Press Release

20 January 2012

This year Canterbury Christ Church University is celebrating a landmark anniversary as it turns 50.

Left to right: The Very Revd Robert Willis (Dean of Canterbury), Professor Robin Baker CMG (Vice-Chancellor), Peter Hermitage (Chair of Governors and Pro-Chancellor), The Right Revd Trevor Willmott (Bishop of Dover) and Revd Dr Jeremy Law (Dean of Chapel)
Left to right: The Very Revd Robert Willis (Dean of Canterbury), Professor Robin Baker CMG (Vice-Chancellor), Peter Hermitage (Chair of Governors and Pro-Chancellor), The Right Revd Trevor Willmott (Bishop of Dover) and Revd Dr Jeremy Law (Dean of Chapel)

Established in 1962 as a Primary Teacher Training College on one location, with nine members of staff and 70 students, Christ Church has grown in size and reputation with nearly 20,000 students studying a wide range of subjects in Education, Health and Social Care, Social and Applied Sciences, and Arts and Humanities across a network of campuses in Kent and Medway.

To celebrate 50 years of higher education and innovation, the University has produced an exciting programme of events to mark this momentous year, with music being central to the Jubilee celebrations.

The highlight will be the opening of newly refurbished St Gregory's Centre for Music, in October. This newly renovated iconic and historic venue for music performance will offer world class facilities to be enjoyed by national and international audiences, as well as the local community. It will also enable the University to extend its future public music programme, including a new strand of professional concerts.

October will also see the opening the Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Building on the Canterbury Campus, offering a new suite of state of the art practice rooms, along with seminar and rehearsal spaces for students and staff. This will be complemented by the enhancement of lighting and acoustics in Augustine Hall, offering alternative city centre performance space.

In his address to officially launch the Jubilee year, Vice-Chancellor Professor Robin Baker CMG explained how the University was continuing a tradition for music excellence and learning dating back to the 7th century. He said: “This Canterbury site has been known as a place of learning and musical excellence since the 7th century. Under Archbishop Theodore a school was established in Canterbury. It was the first educational institution in England. It attracted students from far away and became famous for its quality of music. It is fitting that in our Jubilee year our excellent music provision will be central to the celebrations.”

Professor Robin Baker was joined by the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, and other prominent figures from the local community to officially launch the Golden Jubilee year on Wednesday, 18 January.

The Bishop of Dover unveiled a heritage stone on the North Holmes Road Campus to commemorate the University’s location on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by a blessing from the University’s Dean of Chapel, the Reverend Dr Jeremy Law.

The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, unveiling the heritage stone
The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, unveiling the heritage stone

Professor Baker continued: “This is a spectacular moment for all connected with Canterbury Christ Church University. From our origins 50 years ago with a few staff and 70 students, to 20,000 students and being one of the largest employers in Kent – it has been an amazing journey.

“My predecessors built this institution with a culture and set of values that even today we are proud to live and subscribe to. Despite the current pressures upon us we see ourselves as a community of learning and compassion and that is what makes the University so special.

“The heritage stone shows the direction from the past to our future – an exciting 2012 and beyond.”

Other highlights for the year include a Battle of the Bands weekend in early March featuring special guests the original and local progressive rockers Caravan.

Later the same month a special performance of Mozart’s Requiem will take place in Canterbury Cathedral and in May the internationally acclaimed Sound New Festival, of which we are an artistic partner, returns to Canterbury.

The University will also open the new city centre Students’ Union and accommodation building, the St. George’s Student Centre; plant a new small orchard with traditional Kentish species on the Canterbury Campus; host an International Education Conference looking at the future of teacher education; bring together the Class of ’62 for a reunion and stage a very special treasure hunt around the city with amazing prizes. The year will finish in November with a spectacular light show that will be seen across the city.

The heritage stone
The heritage stone

Throughout the Jubilee year Christ Church will be supporting two charities: The Dr Somervell Memorial C.S.I. Medical College and Hospital and The Goodwill Children’s Homes, both in South India.

For more information on the Golden Jubilee and how you can join in, visit:

Notes to Editor

  • The campus is situated on the outer precinct of St Augustine's Abbey. The entire Abbey site, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Martin’s Church, form the Canterbury World Heritage Site, which was designated by UNESCO in 1988.
  • The heritage stone was carved by local Canterbury mason Gary Newton and is made from white Portland stone. The Inscription reads in the round: ‘Canterbury World Heritage Site. Part of St Augustine's Abbey’. In the centre is the World Heritage Site Logo.
  • The Dr Somervell Memorial C.S.I. Medical College and Hospital provides high quality training for nursing and medical students in India. This project was developed by the University and the Bishop of Kerala, and aims to develop both UK and Indian students’ awareness of other cultures, whilst improving their knowledge and understanding of different health and social care practices.
  • The Goodwill Children’s Homes provides long term care and education for deprived children in South India. The charity’s work also includes the Tribal Outreach Programme which supports children in impoverished tribal areas by improving their access to healthcare and schooling. We have been involved in the charity’s work since its inception and this partnership has proved successful in improving the lives of children in India. By supporting this project we can help educate children in deprived tribal areas to lead more fulfilling lives, thereby building sustainable communities and reducing urban migration. 

Key events include:

3 -4 March - Battle of the Bands with Caravan

17 March - Cathedral concert – Mozart Requiem and Karl Jenkins

27 April - BBC Radio 4 ‘Any questions?’ In Augustine Hall

19 May – Alumni Celebration Day

21 May - Opening of North Holmes Road garden and Jubilee walk (mini orchard)

6 - 18 July - Education conference

12 September - Official 50th anniversary

September - Official opening of St George’s Student Centre

28 September - Cathedral service with Archbishop of Canterbury         

28 September - Class of ’62 visit and The Priory Exhibition opening

5 October - Official opening of St Gregory’s Centre for Music and the Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Building

8 November – North Holmes Road light show

A brief history

•1962 - Christ Church College established - the first teacher training college founded by the Church of England in the 20th century. We opened our doors with just 70 students and nine teachers.

•Early 1970s - first degree programme, Bachelor of Education, introduced.

•1977 - first non-teacher training degrees introduced.

•Late 1980s - health-related professional courses began.

•1995 - awarded the power to grant our own degrees for taught courses, and with it came the name change to Canterbury Christ Church University College.

•1996 – purchased Salomons Centre, near Tunbridge Wells, from the NHS and created a West Kent campus.

•2000 - Broadstairs Campus formally opened by former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.

•2004 - Medway Campus opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, at the Universities at Medway site.

•2005 - awarded full university title by the Privy Council; inauguration of Canterbury Christ Church University and the installation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as Chancellor.

•2007 - our 5th campus, the University Centre Folkestone, opened.

•May 2009 - our multi-million pound Christ Church Sports Centre opened.

•August 2009 - granted the power to award research degrees.

•September 2009 - Augustine House, our flagship library and student services centre, opened.

•September 2010 - Professor Robin Baker CMG succeeded Professor Michael Wright CBE as Vice-Chancellor.

•February 2011 - Professor Baker installed as new Vice-Chancellor.

•2012: our Jubilee year.

 Canterbury Christ Church University

With nearly 20,000 students, and five campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • We are the third highest university in England for student employability, with 94.3% of our recent graduates in employment or further study six months after graduating*.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2010 UCAS).
  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).
  • 2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

*2009/10 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey



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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:15:00