10 Facts about the University of Essex that the prospectus won’t tell you


Most will probably be familiar with the various dates, figures and other data that basically gets thrown at you during open days and other occasions. The facts presented here however are barely mentioned. Everyone enjoys fun-facts, so read on if you’d like to know which amazing bands have walked (or rather played) our campus grounds, or why Essex has the coolest academics. Even if you don’t find the following info-bites as amusing as I do, at the very least you’ll be able to impress with University of Essex related trivia!

  1. More than one famous band has honored our university with their presence (hard to imagine these days I know) so here are 15 of them:
  • The Who
  • Bob Marley
  • Pink Floyd (not once but 6 times)
  • Morrissey
  • AC/DC
  • R.E.M
  • Genesis (remember Phil Collins?)
  • Blur (played twice during the 90s)
  • The Smiths
  • Def Leppard

 More recently:

  • Jamelia
  • Florence + The Machine
  • The Wombats
  • Babyshambles
  • Radiohead




  1. Some of our academic staff are rockstars/pilots/famous for some other reason, so here are 2 examples (yes both from the Sociology department, which is clearly the best):
  •  We have a Professor that has not only produced outstanding research but is also a musician AND happens to have a private pilot licence (guess who? Professor Nick Allum)!
  • We also have a highly renowned Professor who actually interviewed John Lennon in 1971! (Professor Robin Blackburn)


  1. You may have never noticed but we have the UK Data Archive with the country’s largest collection of digital research data in the social sciences and humanities right on our doorstep!

It is the lead organisation of the UK Data Service and provides access to the UK’s collection of social, economic and population data.



  1. An Essex Graduate, Dr Arias, became President of Costa Rica (twice) and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987!


  1. Our very own tin-can (yes I mean the Ivor Crewe) has actually won an award!

Despite being compared to a ‘dustbin’ by Prince Charles, the building was praised during the Civic Trust Awards in 2008.



  1. For the fellow social sciences/theorists obsessed: Among others, Jean Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell sent telegrams in support of the 1968 protests!



  1. At the time of their construction our Towers were the tallest brick buildings in the country!

Bonus Towers-fact: Initially there were supposed to be 28 towers however Kenneth Capon actually only wanted 8 and somehow we ended up with just 6.



  1. We were the first in the country to setup the Nightline service!

In case you haven’t heard of Nightline, it’s the volunteer-run place to go if you need support during odd hours. Whether you’re going through personal troubles, had a rough night out, or simply need a cup of tea and a chat, the students on call will definitely have an open ear for you.


  1. Our university has been eternalized on a stamp!

Issued in 1971 with a set intended to celebrate modern buildings, the commemorative stamp is part of an online gallery for the Royal Mail’s special stamp programme.



  1. Nelson Mandela himself visited our Colchester campus in 1996.

Enough said.  


3 thoughts on “10 Facts about the University of Essex that the prospectus won’t tell you

  1. I was at Essex in the good old days, graduated 1973. Can I add to your bands list, my taste suspended ?
    Fairport Convention, Roxy Music,( as support to Quintessence!) Jack Bruce, Can, Arnold Stockhausen, Velvet Underground,Canned Heat, Vinegar Joe, Imrat Khan, Wings, Graham Bond, Roy Harper, Starz – Syd Barret’s return to the fray.(Gig cancelled, perhaps unsurprisingly).Nucleus and many more. There was a gig or sometimes two each week. That’s all my pensioner’s brain can dredge up for now


  2. I saw you did a study awhile back on trypophobia. Why is this? Ive tried looking up answers and everything I come across. Either can’t get through it with images or the stuff I do read is nonsense not even remotely close do what it does to me and makes me feel. I’ve had this issue since I was 5. When I really started noticing this. I’m 25 now and it’s gotten worse. Until about a year ago I didn’t even know there was a name for it. And people use to laugh and thought I was just weird. So I try not to think about. But it’s starting to interfere with my life. I just want to understand why. I remember it started with the jar of straws. Looking at them from a top view. It really bothered me but just brushed it off. And stopped myself from looking. But through the years it’s progressed to. More and more. I just want to understand.


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