Greetings one and all to this little dive into the characters and topics that make up the Spallucciverse.
This time around I want to have a little chat about Luneside University. This is the fictional university where both Sam and Spliff studied back in the almost halcyon days of their youth and where Spliff ends up as the chaplain. I took a similar academic path to Sam, leaving the flat East Midlands and travelling up the M6 to the hilly landscape of Lancaster and, like him, I studied Religious Studies up here back in the early nineties. Also, while I was studying at Lancaster University, which is situated in Bailrigg just south of the city, I started to write some of the original drafts of his stories. This meant it was quite natural that I would draw upon my place of study for inspiration. So, like Lancaster University, Luneside has a large square surrounded by residences and departments and the campus is dominated by a tall structure.
However, there are certain differences.
For starters, the tall structure at Lancaster University is Bowland Tower, a tall block of flats that surrounds a chimney to the boiler house. In Luneside University, the tall structure is a massive chimney which is a relic of the old Williamson works upon which the campus has been built, down on the Quayside.
Next, the chapel is completely different, taking its inspiration from Saint Martin’s College, as was (now the University of Cumbria), situated in the Bowerham district of town.
And, most radically, the location of the university is completely different. As mentioned above, Lancaster University has a huge sprawling campus to the south of the city. Luneside, as its name implies, is located on the bank of the River Lune on the site of the old Williamson linoleum works.
The reason that I created a fictional university rather than use the actual one was to give me control of the location. Also, I found that it was going to be easier to pace the stories if I located the campus in the city, rather than a fifteen-minute drive away.
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Take care and keep looking out for what lurks in the shadows…