A fine winter’s day on Keele University campus. This is Keele Hall, the ancestral home of the Sneyd family, whose estate now hosts Keele University.
So where is the geology angle I hear you ask? Well, first, the formal gardens in the foreground are the site of the first geology department at Keele. Keele was used a a base for American and Polish soldiers in the Second World War, with officers living in the Hall itself and the lesser ranks billeted in huts built around the grounds. After the war the Hall and huts formed the basis of Britain’s first post-war university. Two huts had been built where the formal gardens lay and one became the geography building, the other geology. Eventually the departments had new buildings built for them and the formal gardens were restored.
The grounds of the Hall, designed by William Emes, are still being restored and currently a series of lakes are being drained and de-silted. In the upper lake this operation has revealed a glacial erratic boulder.
The site manager let me go an have a look at it (you can probably see my wellie tracks from the far bank) and hammer a bit off. It is a dolerite (or diabase for our North American cousins) boulder probably from the Lake District some 200km to the North.