It’s kind of unusual writing about Keele because I have lived here for 3 years, even more so because I write about travelling and Keele has an ephemeral population of about 9,000 (mostly students) and is a small village in North Staffordshire. Is it unusual to combined travel writing with home? It is something I have been questioning but I have come to the conclusion its not. In September I’ll be living in Glasgow (hopefully) so I am almost certain I will write about it, and I have been considering writing about Chester too. The places I live have a lot to offer and Keele is no different!
The past three years have flown by and I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute of it. Everyone I have met has been amazing and I have, to use the often cheesy remark, made friends for life. I’ll be graduating with a BA in Geography in less than two months and having always wanted a degree and to study even further this is a dream come true. Keele constantly rates high for student satisfaction and courses ratings and when you are here it is obvious why. As a small campus university away from major cities people may think there isn’t much to do but Keele has lots to offer.
The iconic place in Keele is of course Keele Hall, a 19th Century mansion house and grade II listed building formerly owned by the Sneyd family. The Hall was requisitioned by the army during WWII and in 1948, with funding, the Keele estate was purchased from Ralph Sneyd for the establishment of the University College of North Staffordshire, which in 1962 became Keele University. When it is warm Keele Hall and the gardens fill with students and is the best place on campus to enjoy a sunny day relaxing with friends. The series of lakes stretch far and are an enjoyable walk. I have spent numerous days there after exams with friends relaxing, reading and listening to music. I even wrote part of this post there. Not only is it a great place to relax but it is also where Keele students attend academic course balls, sports balls and events. The public can even get married there!
The clock house was built in the 1830s, and it is likely that the clock was installed about 10 years later. It was made by G&F Cope of Nottingham, a firm which was founded in 1845. The clock was located above the arch leading to Clock House Drive, with the face over the arch on the courtyard side. There are lots of myths about the clock house as its clock hands disappeared and no-one knows how (read the myths here), however a knew clock face was installed just last year. The clock house is at the top of the old drive way and is now home to music related degrees. It is nice to walk along the drive and around the clockhouse and it is a famous place for dissertation related pictures.
The observatory was founded in 1962 to host a refractor dating back to 1874. It has since undergone significant refurbishment in 2009. The observatory has played host to many events including the Stargazing series on BBC with Professor Brian Cox and Dara O’ Briain and has public opening times. I find the observatory the best part of Keele, the walk to the observatory is great and there are statutes for the planets in the solar system and facts about them. Even better is that they are at a correctly scaled down distanced from each other too. The view from the top of the hill which the observatory sits is incredible and you can see far over the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
Keele has been three of the best years ever, words can’t describe how great it has been from eating Chancellor’s breakfast to watching Varisty, my Keele experience has been awesome. I have met so many people from all over the UK and have genuinely enjoyed my degree so much I am going to do a masters at Glasgow University. The good thing is that some of my friends are staying so I’ll definitely be back soon!
Twitter and Instagram: @JamieArathoon