student life

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the University of Leeds

Written by Emily Murray

The University of Leeds is one of the biggest universities in Britain being home to around 31,000 students, and in my opinion it is also the best! Being such a big university, there are some rather unusual facts about it…

1. Never-ending corridors…

Like corridors? Well, the University of Leeds is the place for you! The infamous Red Route that runs through EC Stoner (yes we really do have a building called that) is home to the lazier students on campus who do not wish to face the mountain of stairs that lies between them and the union. However, did you also know that it is allegedly the second longest corridor in Europe, previously the longest. There is actually an art installation piece surrounding the famous corridor which you can read all about here!

2. The Who?

You don’t really know the university’s Refectory until you know this fact. As a student ambassador, we tell visitors a few interesting facts about Leeds Uni on the campus tours, and the dads always love the fact that The Who: Live At Leeds was recorded in our very own catering hall back in 1970, the first live album made by the band. Often cited as the best live recording of all time, it has legendary status in the music industry, and it was all recorded where we eat our dinners!

3. Really… Damien Hirst?

An infamous building on campus is the Roger Stevens building, a maze of lecture theatres in perhaps the grimmest-looking building that ever existed. (Sadly, we can’t knock it down because it is grade two listed – booo!). Built in the 1960s to be riot proof, it comes complete with a shabby interior, confusing layout to prevent those naughty students gathering to riot and a grey exterior that is far from aesthetically pleasing. However, the rumour on the street is that it is a building much admired by popular artist Damien Hirst. But can we really trust a man who saws cows in half for art?

4. Home to the stars

One of Leeds’ most famous alumnus is Chris Pine.Yes, Captain Kirk himself studied English for a year at our university on his study abroad year as part of his degree. So English students… you could very well be sitting in a chair Pine sat in himself. Fancy that!

5. Taught by Tolkein

The University of Leeds is not just home to famous students, but even some of the professors too are well known. Take J.R.R. Tolkein, for example, creator and writer of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, and every fantasy fan boy’s hero. Well, he was a professor here at the University of Leeds as an authority in Icelandic literature.

6. Music, music, music

Leeds, of course, is a centre for music, and popular bands are always playing on campus at sell-out gigs. Bands do not just play at Leeds Uni though, some have actually formed here, with Alt-J being one of the most recent bands to form on campus after meeting during their studies at the university. Since they have gone on to take the world by storm and win a Mercury award for Best Album. Even Bastille frontman, Dan Smith, studied here! 

7. Marks and Sparks

Fancy visiting a Marks and Spencer archive? Well the University of Leeds is the place to go! The company was founded in Leeds’ very own market back in 1884 and has since become a household name. Working in a unique partnership with the university, if you wish to look at old catalogues, clothes and learn about the history of the shop, go visit the archive located on campus. It really is a lot more interesting than it sounds!

8. Rumour has it?

Online and on campus there are many rumours that due to some of the, at the time, futuristic buildings based on the site of the university, parts of Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange and Logan’s Run were filmed on our very own Yorkshire campus. Sadly though, none of these are true, with the wonderful campus being pretty much an unused set. However, the campus did feature in 1970s television show, Raffles, not that any of us know what that is…

9. Our union ROCKS!

The Leeds University Union is officially one of the best unions in the country, if not the best having won a record two NUS Gold Standard awards. It is certainly one of the largest, being home to around 300 clubs and societies, three nightclubs, two bars and hosts various events for all to enjoy. Everyone is always blown away by the union, and I certainly have never seen better.

10. Talking about events…

The university hosts some unusual events that seem to always attract big crowds, and some weird glances from students based on campus. For example, every year the Union hosts the Damnation festival, Britain’s premier metal festival that sees fans from across the country come together at the union to rock out to some of the best underground metal bands in the country. One year, the campus was swarming with ‘zombies’ as part of a Halloween-themed event. You can’t say that the University of Leeds doesn’t try and cater to everyone’s interests! 

What do you think? What are your thoughts on Leeds and its University? Leave your comments below!