BACK TO 1999: A throwback to CCCU’s retro past

Students at CCCU currently have access to a wide range of resources, high-quality equiptment and mega-library, but what was it like 20 years ago? Unified reporter, Brittany Tijou-Smith, reveals some of the major changes in C4’s last two decades.

Let’s go back in time to 1999, when the turn of the millennium saw students in block-coloured fleeces and baggy jeans roaming the campus that we know today. What would they have experienced during their time at CCCU and has it really changed that much? Let’s look at the website…

Library and Resources: 

Moving bookcases and a multi-layered Augustine House didn’t exist and students had to make do with the resource centre in Northgate and library services at the university.

In a list of the latest updates the university humbly listed newspapers on CD-ROMs alongside a wider collection of books.

Sports Facilities:

C4 student, at the gym, circa. 1999

The sporting standards were quite different twenty years ago. Nowadays, in a world of health and safety precautions, we would never do some of the sports that students could participate in!

The (then) college was affiliated with the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA), instead of the BUCS we have today.

Students used to do in a range of 27 sports, including: Darts, archery, rifle shooting, windsurfing and korfball (a game similar to both netball and basketball), as well as clay pigeon shooting, canoe polo, fencing, tenpin bowling, snooker and surfing.

The Sports Centre we know on Spring Lane was not yet built, and therefore exercise-enthusiasts had to visit the Fitness Centre at St George’s Place, near New Dover Road.

Student membership was £25 for the entire year, just a few pounds over the cost of a month’s membership at the CCCU gym in 2019!

The 90s gym had: 13 cardio machines (bikes, rowing, treadmills and steppers), 18 muscle machines for resistance training and a free weights room. Alongside the exercise facilities, there was a “large multipurpose dance studio.”


In comparison to the numerous societies that we have the option to join today, students would only have the opportunity to take part in seven.

These included the radio station we call CSR, which was known as C4 Radio, alongside the Student Industrial Society and Chamber Orchestra.

Sadly, none of the groups have survived up to this day, probably evolving into some of the 51 societies that we are more familiar with today!

Canterbury Campus:

The Canterbury campus today holds host to a large number of buildings, named after innovative people in different industries, linked to the building. Recently, one of the new buildings near Gate 1 was named after Daphne Oram, a British Composer.

Previously, buildings were largely named after the courses held within them, here’s a list of the buildings: Bishop Cockin, Coleridge House, Education, Fisher Annexe, Humanities, Information Technology, Library, Nursing Studies, Paramedical, Professional Development Centre, R.F.T.V and Science.

Laud was the library on-site, the Student Union was located in the Maxwell Building, not only that but there was an on-campus gym.


Accommodation Pricing: 

On the 1999 website, it is unclear as to whether students could apply online or over the phone, however the pricing was radically different.

An advert from the website shows a single room to rent at £44 per week, alongside a house for three people in Crown Gardens at £44-48 per person, per week. Prices today can see housing costing up to £300 for a single person in a week in a privately rented house for three.

A matchmaking service was also in full swing, helping lonesome students to find housemates for the upcoming year.

Course Funding: 

Full-time students were awarded research studentships that the university paid for, as well as a maintenance grant of £5,190 per academic year.

Master of Philosophy and Ph.D students were charged a total of £2,946 for full-time study (this figure include registration, and examination fee of submission of thesis). Today a Bachelors degree costs £9,250 per year and similar Masters course would cost approximately £7,392 per year.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Brittany Tijou-Smith

Brittany is a third year Multimedia Journalism student, her work has been featured on KentLive and KentOnline. Her filming work also won ‘Documentary of the Year 2018’ at Canterbury Christ Church University.

2 thoughts on “BACK TO 1999: A throwback to CCCU’s retro past

  • 08/03/2019 at 9:41 am

    This article made me realise I am twice the age of a lot of the students (most people my age from my school would’ve gone to university in 1999). It’s really interesting to look back at these photos as I feel pangs of nostalgia even though I never came here then. Ha.

    It definitely reminds me of a time of hope, and of excitement for the future. The costs make my mind boggle but back then university felt really inaccessible for me (I distinctly remember my parents sitting me down and saying university was not for the likes of us and that I wouldn’t be able to afford it). So even though it’s a remarkably different time – it feels the same.

    Thank you for sharing these images and facts. I really enjoyed reading about 1999.

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