40th reunion of Department of Landscape alumni

Class of ’77 reunite to celebrate 40th anniversary

20 graduates who studied in the Department of Landscape in 1977 have marked the 40th anniversary of their time in Sheffield with a weekend of celebrations.

The group, who met on the 1977 Master of Arts Landscape Architecture course, joined former Head of Department Anne Beer as well as current Senior Lecturer Cathy Dee, to visit the University and several regeneration projects in the city centre.

The weekend was marked by trips down memory lane and culminated in a celebratory meal.

Former student Jane Dykes said: “perhaps the most significant feat of this recent re-union was that many of us turned up to celebrate and re-kindle friendships. Out of the 30 or so that we were in 1977, 20 came to the re-union event.”

“Many of us commented that Sheffield was almost un-recognisable, and its transformation into a vibrant and cultural centre was fantastic. We were particularly impressed with the quality of the current public realm in Sheffield – a tribute to conscientious, sensitive design and understanding of how spaces work. The University has also grown and developed significantly in the last 40 years, but we were all delighted to learn that the pater-noster was still in good working order in the Arts Tower!”

In 1977 the Department of Landscape was housed in two Victorian houses – one on the corner of Northumberland Road and Palmerston Road and the other on the corner of Palmerston Road and Claremont Place. The former was the studios for the MA1 (Master of Arts Landscape Architecture) and NESLS (Natural Environmental Science with Landscape Studies) students and the latter was the studios for the MA2 students.

Today the two buildings are no longer part of the Department, although Northumberland Road has remained part of the University and is now the Department of Lifelong Learning. Claremont House, as it was known, is now part of the Hospital.

The alumni enjoyed a celebratory meal, where they were able to reminisce about their student days.

“Clearly, a coming together of so many Landscape Architects needed to be celebrated with food and wine, and we enjoyed a magnificent meal at Maranello’s on Ecclesall Road,” added Jane. “Our pictures indicate what a jolly evening it was – and by the end of the evening everybody had remembered a few little stories relating to our student days back in the seventies.”

The group have gone on to work in both public and private Landscape Architecture practice as well as a wide range of other fields.

Jane said: “whilst many of us are now retired, quite a few are still in practice, and the variety of different careers that we have enjoyed over the decades is quite amazing. We have all found our degree to be a very positive and useful grounding for the various landscape related careers that we have pursued, and remembered with fondness our time in Sheffield.”

You can read more about the history of our department, the first Department of Landscape Architecture in Great Britain, here.