Celebrating 100 years

The people in the film

Filmed in the summer of 2018, the film shows Dr Astley Clarke and Lily McCurdy walking the same path a century apart. The film features students, alumni and staff playing the roles of doctors, nurses, patients and present-day students.

Dr Astley Clarke

dr astley clarke

Astley Vavasour Clarke (1870-1945) was born in Leicester and educated at Wyggeston School, Oakham School, Heidelberg and Bonn. He graduated in natural science from Caius College, Cambridge and did his medical training at Guy’s Hospital. One of Leicester’s best-known physicians, he was Honorary Physician to the Leicester Royal Infirmary for 34 years where he did pioneering work on X-rays. 

During the First World War he was active in the Territorial Army and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was appointed administrator of the 5th Northern General Hospital, a territorial force unit occupying the buildings of the former Leicestershire and Rutland County Asylum (the site that subsequently became the University campus and is today known as the Fielding Johnson Building).

When the University College opened in 1921, Astley was appointed Vice-President. He became Chairman of the governing Council in 1939. In 1956, the first new building to be constructed on campus since its original purchase was named in his honour.

Lily McCurdy

lily mccurdy

Lily McCurdy’s great-great-great Aunt was Ethel (Poppy) Clarke, wife of Astley Clarke. Poppy was the eldest daughter of Harry Simpson Gee, another founding benefactor of the University. Lily’s great-great-grandfather, Percy Gee, brother of Poppy, held numerous positions at the University, including Chairman of Council, Treasurer and Senior Pro-Chancellor. He was also a regular benefactor throughout his lifetime and the Students’ Union Building is named in his honour.

Lily studied for her first degree at York before returning to her home city of Leicester to train as a teacher. She graduated with a PGCE from the University of Leicester in 2018.

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