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Slems Stories: delving into the history of the Hall's alumni

To coincide with the University of Manchester’s bi-centenary celebrations, the St Anselm Hall Association is excited to launch a new project showcasing some of the rich history of one of the University's oldest halls of residence: Slems Stories.

St Anselm Hall has a rich and colourful history. Since its foundation in 1907 as St Anselm Hostel, many of the hall’s alumni have contributed in significant ways to their particular fields and to wider society. This exciting new project seeks to tell some of their stories.

“It is important we tell the story of the early alumni and the things they went on to do." - Izzy Sumner, Hall Archivist.

Working from recently discovered original archive material, Slems Stories recounts the achievements of some of the earliest alumni and will also offer a living history of life in Hall from former students of the 1950s, 1960s and 2020s in their own words.

Hall Archivist Izzy Sumner, herself a former resident of St Anselm Hall, has drawn together the stories of three of the original Slemsmen: Graham Brade-Birks, Benjamin Pollard and Spencer Wade. Each story is a fascinating insight into their careers and lives, with St Anselm Hall in the University of Manchester as a common starting point.

The Hall today continues to provide many qualities that are valued by those often making the first step away from home. That support and sense of community is nothing new and through Slems Stories can be traced back to the founding of the Hall at the turn of the last century.

“The world and the University were very different in the early 20th century, but it is fascinating to see how young undergraduates were supported on the first steps of their career journey and what they went on to achieve" - Izzy Sumner, Hall Archivist

The aim of the project is to highlight the past and current riches held within St Anselm Hall's walls: a vibrant community, a vibrant community, the willingness of residents to contribute to life in hall and the importance of self-management. Despite times changing there are nevertheless common themes that emerge. St Anselm Hall Alumni Association hopes this new project will provide insight into once lost memories and a space for alumni and friends to remember good times in Hall.

The first Slems students with Reverend Allworthy (top second left).

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