Edge Hill University
Coat of arms
Edge Hill University
Former names
Edge Hill College (1885–2006)
MottoLatin: In Scientia Opportunitas
Motto in English
In knowledge there is opportunity
Established1885 – teacher training college
2006 – university status
ChancellorDawn Airey
Vice-ChancellorJohn Cater
Students13,560 (2019/20)[1]
Undergraduates10,025 (2019/20)[1]
Postgraduates3,535 (2019/20)[1]
53°33′36″N 2°52′24″W / 53.56000°N 2.87333°W / 53.56000; -2.87333
Green, Gold and Purple[2]
AffiliationsUniversities UK
Websitewww.edgehill.ac.uk Edit this at Wikidata
Edge Hill University Logo

Edge Hill University is a campus-based public university in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England. The university, which originally opened in 1885 as Edge Hill College, was the first non-denominational teacher training college for women in England, before admitting its first male students in 1959. In 2005, Edge Hill was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Privy Council and became Edge Hill University on 18 May 2006.

The University has three faculties: Arts and Sciences, Education, and Health and Social Care; these teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


Edge Hill College opened on 24 January 1885 on Durning Road, Edge Hill, Liverpool, by a group of seven Liverpool businessmen and philanthropists. It was named after the district in which it was sited, and was the first non-denominational teacher training college for women in England. By 1892, Edge Hill was one of only two colleges in England combining teacher training and degree course study. As student numbers increased, Edge Hill quickly outgrew its surroundings. The institution was handed over to the Lancashire Education Committee, with the foundation stone for the present Ormskirk campus laid on 26 October 1931 by J.T. Travis-Clegg, Chairman of Lancashire County Council. The main buildings comprised a main education block, four halls of residence (named Stanley, Clough, Lady Margaret and John Dalton), an Assembly Hall, a library, craft room, gymnasium, lecture theatres, classrooms and a music room.[3]

Between 1939 and 1946, during World War II, the college was evacuated to Bingley in Yorkshire,[4] and the Ormskirk site was requisitioned for use by the military.[3]

The Durning Road premises were destroyed in a bombing raid on 17 November 1940, during the Liverpool Blitz, which killed 166 people.[5]

Edge Hill became a mixed college, admitting its first male students in October 1959, when it had about 500 students in total.[3] In 1963 the university recorded having 660 students and 59 members of staff.[3]

The institution has since expanded, with further developments at Ormskirk and the absorption of the former Sefton School of Health Studies.

In 2005, Edge Hill was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Privy Council.[6] On 18 May 2006 the institution became Edge Hill University and in August 2008 the university was granted the power to award research degrees.[7]


Edge Hill University is based on a 160-acre (650,000 m2) campus in Ormskirk, the administrative centre of West Lancashire. It is midway between Liverpool and the county town of Preston.

The University used to operate from the Woodlands campus based in Chorley, central Lancashire, where it offered continuing professional development programmes and part-time study. However, in recent years operations have been centralised back to the main University campus.

Learning Innovation Centre

Most of the University's subjects and departments are based in specialist buildings developed since the 1990s: Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Business School, BioSciences, GeoSciences, Creative Edge (Media and Social Sciences), Performing Arts, the Wilson Centre (Sport and Physical Activity) and Psychology. The Tech Hub was opened in 2016 by entrepreneur Sir Robin Saxby.

The university also operates a campus in Manchester City centre in the St. James Buildings, Manchester mainly for medical science courses.[8]

The Student Hub

The Hub

This building opened in 2011 as a central student area, containing retail and catering outlets and IT facilities, as well as providing new accommodation for the Edge Hill Students' Union. It was formally opened by Sophie, Countess of Wessex on 15 October 2012.[9]

Sports Centre

The current indoor and outdoor sports complex was opened in 2015 by Olympic heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson.[10]

Arts Centre

The Arts Centre houses the University’s Performing Arts Department and the Rose and Studio Theatres.[11] The Arts Centre was officially opened by British screenwriter and writer of the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony Frank Cottrell Boyce who is an Honorary Doctor of Literature at the University.[12] The Arts Centre includes a 234-seat professional theatre (The Rose Theatre) and a 140-seat Studio Theatre.


Catalyst serves as the Students' library on the Ormskirk campus, as well as the student services and information centre. The original library, which opened in the 1990s, was replaced with a new purpose-built multi-storey building, located on the old running track, adjacent to the Wilson Centre, and equidistant between the Student Hub and Creative Edge Buildings, as part of a £36 million development.[13] The £26 million building houses a study space that is 8,000 square metres, which is 50% larger than the old Library building.[14] The development began in December 2016, when the old racing track was dug up. Catalyst opened on 9 July 2018.

Halls of Residence

The original Halls of Residence were 'named Stanley, Clough, Lady Margaret and John Dalton "in honour" of the Derby Family' and "of three individuals famous in the history of Lancashire and of Education" (Anne Jemima Clough was a pioneer of higher education for women, having founded Newnham College, Cambridge)'[15]

Five Halls, opened in 1963 by Princess Margaret, are named after Lady Openshaw, Katherine Fletcher (Chairs of Governors), EM Butterworth, Margaret Bain (Principals) and Eleanor Rathbone, a noted social reformer.[16] Lancashire Hall was demolished in 1999 to make way for the Wilson Centre (Edge Hill Sport), but was originally built to house male students. Forest Court (Ash, Beech, Cedar, Elm, Holly, Larch, Maple, Oak, Rowan and Willow) added 300 bedrooms in the early 1990s.

More recent Halls include Founders Court, named after the institution's founders Crosfield (William Crosfield); McDairmid (S. McDairmid); Matheson (Thomas Matheson); Smith (Samuel Smith (1836–1906)), Balfour (Alexander Balfour); Sinclair (WP Sinclair); and Sarah Yelf (the first Principal); and Graduates Court, named after alumni: Ainsworth (Joe Ainsworth), Annakin (Ethel Annakin), Maconie (Stuart Maconie), Normanton (Helena Normanton) and Pryce (Jonathan Pryce).

In 2012, Chancellors Court was opened, adding Halls named after individuals associated with the institution including Chairs of the Board of Governors: Blake, Booth, Bradshaw, Fulton, Millner, Pinfold, Tomkins, and Wilson as well as Byron (Tanya Byron, the first Chancellor of the University), and Williams (politician Shirley Williams). Additional Halls added in 2013 are, in Chancellors Court: Binns (Sir Arthur Lennon Binns), Boyce (J.S.B Boyce), Lord (Sir Percy Lord), and Meadon (Sir Percival Edward Meadon); and in Founders Court: Dewhurst (M. K. Dewhurst), Fenemore (Mildred Fenemore), Feuchsel (Harriet D Feuchsel) and Holt (George Holt (merchant)).

Founders' Court

Chancellors South, an additional 246 accommodation units to complete the Chancellors Court blocks on the Eastern side of the campus, was completed in summer 2014.[17] The Halls are named after individuals associated with the institution including Laverty (Bernard Laverty, Pro-Chancellor and chair of the Edge Hill University Board of Governors since 2014, Chartered Accountant and Director of Lancashire textile company David Whitehead & Sons Limited), Jenkins (Miss JA Jenkins, Vice-Principal of Edge Hill from 1906 and Acting Principal from 1909–10), Millins (Mr PKC 'Ken' Millins was the first male Principal of Edge Hill, leading the institution between 1964 and 1979 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2010), Aitken (Sir James Aitken served on the Education Committee of Lancashire County Council from 1921 to 1948, and was chair of the Council from 1946 to 1948) and Welch (John Welch was chair of the Education Committee of Lancashire County Council between 1955 and 1958).

Palatine Court Halls are named after prominent individuals associated with the historic Lancashire County Palatine: Carrington (artist Leonora Carrington), Glazebrook (physicist Richard Glazebrook), Pankhurst (campaigner for women's suffrage Emmeline Pankhurst), Roscoe (abolitionist and historian William Roscoe), Lowry (artist L. S. Lowry), Peel (Prime Minister and architect of the modern police force Robert Peel) and Wilkinson (politician, sometime Minister for Education Ellen Wilkinson).

Organisation and governance


The University's Chancellor is Dawn Airey, appointed in 2023.[18] The founding Chancellor was Tanya Byron, a clinical psychologist, journalist, author and broadcaster.[19] Byron served in the role from 2008 to 2018. The Pro-Chancellor is Clive Edwards who also serves as chair of the Board of Governors.

The current Vice-Chancellor is John Cater, who has held the post since 1993. He received a CBE in the 2015 Queen's birthday honours.[20] As a social geographer, he has published extensively on race, housing, economic development and public policy and co-authored major research studies for the Social Science Research Council, the Commission for Racial Equality and their successor bodies.[21] The current Deputy Vice-Chancellor is Steve Igoe. The current Pro Vice-Chancellors are Mark Allanson, who joined the University in August 2014 after working for Higher Education Funding Council for England, and Lynda Brady, who joined in April 2014, having previously worked for the Open University.

Faculties and departments

Faculty of Education

The University has three Faculties:

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

The Faculty comprises Departments of:

Faculty of Education

The Faculty runs initial teacher training programmes for the age phases of education in the UK, together with Continuing Professional Development for the school workforce. The most recent Ofsted Initial Teacher Education inspection report[22] (2011) awarded Grade 1 in all 33 cells covering the phases of initial teacher training: Primary & Early Years, Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education and Training.

The Faculty comprises Departments of:

Faculty of Health and Social Care

Faculty of Health and Social Care

The Faculty delivers pre-registration training for nurses, midwives, operating department practitioners and paramedics; qualifying social work degrees; and professional development in the fields of health and social care.

The Faculty comprises Departments of:

Graduate school

The Graduate School supports research students on MRes, MPhil and PhD programmes and their supervisors.

Coat of arms

The university received a grant of arms in 2007.[23]

The coat of arms consists of a shield, a crest, a badge and a motto. The colours used are those of the suffragettes, and "reflect the commitment to the equality of women that drove the formation of the institution".[24]

The university's origins are represented by the three red roses of Lancashire in the shield and by the Liver bird in the crest, which refers to its original location in Liverpool. The coat of arms contains a sun, a quill, peacock feathers, and a lion. The University's motto – "In Scientia Opportunitas" – translates as "In knowledge there is opportunity".[25]

The Mace

Edge Hill University Mace

The Mace is the symbol of the University's authority to award degrees. Edge Hill University commissioned its mace in 2007, from silversmith Clive Burr. Inspired by the University Coat of Arms and the campus architecture, the mace took six months to produce and is crafted from sterling silver. At the head is an 18-carat yellow gold dome enamelled by Jane Short, with a hand-engraved inscription of the University motto running around the silver edge. The main body has a hand-engraved decoration running around it, the design inspired by the acanthus leaves and stone columns of the entrance to the original University building.[26]

Academic profile

National rankings
Complete (2024)[27]57
Guardian (2024)[28]55
Times / Sunday Times (2024)[29]78
Global rankings
THE (2024)[30]801–1000


Edge Hill University's undergraduate courses include BA/BSc and LLB degrees, health pre-registration qualifications and teacher training degrees. Postgraduate provision includes PGCEs, Masters programmes, MBA, MPhil and PhD research degrees and MRes programmes.


According to the Higher Education Statistical Agency, in the 2019/20 academic year there were 10,025 undergraduate students and 3,535 postgraduate students.[1] The statistics may not show international students.

Record label

In 2013, Senior Lecturer and bassist in The Farm, Carl Hunter, launched a not-for-profit record label in association with the students of Edge Hill University called The Label Recordings.[31] The Label has released and promoted music by acts including The Inkhearts, Hooton Tennis Club, Oranj Son, Feral Love and Youth Hostel. The Label operates like an industry placement for students and was 'highly commended' in the 2016 Times Higher Education Awards.[31][32]

Short story prize

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize is purported to be the only UK award that recognises excellence in a single author, published short story collection.[33] The prize attracts established authors who compete alongside relative newcomers. Previous winners have been John Burnside, Kevin Barry, Colm Tóibín, Claire Keegan, Chris Beckett, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Sarah Hall and Jessie Greengrass. The prize is co-ordinated by Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English, and has three categories, the main literary award of £5,000, as well as a £1,000 Reader’s Prize judged by BA Creative Writing students, and a £500 award for students on the University's MA Creative Writing course.


The university returned twelve units of assessment in the UK's Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 and has established three interdisciplinary research institutes through which to manage the impact and external engagement of research carried out.

Institute for Creative Enterprise

The Institute for Creative Enterprise is Edge Hill University’s interdisciplinary research forum which connects the University with the digital and creative economy and with cultural institutions.[34]

Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice

The Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P) is a cross-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange initiative established at Edge Hill University in 2013.

Postgraduate Medical Institute

The Postgraduate Medical Institute is a partnership between Edge Hill University and regional health professionals and providers seeking to improve the quality of health and social care in the North West through education, research, and innovation.

The Institute’s main themes are primary care, fertility, neurology and psychiatry, orthopaedics and biomechanics, and biosciences.[35]

Student life

Students' Union

Edge Hill University Students' Union (SU) is the representative body of students at the university run by four elected, sabbatical officers and student trustees who sit on the board. The Sabbatical officers are the SU President, Vice President of Activities, Vice President of Academic Representation and Vice President of Welfare.[36] All students at the university are automatically enrolled into the Students' Union which seeks to promote the interests of its members, act as a representative channel between students and the university, and to provide advice and recreational activities for its members.[37]

The Students' Union has over 70 societies which students can join including a range of sports teams, subject-related groups and social societies.[38] 'Team Edge Hill' is the SU's sport brand which encompasses all sport teams and individuals who compete for the university within the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues[39] including football, rugby, cycling, netball, swimming, tennis, hockey, golf, American Football, and many more. VibeMedia is the Students' Union’s media platform which comprises Vibe Radio and Vibe TV, a radio and television channel run by student volunteers.[40]

In 2012, Edge Hill SU was shortlisted for the national NUS Small Students' Union of the Year Award.[41] In 2019, it won NUS Trans Campaign of the year.[42]

Notable people

Main category: People associated with Edge Hill University


Vice-chancellor/ Principals

Until university status was awarded in 2006, the Vice-Chancellor was known as the principal.



See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Where do HE students study?". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Colours, Crest & Mace". Colours, Crest & Mace. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Montgomery, Fiona (1997). Edge Hill University College: a history 1885–1997. Chichester: Phillimoe. ISBN 1-86077-063-0.
  4. ^ Reeve, Jean (16 November 2005). "Untitled". WW2 People's War. BBC. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. ^ Waddington, Marc (25 November 2010). "70th anniversary of Durning Road bomb disaster that claimed 166 Liverpool lives". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Edge Hill University" (PDF). www.qaa.ac.uk/. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). 2006. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. ^ "The University of Lancaster: Minutes of a meeting of the Senate held on 8 October 2008 GAP/2008/0954" (PDF). www.lancaster.ac.uk/. University of Lancaster. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Manchester St James @ EHSU". Edge Hill Students' Union. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  9. ^ McLoughlin, Jamie (18 October 2012). "Countess of Wessex opens new student hub at Edge Hill University". www.southportvisiter.co.uk/. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Olympic star opens £30m Edge Hill sports facility". University Business. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  11. ^ "About". Edgehill.ac.uk. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Frank Cottrell Boyce receives honorary award". Edgehill.ac.uk. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  13. ^ Morgan, Jennifer (21 December 2016). "Work begins on exciting new campus development". Edge Hill University. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Gallery: work on £26m Catalyst is progressing". News. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  15. ^ Flinn, Mark; Montgomery, Fiona A. (2010). A Vision for Learning. London: Third Millennium. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-906507-48-0.
  16. ^ "Living on Campus". Edgehill.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Plans for new Halls of Residence". Edgehill.ac.uk. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Edge Hill University Chancellor". Edge Hill University Governance. Edge Hill University. Retrieved 4 August 2023.
  19. ^ "Professor Tanya Byron website". Professortanyabyron.com. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Queen's birthday honours list 2015: GCB, DBE and CBE". The Guardian. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  21. ^ "John Cater". Edgehill.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Ofsted – Edge Hill University". Ofsted.gov.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  23. ^ "September 2007 Newsletter (No. 14)". www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/. The College of Arms. September 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Colours, crest and mace". Edge Hill University. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  25. ^ "in scientia opportunitas". Latin is Simple. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  26. ^ "The Mace". 20 June 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  27. ^ "Complete University Guide 2024". The Complete University Guide. 7 June 2023.
  28. ^ "Guardian University Guide 2024". The Guardian. 9 September 2023.
  29. ^ "Good University Guide 2024". The Times. 15 September 2023.
  30. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2024". Times Higher Education. 28 September 2023.
  31. ^ a b Morgan, John (7 January 2016). "Edge Hill University's indie record label 'a cultural statement'". timeshighereducation.com. Times Higher Education. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  32. ^ "The Label Recordings". News. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  33. ^ "Edge Hill Short Story Prize". News. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  34. ^ "About ICE". Institute for Creative Enterprise. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  35. ^ "Postgraduate Medical Institute". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  36. ^ "Students' Union: How we run". Edgehill.ac.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  37. ^ "Students' Union: Constitution". Edgehill.ac.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  38. ^ "Students' Union: Societies". Edgehillsu.org.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  39. ^ "site @ Edge Hill University Students' Union". Edgehillsu.org.uk. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  40. ^ "Vibe Media". Vibemedia.co. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  41. ^ "Small SU shortlisted for big prize". Edgehill.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  42. ^ "EHSU Academic Rep wins national LGBT+ Award! @ Edge Hill University Students' Union".
  43. ^ "Dawn Airey announced as new Chancellor of Edge Hill University". 31 March 2023.
  44. ^ "A vision of learning". Edge Hill university website. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  45. ^ "Glenda Jackson son: who is Dan Hodges as Oscar winning actress dies age 87". MSN. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  46. ^ "Natasha Jonas". Educate Magazine. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  47. ^ "NI footballer Simone Magill reveals wedding joy as she shares first picture of happy north coast nuptials". Belfast Telegraph. 13 June 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2024.

Further reading