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St Martin's College

St Martin's College
Motto Scio cui credidi (I know Him in whom I have believed)
Established 1964–2007
Type Higher Education College
Location Lancaster, Ambleside, Carlisle, Whitehaven, Barrow and London, UK

St Martin's College was a British Higher Education College with campuses in Lancaster, Ambleside and Carlisle, as well as sites in Whitehaven, Barrow and London. It provided undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the arts, humanities, business studies, teacher training, health and social care. In 2006 the College was granted the power to award its own degrees (prior to this they were accredited by Lancaster University). On 1 August 2007, the College merged with other institutions to form the University of Cumbria.


  • History 1
  • Academic portfolio 2
  • Locations 3
  • Merger 4
  • Campus Closure 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


St Martin's College opened in 1964, founded by the Church of England as a College of Education to train teachers, one of only two Church Colleges to be established in the 20th Century. Built on the former site of Bowerham Barracks, the College opened with 89 students. The College was officially opened by the Queen Mother in 1967.

The College is named after St Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who tore his cloak in two to clothe a naked beggar and later had a vision of Christ wearing the cloak. It is significant because just as St Martin renounced his life as a soldier after this to take on a life of caring and teaching, Bowerham Barracks left behind its military past to become a Church College.

The College’s founder Principal was Dr Hugh Pollard, who stayed with the College until his retirement in 1976. He had overseen the College’s establishment and led it through its formative years. The student population had grown to 700 students by the time of Dr Pollard’s retirement.

He was replaced by Robert Clayton, who had been previously Principal of Matlock College in Derbyshire. During his time in charge, the college branched out into Health, Radiography and Nursing courses, areas that would form a substantial part of the College’s provision from then on. In 1989, Mr Clayton announced his intention to retire. His replacement was Dr Ian Edynbry, formerly Vice-Principal of Worcester College of Higher Education and Assistant Principal at Middlesex Polytechnic.

Dr. Edynbry was to oversee the College’s greatest expansion to date, as St Martin’s started to establish campuses in Cumbria. In 1996, Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside became part of St Martin’s College to become its first campus in Cumbria.

This was soon followed in 1998 by the College’s acquisition of Carlisle’s former City General Hospital and City Maternity Hospital (originally a Workhouse) on Fusehill Street. The College had been active in Carlisle since 1995, since its takeover of the Lakeland College of Nursing. The Carlisle Campus has subsequently been redeveloped with modern facilities including en-suite student accommodation, a sports complex and most recently the Learning Gateway, a building kitted out with state-of-the-art IT to aid flexible and distributed learning.

It was left to Dr Edynbry’s successor to take these new campus developments forward, as he announced he was to retire earlier than expected in 1997. The new Principal was Professor Chris Carr, whose previous role was as Pro-Vice Chancellor of University of Central Lancashire. Professor Carr took on the challenge of bringing cohesion to a diverse and multi-campus institution, whilst encouraging further diversification and expansion. Developments have been constant on each campus during that time, with new sports complexes built in Carlisle and Lancaster, a new library named the Charlotte Mason Library on the Ambleside Campus and new en-suite halls of residence built on the Carlisle Campus. The Alexandra Building was opened on the Lancaster Campus in 2004, a teaching and learning block with dedicated facilities for the arts.

As of 2005, over 11,500 students study at St Martin’s College, employing over 1000 dedicated staff. The College has a substantial national reputation in teacher training and nursing, as the largest provider of teachers in the UK and a major provider of Health Care Practitioners in the North and North-West.

Academic portfolio

The College has a significant undergraduate and postgraduate portfolio with degrees accredited by Lancaster University. As the largest provider of Higher Education in Cumbria, St Martin’s College offers a wide range of courses from the traditional academic subjects to Sport Studies, British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited Psychology, Information Technology and Environmental Management, to name just a few.

The College is made up of three Faculties, which are split into schools and divisions. They are:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Business and Community Enterprise Unit
  • School of Applied Social Sciences
  • School of Business and Enterprise
  • School of Culture, Media and the Environment
  • School of Sport and Outdoor Studies

Faculty of Education

  • Division of Education Studies
  • Division of English and Literacy
  • Division of History and Geography
  • Division of Information and Communication Technology Education
  • Division of Mathematics Education
  • Division of Modern Foreign Languages
  • Division of Religion and Philosophy
  • Division of Science and Technology
  • Educational Development Unit
  • Division of Childhood, Adolescent and Creative Studies

Faculty of Health and Social Care

  • Division of Social Work and Applied Behavioural Sciences
  • Division of Medical Imaging Sciences
  • Division of Rehabilitation and Public Health
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery, which contains:
    • Directorate of Pre-Registration Nursing
    • Directorate of Learning in Practice
    • Directorate of CPD and Midwifery
    • Directorate of Advanced Clinical Practice
    • Directorate of Community and Public Nursing


The college was located in the historic cities of Lancaster and Carlisle and in the Lake District. There are a wide range of clubs, bars and other activities available, as well as a variety of outdoor activities in the Lake District.

New buildings including a new library and learning resource centre in Ambleside, a modern sports centre in Carlisle and purpose built teaching facilities in Lancaster have been added in the last few years, totalling over £20 million, and more development and expansion is planned for the future.


St Martin's College, Cumbria Institute of the Arts and the Cumbrian sites of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Carlisle and Penrith amalgamated to form the University of Cumbria on 1 August 2007. This was instigated by a HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) report by Sir Martin Harris, published in September 2005, which recommended the amalgamation of the two institutions (UCLan's involvement came about after the report was published) to best serve the higher education needs of Cumbria.

Campus Closure

On 1 December 2009, it was announced that the Ambleside Campus would be 'mothballed' at the end of July 2010, and will no longer take new undergraduate students. The action by the University of Cumbria, if seen through, will end over 175 years of heritage[1] and a protest was held on 1 December 2009 by the student body, with more action to follow. This is despite fierce opposition from the Ambleside students,[2] the townspeople of Ambleside, and in spite of the support that Tim Farron MP has pledged to the campus and students.[3][4][5]
"Hundreds of local people have signed this petition and that shows how committed the community is to stopping this closure from happening. Now that the issue has national attention, I hope that the University will take notice of level of protest against this proposal and will reconsider their decision to downgrade Ambleside Campus..."
Tim Farron, speaking in the Commons.


  1. ^ "County university opens its doors". BBC News. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  2. ^ "Facebook Petition Group". Facebook. Retrieved 01-12-2009. 
  3. ^ "Tim Farron presenting rational argument to UoC Chancellor, to keep Ambleside open". Tim Farron. Retrieved 01-12-2009. 
  4. ^ "Mp Recruits New Students In Fight To Save Ambleside Campus". Tim Farron. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  5. ^ "Mp Takes Ambleside Campaign To Westminster". Tim Farron. 2008-11-10. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 

External links

  • St Martin's College website
  • Official website about the University for Cumbria development
  • University of Cumbria website
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