Secrets of the University of Essex part 2

Another term and another year ends. If you’re joining us next year you may have done your research about our campus, or perhaps you’ve been here a while as a student, alumni, or staff member,  but how much do you really know about the secrets of Colchester campus?

So strap yourselves in for the second part on the lesser known facts about the university.

Read Part 1 of Secrets of University of Essex

Or click here for Secrets of Colchester


Lets start with the Hex

The Hex was part of the original university design, where it served as the university restaurant. However, it was not designed by the main Architect Kenneth Capon, but by his assistant instead.

Which probably made Capon mad…

As the Hex was featured on a British postage stamp to mark the most iconic modern British university buildings.6de4482fdf81f82d10b6d0203d6a9c34

Essex: Rock and Roll

The Hex has hosted Pink Floyd on numerous occasions. Other campus performers included AC/DC, Blur and The Smiths. While Sub-Zero (when it was known as the ‘Dance Hall’) has previously hosted The Kinks and Iggy Pop.

Fingers crossed for the day that bands return to perform at Essex!


The concrete used at the university was the most expensive that was available in the 1960’s.

Concrete details

Also, if you look in the Library (and also in the Student Centre where the design has been replicated) you’ll notice that the concrete inside has an effect that makes it look like wood.

DSC_0244Award Winning Buildings

Recent additions to the university campus have also been lovingly designed. In fact the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, Student Centre, Library extension and Business School are all award winning buildings.

Colchester vs Chelmsford

When deciding where the new university should be built, several sites came into consideration. The main contenders were our own Wivenhoe Park or Hylands Park in Chelmsford. Arguably the V Fest would probably have never taken place if we occupied Hylands Park.


The squares under construction in the early 1960’s

Funding the new university

In order to get the construction underway for the new university, it was asked if donations could be put towards developing the 200 acre site. Among the donors were Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

Royal Recognition

The Queen herself has visited the university on two occasions. Additionally,  in 2014 she appointed Professor David Sanders to be the UK’s first Regius Professor of Political Science – the youngest university to receive such an accolade. We’ve only just hit 50 after all!

Essex ghosts

We may have recently hit 50,  but there are a few stories of ghosts on campus. In the 1990’s a young boy claimed to have seen a ghostly man cycling on a penny farthing down Boundary Road. There are also reports that the Nightline flat is haunted by a running man as well!


The confidential student run organisation now exists in over 40 universities in the UK but the whole thing started in 1970 at the University of Essex. Give them a visit between 10pm and 8am at the bottom of Keynes Tower and congratulate them for being the first of their kind!

Mapping history

When going through the maze of corridors take a second to note some of the maps of the university dotted around. In some cases these have not been updated, so show some of the original floor plans for the university. For example the space above The Extra Store used to house the physics department.

And that is just a few more of the things you may not know about the university of Essex. Do get in touch if you know anything else – who knows, there may be a part 3!

3 thoughts on “Secrets of the University of Essex part 2

  1. Pingback: The Beauty of a Campus Uni | i am essex

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