Paternoster Lift…

We too were intrigued by the workings of the paternoster lift. We were, however, too foolhardy to test what would happen when it went ‘over the top’ by leaving something on the floor. We just stayed in it – dark, interesting and alarming in equal measure….

Antony Martin, Alumni, 1970s



Despite having numerous tutors just one character represents Essex Uni as a whole for me. He was one Jules Lubbock. He marched his entire class to the Albert Sloman and, never mind the paternosters, took us to the stairwells to extol the virtue of the concrete work! Priceless memory! Great man!

Peter French, Alumni, 1999

Party Trick

The Paternoster lift was highly innovative then. Visitors were reluctant to try it because they didn’t know what happened when your lift car reached the top. One undergraduate had a party trick going up in a car and coming down doing a handstand. Oh boy did it shock visitors.

Dr Peter Partington, Alumni, 1964 – 1970


The Library was my go to place between lectures. Over time I started to appreciate it more and more, every little details of its architecture. I was quite bummered to find out that I was two years late to see the cloisters stair. Good thing they still have the Paternoster at least. I do wish to go on the library tour again in the future if given the chance.

Faiz Mustafa, Alumni, 2014-17


Sara and I met at the University in 2004. A decade later we got married at Wivenhoe House, and had a toddle round campus afterwards. The library was an old haunt, so a few photos on the Paternoster seemed appropriate. We now live on Bogota, Colombia, with our dog,  Bambu.

Jack Carfrae, English Literature, 2004-2007

Moving books from the huts to the new Albert Sloman Library, 1967

The move was accomplished in a single day. Books were ferried in numbered boxes… Since the total was slightly short of 2000, we amused ourselves by calling out the name of an event associated with the corresponding year in the Christian calendar, e.g. 800 as ‘Carolingian coronation’ or 1571 as ‘Lepanto’.

Laurence Hallewell
Assistant Librarian for Latin American Studies, 1965-1977


My memories of the library included finding a mystery section of recorded interviews with ex slaves in America, commissioned during the 1930’s depression, to give people training in Journalism.
Some of the written accounts included words as the ex slaves spoke in dialect, others were just a summary of the ex slaves experiences. Unique history !

Penelope Partridge, Alumni, 1973-76