only place in the world that had safety deposit boxes filled mostly with fridge raiders and babybells

Marketing and Sports Studies third year Jamie Haughey did point out some minor flaws: “The fact it reminded me of a prison was nice, 18 people to a kitchen with small locked cubicles in the fridge was a particular highlight.

“The communal showers were always an interesting place to discuss life’s big issues. We had a dying bat in a pile of dishes that had gathered in a box outside of our kitchen.

Finding a bat in your sink is not cool

“Saying that, I wouldn’t have changed where I lived in first year, everyone was down to earth and friendly, someone was always up for a laugh.”

Primary education student Claire Griffiths also had a few issues with the living conditions: “We ended up with a board in our kitchen window for months on end after it broke.

“Nobody bothered to fix anything with any haste since they were knocking the building down.

“Everyone who came to visit was fairly horrified by the state of the building, and all commented on how much it looked like a prison!”

Murray Halls: The Prison of our hearts

Murray Halls: The Prison of our hearts

Business and politics student Michael Dogan gave an insight to the darker side of Murray Hall: “One time at Murray Hall a drug dealer named ‘Ducky’ moved in next to one of my best mates before starting a campaign of terror by stealing from random kitchens round about the place, and using MY NAME.

“The most bizarre thing is I never met him in person once. To this day I still don’t know if he is real or some fight club-esque personality disorder.

“Ducky got kicked out of halls after about three weeks for something completely unrelated and none of my friends have heard from him since.”

Ducky left no kitchen un-plundered

Ducky left no kitchen un-plundered

Murray’s imminent demolition also contributed to the experience according to Criminology student Jenny Martin, who said: “I don’t think much had changed about the building since it was built in the 60s and sharing a kitchen with 16 plus people was definitely a challenge at times.

“But living there in its final year meant not having to take anything too seriously, which was probably a good thing.”

Murray Hall residents were renowned for being laid back

Murray Hall residents were renowned for being laid back

So despite having to live in a building which bore more of a resemblance to Alcatraz than any student halls, Murray seems to have given many happy memories to its residents.

Living in there may have been the student equivalent of tramps banding around a burning barrel to survive, but it was our student equivalent of tramps banding around a barrel to survive.

Personally, I sometimes wish I could go back for another year. But then I sober up.