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New book celebrates 125 years of Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University

03 December 2008

At an age when most people are thinking of settling down to retirement, Marian Williams began taking courses at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, a decision which proved life-changing. Now a new book based on research undertaken by Marian has just been published to celebrate 125 years of lifelong learning at Cardiff University.

Marian attended lectures at the Centre during the 1990’s after many years away from education. These inspired her to undertake a history degree at Cardiff and from there she went on to study at postgraduate level and recently obtained an Mphil from Cardiff's School of History and Archaeology.

Marian said: "At the age of 60, when most people are thinking about settling down to retirement, I was offered a place on a history degree and so began ten years, first as an undergraduate then as a postgraduate student that were among the happiest and most fulfilling of my life; but it really all started with the courses I attended at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning."

Cardiff University opened its doors to students for the first time on 24th October 1883. What many do not know is that, even 125 years ago, Cardiff University, by virtue of its democratic approach, was at the cutting edge of lifelong learning provision.

Dr David Wyatt, co-ordinating lecturer for History at the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning, explained: "It was no easy task in the nineteenth century to gain entry to a university. Financial constraints, gender and religious persuasion all played a part in sometimes denying even the most intellectually suitable men and women a university education.

"However, the founders of Cardiff University were so determined to create educational opportunities for all, regardless of sex, creed or wealth that by the time the University received its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria on 7th October 1884, a full year after opening, it was already educating 151 daytime undergraduate students and between 600 and 700 students who attended part-time classes during the evenings."

A commitment to what we now call lifelong learning was in fact embedded in Cardiff’s founding Charter which states that one of the University’s key objectives is: "…to promote higher education generally by providing for persons who are not matriculated students".

This fascinating history has now been captured in the new book, entitled The History of Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University (1883-2008), launched this week as part of the University’s 125th Anniversary celebrations. The book charts this history from the founding charter through the development of the University Settlement at Splott to the present day.

This book is available at a RRP of £8.99 and further details of how to order copies can be obtained from the Reception at the Centre on 029 2087 0000 or at


Notes to Editors:

1. For further details visit: or contact Dr. David Wyatt at , Tel: (029)20870000.

2.Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning

Cardiff University is the largest provider of adult education in Wales, providing 700 courses in more than 100 venues across South East Wales. The Cardiff University Centre for Lifelong Learning provides part time education for adults in 12 of the 22 unitary authorities in Wales, covering an area of population of more than one and a half million. It also offers Professional development courses for local employers, many of which are custom made to suit an individual company’s needs.

3.Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of Britain’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

Further Information:

For further information contact:

Scott Andrews

Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning

Cardiff University

Tel: 02920 876342


Jessica Kelly,

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University.

Tel: 029 2087 0995