Two alumni share what attending Glasgow Uni was like 30 years ago

This might be the most wholesome alumni story ever


The University of Glasgow has gone through quite a few changes since it opened almost six centuries ago. For students, it’s been a place of learning, late nights, and even a little bit of love.

I spoke to Liz and Mat, two students who attended the University of Glasgow from 1991 to 1995, to find out how different the uni is today.

Both excited to be moving away from home, Liz came to study MA geography, while Mat pursued an MA in modern history. Throughout their time at university, they were both committed members of the Mountaineering Society, and it was at a respective social that they both met for the first time. They soon after started dating and spending more time with each other; going out for drinks, to eat, and occasionally, to study.

Liz and Mat could be found enjoying a pint at The Halt Bar on Woodlands Road (now closed and changed to FF West End), or Uisge Beatha (which some of you may know now as Dram). These two pubs sprung to mind as places of good times and fond memories for the couple, however when funds were low, they would find themselves in Woodlands Social Club for the, as they stated, “very cheap booze and late-night pool”.

Liz and Mat also frequented the nightclub The Volcano, a place where societies, at the time, held socials. Fans of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) will recognise this as the nightclub where Renton meets Diane for the first time. Although sadly, you can no longer visit this iconic spot, as it has now been demolished and replaced with flats.

When it came to eating out on and around campus, Liz and Mat rarely did so – as we students know, money is tight. However, when they did indulge themselves in a meal not containing pasta, they often found themselves at the Grosvenor Café. Now surviving in name only – as it has been replaced by Wodka Vodka on Ashton Lane – the Grosvenor Café was a highly popular spot for students. Known for Grovcoff – ice cream topped with ground coffee sprinkles, and pizza topped with a fried egg, the Café was a great place to grab a bite to eat. Liz and Mat also both agree that the Café  “served the best bacon croissants in the universe”.

For most students, getting exam results is one of the most stressful times of the year, however for Liz and Mat, it was a bit more difficult than opening your laptop. At the end of the year, students would have to make the journey into uni and to the main gatehouse. Where upon arrival, they would search for their names on huge noticeboards, and only after all of that, would they find out their results. Maybe a few clicks on a screen isn’t the worst…

28 years on, what Liz and Mat miss most about university is the people, the experiences, and the freedom and time to explore interests. Their advice for students attending today would be to “take full advantage of all the great opportunities for learning, sport, socialising, and meeting different people”.

Liz and Mat during their time at university

The couple have now been married now for 16 years and have two children and a dog. Liz is the deputy Chief executive of Scotland’s largest environmentally-focussed NGO, and Mat is a project manager and researcher at an Internet focussed NGO.

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