I lived in the Thomas Spencer Halls of residence located in Woolwich, SE London in my 2nd year of uni. Our halls have 6 floors with 30 students living on each. As with any halls it is full of characters, notorious for scum, meals unfit for human consumption and the rest of it. The attractions of living in the halls, in my opinion outnumbered the downsides of living there. I aim to highlight the good points and bad points of living in the halls. £70 rent was huge sum to live in conditions beyond those of prisons. The prison imagery was rife. The rooms were narrow, with thin brick white walls. The kind one cannot pin posters (much needed) to the wall. Moreover one could hear every sound their neighbours made, which I will leave to your imaginations. The kitchens were small with one 2 hob cooker and no oven and grill. All students living out use grills! At least there was a microwave. The fridge was a low point; each one shared by six students. There were 2 in the kitchen. Food would always get stolen regardless of locks and 'friends' sharing them. Plus the contents were mouldy even if one did want to use the fridge. The high window ledge was full of meal trays, used crockery and cutlery plus milk bottles for some peculiar reason. Perhaps that was someone's idea of brightening the place up?(!) The bin overflowing was to be expected. However certain people on our floor made full use of this kitchen. They infact breathed all their breaths here. The fridge was full of their stuff, they occupied the cookers, the table and chairs became their living room furniture, and their foodstuff blocked the sinks. One of them duly informed my hall mate to leave the kitchen and come back later. How dare they, This unsavoury group of residents made the scummy kitchen experience the worst yet. 15 people had to share a kitchen. There were 7 people to a toilet and a shower. The water was always cold. People use to gargle up
the contents of their throat in the showers. Yep we could hear the fowl noises from the other side of the corridor tucked up in bed. My hall mate and I exerted revenge by launching Soya sauce under the shower door. That certainly learned the offender! That lightened our load, plus it was a laugh. Meal times left much to be desired. Our £70 weekly rent included an evening meal during the week. Hip, hip hooray!! There was the usual grub on offer; chips, beans, stews, salads and so forth. The food was always inedible, overcooked/undercooked ran out. Certain students received more food than others, we never learnt why. It was tasteless anyway, yet it is the principle that counts. We made a mockery of mealtimes. We would swipe all the ketchup, salad cream satchels, plastic cups and plates etc. So we would not have to buy our own. Also we would have full discussions on whether the food was actually recycled on fished out from a bin. We derived pleasure from putting those of who appeared to be enjoying their meals. Naive fools...! Our bedrooms were provided with small bins. We were supposed to empty them every week in the main bins outside. On the 6th floor even with lifts that is not an option. The lazy student syndrome prevails. Instead we took to throwing rubbish out of our windows. This was an ongoing thing whenever and however. In fact students did if for kicks. Bottles, paper, magazines, anything and everything would be launched out of students' windows. The occasional cry of 'Don't throw rubbish out' would be heard. With that fits of laughter and yet more rubbish thrown out would always follow. The penalty for getting caught was severe. The culprit would be sent to the house warden to get a good telling of and possibly a warning leading to a disciplinary offence. Apparently this rubbish throwing happens every year, since the halls opened 30 years ago, yikes!! The best part was when the cleaner picked up all the rubbish in his lit
tle machine. Students would pick up on this and throw even more rubbish out, aiming at him if they dared. I am under authority that used tampons and condoms were sighted amongst launched rubbish. Who the owner was and why they did it will remain a mystery. Except must of us saw the funny side of it. Living in the halls meant at least one happening party every week, in someone's room of course. Someone would always complain; usually the mature students. I've heard stories that more sex went on in our halls than most knocking shops. Some students I know had a different bloke/girl in their room every night of the week!! They were physically fit people glowing with vitality to say the least. We were 5 mins away from the student union. Hence drunk students in and out the halls around the clock. We use to smuggle all kinds of things past security - ranging from shopping trolleys to cones and traffic signs. Good stuff. This spiced life up. Unfortunately the staff there ran a Gestapo style regime and in time opened rooms to investigate suspects. Whatever. From maggots on food trays to all night parties, I spent the most memorable year of my life here.