Allen Hall Class of 1980-1981 – Can you spot any old friends?

Allen Hall 1980-1981

Frank McIlfatrick, who was a student at Allen Hall in 1980-1, has sent us this photograph which should bring back plenty of memories for some of you. Frank is in the second row, second from the left. Click on the image to get a better look.

He says: “I can only remember a few names – it would be a delight if someone could fill in the blanks!”

Are you in the photograph above? Can you help Frank to identify his old friends from 1980-81?

Please email with any information you have, and/or if you would like us to pass your details on to Frank.

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Allen Hall remains closed for third year running, long-term future in doubt

Allen Hall 2011-12 group photograph

Allen Hall 2011-12 group photograph

The University of Manchester recently announced that Allen Hall will remain closed to students for the third year in a row, putting the long-term future of the hall in serious doubt.

This afternoon an article about the continued closure was published in The Mancunion, the Manchester Students’ Union newspaper, in response to a letter sent by a former JCR President to express concern about the future of Allen Hall. The letter was also sent to a number of senior managers at the University of Manchester, including its President Dame Nancy Rothwell and Tim Westlake, Director for the Student Experience.

Click here to read today’s article from The Mancunion

Allen Hall was closed to students following the discovery of asbestos in the building.
The restoration work required to remove the asbestos has still not been carried out, and consequently the hall remains closed.

The future of Allen Hall is currently under review and an announcement from the University is expected in the next six months.

We sincerely hope that University management will do the right thing and re-open Allen Hall for the benefit of future generations of students. We will keep you informed as soon as more information is available.

The letter to The Mancunion and University management can be found below:

Dear all,

I would like to draw your urgent attention to the current situation surrounding Allen Hall, the University of Manchester hall of residence based in Fallowfield.

Allen Hall has been closed over the past two years following the discovery of asbestos in the building. Owing to the inertia of Accommodation management, the renovations needed to bring the hall back into student use have not been made. Consequently, for the third year running, it has been announced that Allen Hall will not be open to new students arriving at the University of Manchester in September 2014.

This leaves the long-term future of Allen Hall looking increasingly bleak. The loss of Allen Hall is hugely detrimental to student life at the University of Manchester. Please act now before it’s too late.

Throughout its proud 53-year history, Allen Hall has enjoyed a reputation as a thriving communal residence with a wonderful sense of community and identity. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated Warden, committed Tutor/pastoral care staff and an active Junior Common Room (JCR) Committee, new students have always found that living at Allen Hall has a hugely positive impact upon their University experience. Here many life-long friendships have been formed and I personally know of tens of couples who met at Allen Hall and have since gone on to marry and have children.

In September 2011, Allen Hall celebrated its 50th anniversary with a hugely successful alumni reunion dinner which was attended by more than 130 people. On the night the dining hall was packed to capacity and a wonderful time was had by all. Later that evening, old friends convened in Allen Hall Bar for the first time in decades to reminisce about their student days at Allen Hall, a time which had clearly left a lasting impression upon the rest of their lives.

Since then, efforts have been made to establish an Alumni Association at Allen Hall, although uncertainty around the Hall’s future has stalled these efforts. A website was established in the aftermath of the reunion event:

I strongly believe that the University of Manchester should treasure its more traditional halls of residence such as Allen Hall (and contemporaries such as Ashburne Hall and Woolton Hall) – instead of closing them down. Any decision to close down the hall would be completely short-sighted, and makes a mockery of the University of Manchester’s claims to be committed towards enhancing the lives of its students. Today the empty hall stands as a sad monument to the University’s neglect in this matter.

I would urge you to use your influence to encourage University management to reconsider their current position on Allen Hall, and work towards re-opening the residence for the benefit of future generations of Manchester students.

Please do everything you can to help make this happen.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Mills
Allen Hall JCR President 2005-6
University of Manchester alumnus, BA Hons Geography, 2006

What do you think about the possible closure of Allen Hall?
Send your views to

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Message of Thanks from the Family of Colm Litting

Since the death of Colm Litting, former Warden of Allen Hall, last month, his family have received a considerable number of letters of condolence and sympathy cards from former students and staff of the Hall.

Colm’s wife Mary has penned a brief note so say thank you to everyone who contacted the family to express their sympathies, and she has asked us to share the following message with you:

“Mary Litting and family want to thank you for your prayers, your messages of condolence and your support following Colm’s sudden death.

No words are adequate to describe the comfort your compassion and your help provides us with during this difficult time, but, from the bottom of our hearts, a very sincere ‘thank you’.”

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Colm Litting, Former Warden of Allen Hall, Passes Away

Colm Litting, second from left, pictured with four former JCR Presidents at the 50th anniversary reunion weekend in September 2011.

Colm Litting, second from left, pictured with four former JCR Presidents at the 50th anniversary reunion weekend in September 2011.

It is with great sadness that we have heard that Colm Litting, the much respected former Warden of Allen Hall, passed away on Sunday 14 July. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.

The funeral is to take place on Wednesday 24 July with a Requiem Mass at St Vincent’s, Bentinck Road, Altrincham from 12.15pm.

Colm’s family would welcome the attendance of former Allen Hall residents and staff. They would like to invite people to join them at the Bowden Hotel (Mercure), Langham Road, Altrincham WA14 2HT afterwards.

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Allen Hall Alumni Association Needs YOU!

If you’d like to volunteer to get involved with the running of Allen Hall Alumni Association then get in touch….

Getting ready for the Allen Hall formal ball with friends Phil Wright-Christie and Adam Woolhead.

Getting ready for the Allen Hall formal ball with friends Phil Wright-Christie and Adam Woolhead.

It’s still early days for Allen Hall Alumni Association and we’re going to need YOUR help to ensure that we can continue to grow and achieve our aims over the coming months and years.

If you’d like to get involved please email us at and include a contact telephone number. Let us know when you are likely to be available to come along to an informal meeting to be held in Fallowfield at a mutually convenient time.

At present the Alumni Association is run by a small and friendly ‘working party’ of four. We are on the lookout for additional volunteers who would be willing to spare just a few hours per month to help with the planning and organisation of our future communications, reunion events, administration and other initiatives.

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More Fun Times at Allen Hall

Dan Mills lived at Allen Hall for three years between 2003-2006 and was JCR President in 2005-6. Here he shares some of his memories of Allen Hall life….

dan1As soon as I visited Allen Hall for the first time I knew that it was going to be the place where I would spend my student days. There seemed to be a great sense of community there; the staff were incredibly approachable and friendly, whilst the students who were conducting the Open Day tours had a real enthusiasm for the place.

On moving into Allen Hall for the first time I was immediately welcomed by members of the JCR Committee, who took a few early arrivals like myself on an impromptu pub crawl around Fallowfield so that everyone could quickly get to know one another.

Once Fresher’s Week was up and running we were thrown into a whirlwind of activities where the emphasis was very much on having fun – highlights included a ‘three-legged pub crawl’ into Manchester where residents would be tied to a random drinking companion for the evening, and outings to some of the University’s most popular student nights, including the fondly-remembered ‘Club Tropicana.’

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When Cupid’s Arrow Struck at Allen Hall

In 1995-6 Allen Hall opened its doors to female students, adding a new dimension to life at Allen Hall. Since then a number of Allen Hall residents have formed relationships which have lasted far beyond their student years, with numerous former Allen Hall couples going on to marry after graduation.

Here are the stories of just two couples who met at Allen Hall. Please feel free to share your own stories in the comments below.

Mathew and Louise Wade

“We started at the University of Manchester in 2003 and both lived in Allen Hall. We can’t remember exactly where we first met but it was more than likely in the Allen Hall bar! We were in the same circle of friends and quickly became close friends. A few months later we started going out, with our first ‘date’ probably being in the Orange Grove pub!

Matt and Louise Wade

Matt and Louise Wade

After leaving Allen Hall we lived in Fallowfield in the infamous ‘Bank’ where ex-Allen Hallers would often congregate for house parties. When we graduated in 2007 we moved to Windsor and got engaged a few months later.

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Tributes to Gerard McKenna, great friend of Allen Hall

In March we heard the sad news that Gerard McKenna, former tutor and assistant warden of Allen Hall, had passed away.

Gerard was a much loved friend and longtime supporter of Allen Hall over many years. In recent times he was an active member of Allen Hall Advisory Committee and played an instrumental role in organising the hugely successful 50th anniversary reunion weekend in September 2011.

Gerard was a warm and friendly man who was held in high regard by everyone he met. Allen Hall and the University of Manchester certainly owe him a great deal.

We wanted to share with you two heartfelt tributes to Gerard, written by two of his longtime friends.

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Record Breakers!

Looking back at the memorable day when Allen Hall residents successfully smashed the Guinness World Record for the feat of assembling the ‘longest line of dancing drag queens’! The accolade saw Allen Hall mentioned in the 2008 edition of the famous book ‘Guinness World Records’….

Allen Hall residents partied throughout the evening following their successful world record attempt.

Allen Hall residents partied throughout the evening following their successful world record attempt.

In 2006 some 58 lads from Allen Hall embarked on the short walk to the main hall at Owens Park to attempt a once-in-a-lifetime feat – to make it into the Guinness Book of Records for assembling the longest line of dancing drag queens in world history! As they made their way along Wilmslow Road, the sight of 58 men dressed up in multi-coloured wigs, high heels and figure hugging dresses certainly caught the attention of bemused onlookers.

The record attempt had been inspired by the publicity surrounding a successful 2004 attempt by students at the University of Nottingham to claim a place in the famous Guinness Book of Records by forming the longest line of simultaneously dancing drag queens.

Allen Hall JCR Committee saw a great opportunity to smash Nottingham’s record and claim some glory for Allen Hall, knowing very well that our male residents would be up for a laugh. The decision was made to host the attempt as a charitable fundraiser (the event would go on to raise upwards of £800 for Manchester’s Christie Hospital).

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Photo Gallery Updated – Keep Your Memories Coming In!

ImageWe’ve updated our Photo Gallery with some additional images, mostly taken around 1994 (thanks to Dave Keenan and Damian Haywood for sending them in).

There are some great shots here, including a pic of the legendary ‘Breakfast On The Crossing’ event, held annually to raise funds for the BBC’s Children in Need Appeal, and images from some evidently great room parties and nights in Allen Hall Bar.

Keep your photographs coming in – send them to and we’ll add them to our photo gallery.

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