Milestone reunion for University of Hull friends who met at Thwaite Hall 60 years ago

Sue Sykes and her University of Hull friends at Thwaite Hall in Cottingham
From left to right: Jenny Bridge (nee Kidger), Chris Eason (nee Adams), Kate Broadhurst, Sue Sykes (nee (Hindle) -Credit:Supplied

A close group of friends who bonded at the University of Hull 60 years ago are celebrating the anniversary by meeting up this weekend.

Sue Sykes, nee Hindle, 78, from York, studied music at the University of Hull. She recalled living at Thwaite Hall in the sixties when it was still all-women accommodation and had fond memories of the formal dinners and having to disguise visiting men as women so they wouldn't be caught by the warden.

"We met the first night and it was formal dining at that time at Thwaite Hall," said Sue. "We were at the same table, the six of us, and we were sat at the same table every weekday night for the whole of the first year and we just really got on.


"Those formal dinners at Thwaite were really nice. The warden came in a procession each night with guests for high table and we had to be guests at high table at least once a term.

"We stood when the warden came in and we didn't start to eat until the others were ready. Being served by waitresses, I can't believe it now, but that's how it was."

Sue Sykes and her University of Hull friends meet up by the Larkin statue at Hull Paragon Interchange as they celebrate a reunion
From left to right: Jenny Bridge (nee Kidger), unnamed, Catherine Hare (nee Alderton), Chris Eason (nee Adams), Kate Broadhurst, Sue Sykes (nee (Hindle) -Credit:Sue Sykes

Sue added: "We were very looked after at Thwaite and you couldn't have men in your room after 10 o'clock. People did though and they got in and out of windows - it was fun really.

"I remember having a group in my room, including men, and hiding them and having them put our dressing gowns on to walk down the corridor to pretend they were women. It was such a different world.

"We were very naive I think. Not that we didn't get up to things, people are people, aren't they? But it was very sheltered and you felt very cared for. You could only go home once in the term and had to get special permission from the warden. It was very strict."

On Sunday evenings, Sue and about 10 other music students would meet up in a small room at nearby Needler Hall (since bulldozed and turned into an Aldi) to talk about their favourite music and play records. "Philip Larkin came as the guest one week - what a privilege," she said.

Sue said she and her Thwaite friends - maths graduate Christine "Chris" Eason (nee Adams) social studies graduate Jenny Bridge (nee Kidger) French and drama graduate Kate Broadhurst, and French student Catherine Hare (nee Alderton) - have managed to stay in regular contact over the years for weddings, silver anniversary, and other get-togethers.

This weekend, from May 10 to 12, they are having a rare reunion in Hull. Sue said: "Whenever we meet up we get on really well even though we've all done different things with our lives."