Heidi Atkins with permission for Varsity

My DoS made a mistake in telling me, the first time we met, that English lectures are “optional”. Granted, he said something much more along the lines of: “The Faculty offers a wide array of lectures suitable for the study of this time period’s literature – choose which ones to attend based on what you deem most interesting and relevant to your work.” To my overwhelmed fresher ears, I heard: “If you’re feeling a little stressy, then stay in your room, make yourself a fancy coffee, do Wordle and every other variant of it that you can find, and then have a nice big internalised panic about your essay.” I think I misheard.

So, this term I have made a solemn vow to do better. While I wouldn’t like to publicly brand myself as flaky, I’d say my ability to stick to any sort of resolution is among my greatest weaknesses. And yet, as of the end of Week Three, I can proudly call myself an unparalleled, unstoppable lecture-devotee/academic-weapon/child-genius (or rather, I attend a suitable number of lectures and complain about doing so frequently). Half a term into my newfound devotion, I have deemed myself ready to offer my opinions on some of the lecture theatres that the English Faculty has prescribed for my visiting.

Lady Mitchell Hall

There is nowhere I hate more than Lady Mitchell HallHeidi Atkins with permission for Varsity.

There is nowhere I hate more than Lady Mitchell Hall. My faculty induction took place there last term, and my goodness, did I begin to worry. It feels dauntingly huge, and yet somehow too confined. Why are the balconies seemingly only used to store a single “CAUTION: WET FLOOR” sign? I pity the Lady Mitchell who bequeathed its construction. It’s no great dedication. I can offer no more than 3/10.

Little Hall

Isn’t there something so endearing about a lecture theatre called ‘Little Hall’?Heidi Atkins with permission for Varsity.

Little Hall suffers the same plights as Lady Mitchell Hall. And yet, isn’t there something so endearing about a lecture theatre called “Little Hall”? How endearing, how sweet. And at least it lives up to its name – it is little. The pitiable soul who successfully slides in at 10:03 seems to find themselves standing, or worse, singled out by a well-meaning lecturer, saying “ah, you at the back, just come in! There’s a seat free down here at the front!” It’s a sorry traipse down when everyone has turned around to spectate your descent. For its charming name alone, 6/10.

The Law Faculty

I wasn’t pleased to be sent underground on both occasions that I visitedHeidi Atkins with permission for Varsity.

I have been graced with two invitations to the Law Faculty, and it felt like a betrayal of the worst kind as I turned my back on the humble English Faculty building and stepped foot into the glistening architectural giant of Sidge. Moreover, I wasn’t pleased to be sent underground on both occasions. I’d love to hate the law fac for its outward bravado and pomp, and its confinement of the English students to the basement, but its lecture theatres remains those of the very few with both cushioned seats and tables. Very luxurious, 8/10.

Quarry Whitehouse, Selwyn College


Mountain View

Spilling the tea on the UL Tea Room

A surprise entry from the English Faculty this year, and a most unwelcome one. It was difficult to find (for a student who had never been required to venture beyond Sidge for a lecture), and it’s added a detestable 90 seconds to my morning walk. The cushioned seats don’t make up for the complete lack of tables. Not for me. 5/10.

New Museums Site, Lecture room A, Arts School

My distress at having to trek beyond Sidge to reach Selwyn is second only to my distress at having to trek to the New Museums Site. The lecture theatre was lucky to redeem itself in being a beautiful example of 20s dark wood interior design, and for that alone I will award 7/10.

Lecture Block

To most Sidge go-ers disapproval I’m sure, the undistinguished lecture block secretly has my heart.Heidi Atkins with permission for Varsity.

And now, we return to Sidge for the final offering to the English students: the Lecture Block. Hated by all for its packed stairs and uninspiring aesthetics, it still clings to a soft spot in my heart. I think it’s lovely that the two main entrances are split into one for rooms 1, 3, 5, 9, and 11 and the other for 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. Do the doors lead to different places? No. But does it make going to your lecture an amusing little game? Yes, it does, and the game is only made more fun by the train-station-style screen inside, telling you which room to go to. The rooms are nothing special, I will admit. But they offer natural light in the mornings (take that, law fac – overground lecture theatres), an appropriate number of seats, and a generally un-intimidating vibe. For these most superficial, inconsequential reasons, and much to most Sidge-goers disapproval I’m sure, the undistinguished lecture block secretly has my heart. 10/10.