Marking 40 years of UCLan’s library as former Penwortham librarian recalls meeting Prince Philip

Posted on - 6th April, 2019 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Nostalgia, Penwortham, Preston News, UCLan, University campus
Sue Dawson meeting Prince Philip in 1979
Sue Dawson meeting Prince Philip in 1979

A Penwortham woman has returned to the library where she started working 40 years ago.


Sue Dawson began working at the University of Central Lancashire’s library at the Preston campus when she was 17.

She greeted Prince Philip who officially opened the library in 1979 and also met her husband Ian whilst he was taking out text books during his studied.

Sue, now 58, said: “I was a library assistant and dealt with loans, book orders and even student fines.

“It was an absolute privilege to work there and when I look back we actually offered a lot at the time that was probably considered state-of-the-art.”

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A 40th anniversary event was held at UCLan to mark the library reaching the four-decades milestone, with many former staff and current staff dressing in 1970s fashion for the day.

Sue Dawson and Bob Frost
Sue Dawson and Bob Frost

Sue joined the event, and recalled meeting Prince Philip.

She said: “Everyone was really excited to have a member of the Royal Family on campus. I actually met Prince Philip and showed him how we issued text books.

“He was very pleasant and took interest in what I was doing. I was only 18 at the time and it’s certainly a memory that has stayed with me forever.”

When the library first opened it housed just six computers, but now has hundreds along with 300,000 print books and more than 252,000 e-books.

One of the early computers in the UCLan library
One of the early computers in the UCLan library

Current faculty librarians at UCLan Bob Frost and Fran Robinson organised the event.

Bob said: “It’s certainly a milestone occasion that provides a chance to reflect on what the library has achieved over the last four decades.

“Over the years it has won awards for innovative advances in making learning materials more accessible and the team has always prided itself on providing the very best service to all students. It’s fantastic to welcome back Sue and listen first-hand what life at UCLan library was like in its infancy.”

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