Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Loneliness of the long distance cleaner
A solitary cleaner hard at work keeping the corridors and entrances to university buildings clean, so that text book-laden students, lecture-bound academics, distracted researchers and organised office staff can work in a clean and safe environment.
The Renold Building was opened on this day, 23rd November, in 1962. It was part of the Manchester College of Science and Technology (later UMIST) campus expansion that decade. It was named after Charles Renold, who conveniently wore two hats: Vice President of the college and chairman of the planning and development committee.
Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where the buildings were named after cleaners, porters, technicians or admin staff instead of the usual dignatories?
My title came from Alan Sillitoe's 1958 book and 1962 film The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. It belongs to a genre of literature and films prevalent in that era on the disillusionment of post World War II Britain, and the lack of opportunities for the working classes.