Tag Archives: Law School


Coming off the night shift at the subtext warehouse our drones were intrigued by the new sign at the entrance to Bowland North. Not the blaring adverts for Subway and Blackwell’s, but the cool, chunky, brushed steel lettering proclaiming something called ‘law school’. The fact that it was all in lowercase suggested that the infamous Capital Letter Thieves were again at large. Readers will recall how in recent times the Learning Zone and the Ruskin Centre suffered from their depredations, with letters disappearing overnight to sometimes comic effect. Were they up to their old tricks again?
As we tucked into our post-shift sweet tea and dripping sandwiches, we pondered on the identity of the missing letter. Could the sign be indicating the ‘Flaw school’, an extension of PPR containing a new Department of Refutations, dedicated to exposing the faulty reasoning behind current university policies (UA92 springs to mind)? Perhaps it’s the ‘Claw school’, suggesting a concentration of the university’s mushrooming enterprise units, slavering to compete in the cut-and-thrust world of marketised HE. Maybe a fearfully symmetrical twin is planned for next-door Bowland Main, the ‘Tooth school’.

Another suggestion was the rather esoteric ‘Glaw school’, which had the more unlettered members of the collective tapping into their search engines to find a meaning. ‘Glaw’, according to the Urban Dictionary, is ‘a word with no meaning, used as a response to a question to annoy someone’. Clearly, any modern university worth its salt needs this function but as it was already admirably fulfilled by the Human Resources Division, it was deemed to be superfluous.

After much discussion, a consensus was eventually reached. A search of the subtext archives revealed that the place we now know as Bowland North was originally called ‘Lonsdale’, famous for the sybaritic lives of its inhabitants and known to all as ‘The Party College’. According to legend, the gods got so angered by their debauchery that one night they scooped up all the inhabitants and deposited them in the remotest region of Hades known as Alexandra Park, where they remain to this day. And it is in their memory that, employing the Glasgow street slang for cannabis (and other things), the space shall henceforth be known as… the ‘Blaw school’.


And another thing about that lowercase Law School sign… Lancaster seems to have long had an unwritten rule (see what we did there?) that buildings should not have department names engraved on them, not least because there seems to be a tip in the ‘Modern VC’s Playbook for Keeping Departments in Line” that departments should be regularly moved when buildings are refurbished, or merged with others, or just closed, to stop them from getting too comfortable. However, with new buildings springing up all the time, and Engineering getting its very own shiny lowercase letters a few years ago, it’s possible the Law School had a bit of sign envy. Or perhaps it’s a North Campus/South Campus thing? With the huge sign outside the FASS building now a thing of the past, it’s possible someone felt the sign balance needed to be shifted again.

There’s only one problem: as regular visitors to Bowland North know, the building is home not only to Lancaster’s legal scholars. It also accommodates the Departments of Languages and Cultures, and Sociology, as well as the occasional band of itinerant Linguistics PhD students who seem to have been banished from County South. And that’s just the top three floors. The ground floor houses two lecture theatres, 27 seminar rooms (some of which even have windows, see subtexts passim) and two computer labs, all of which are used as teaching space by pretty much every department in the University, by conference delegates and by a number of summer schools. Why the Law School should be the only department that gets a huge sign on the side of the building is as yet not quite clear, but if readers know of any ‘cash-for-signs’ shenanigans, please do write in (for the benefit of any lawyers reading this, we are joking!). All the signs point to more signs in future.