Eastbourne Looking Back: Memories of a PE student at the University of Brighton - part two

This year, the University of Brighton will close its doors in Eastbourne and move to its Falmer campus – 75 years after first opening in our town. Steph Lock, a former student, is sharing the memories she made while training to be a PE teacher at the university in 1978.

Chelsea College of Physical Education was exactly that: a place where we played and learnt about sport. A lot. Today’s memories are a recollection of some of those activities…

Let’s start with Modern Educational Gymnastics, to give it its full title. We had to perform what we would eventually be teaching: a perfect forward roll, handstand etc, while including connecting movements – steps and jumps, to make a fluid sequence. Hmmm... Students precariously balancing upside-down, limbs akimbo, is a vision that still comes back to me when I least expect it.

I played lacrosse at school. Hockey, however, was the main field sport at college. Part of the appeal of lacrosse was maybe the danger! You run towards goal while ‘cradling’ the ball in the net of your upright stick, as your opponent tries to whack it out! Well, I ask you: wooden stick versus flesh and bone? Yes, black eyes and bruises were a thing.

A compulsory part of our acceptance to College was to achieve the Bronze Medallion in Life Saving. But if you weren’t a good swimmer, it was brutal! To some, it was a mountain to climb. Or an ocean to swim. But, it had to be done! Similarly, we had compulsory swimming ‘grades’, which included a length of butterfly. Certainly memorable, but mostly for the wrong reasons!

When I was at College, The John Fulton Hall was a relatively new addition. With its sprung floor, plus sound and lighting box, dance lectures had an extra edge! Dance companies and professional dancers visited to take workshops; performances were put on, and the College gained a justifiable reputation in this area.

Interesting fact:

In many ways, Chelsea College was similar to school. For example, we had ‘lessons’ (lectures) for most of the day, and we had a canteen, which was next to where the Welkin Halls of Residence are now. Those living in hostels (halls) had their food provided. But dragging ourselves up and out of Granny’s (Granville Crest), early on a cold, wet morning, was rarely a welcome start to the day!

All photos have been contributed by Steph Lock.

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