Pat's hope for the future

While Elvis Presley was preparing for the draft and a spell in Germany with the US Army, teenager Patricia Hope was getting ready for her own big adventure by enrolling as a GCE student at Middlesbrough's Constantine College.

Patricia HopeThe year was 1958. Patricia - from what was then the little village of Marske-by-the-Sea - was amazed at the size and buzz of the grown-up college which back then took students from the age of 16 upwards.

'In those days women were still second class citizens in terms of opportunities and very few of us went on to further education after leaving school,' she recalls.

Constantine College

'But I loved Constantine College and thought I had really made it studying among so many older students. I had gone to the little village school in Marske and then to a secondary school at Saltburn.

'Middlesbrough was a big city in comparison and being at Constantine was an eye-opener. Many of the older students were doing things like marine engineering at a higher-level. Some were from such exotic places as Keighley and there were even some foreign students, but we were too shy to talk to them.'

The late fifties

In the late fifties, further education students had to decide whether to pick arts or science subjects. Patricia opted for the arts courses and studied English language and literature, French, history and geography.

'I was a bit of beatnik back then and loved hanging out in the coffee bars. I remember we had to move to a little annexe in Linthorpe for six months and that's where our little class really became a tight-knit group, sitting on a balcony with someone strumming a guitar. I still keep in touch with some college friends,' said Patricia, now 68.

She loved being a student and eventually swapped her beatnik gear for the more fashionable style of the Middlesbrough crowd. This helped her to get her big break into the newspaper advertising world when she became the first female display advertising rep in the entire Thomson Newspaper empire, which included the local Evening Gazette.

'The advertising manager said he gave me the job as I appeared so confident and because of the very fashionable hat I was warning. He did, however, feel the need to warn me about the language some of the men might use, but I told him not to worry...'

University of the Year

Looking at the campus today, Patricia is amazed at its transformation into Teesside University; the array of new buildings which dwarf the old Constantine College building on Borough Road, and its high-profile award as Times Higher Education University of the Year.

'There was just the one building when I was there, but it all seemed so big and busy. Incredible to think that we didn't have a proper library then. We used to have to pop across to the reference library. Now just look at the place, the University's own library is a four storey palace and there are just so many more students. We only had a few thousand, if that, when I was there.'