Warwick, being a centralised and isolated campus, has different kinds of areas available for student living throughout their degrees. Leamington Spa and Coventry, according to most interviewees, seem the preferred places of residence available to students. Perhaps the reason being the towns’ transport links with both the university and longer-distance destinations such as Birmingham and London. Despite this, public transport links to the university being a key point of contention for most interviewees throughout the decades. Even on-site parking seems a constant annoyance for all our interviewees. This is mostly since our incoming number of students has grown exponentially along with the physical expansion of the university.
So, there were 5 of us who lived in a really nice house actually, in South Leam, on a street called St Helen’s Road and it was a brilliant house, it was a very spacious, suburban semi-detached property and my reflection on it was, it was quite far out from the town, far enough out that the rent was cheap but luckily you could, there were various shortcuts you could take to the centre. Um, and your also near to the bus route start, which was amazing, um, actually being able to get a seat on the U1.” Andrew, French and History, 2009-2013
I actually had a run with somebody at Senate House once, in the last year, when I had to park up and I could never get a parking space… I was only going in for a 9 o’clock lecture and I’d been driving around and it had happened the week before, I’d missed a lecture, which I never did, I never missed lectures, I’d missed a lecture cause I couldn’t get a parking space, I had driven all the way over from Nuneaton and this one week I just flipped, I cannot have this, so I parked up in front of Senate House and strode in, knocked on this door that said Administrator and said, “I’ve had enough of this, I gave up a good job to come here, now I can’t get parked, my lecture starts in 5 minutes. My car’s parked outside your front window and that’s where it is gonna stay”. This guy wasn’t gonna argue with me and he said, “Im so sorry”, he said “I absolutely get where you’re coming from, we are all frustrated about this”, he said “leave it there for now, I will go make sure you don’t get a parking fine” he said, “and I apologise, I can’t even suggest anything other than parking up at Westwood and walking across” and he said, “I know that adds an extra half an hour on to your day and I’m sorry.” He was really nice. He’d realised I’d had enough.” Katherine, Education, English and RE with QTS, 1990-1994
Although, recently in 2015, the university opened its bus interchange, replacing the old system in which students would fight it out for bus seats whilst waiting in front of the Rootes Grocery Store or the old Sports Hub. Some of our interviewees recalled the old transport system on campus.
Oh, the bus interchange, that wasn’t there. The buses used to just queue up outside Roots in like a huddle, and you just ran for them. It was absolute chaos. Now there is an actual interchange that makes a lot more sense. Warwick is a perpetual building site.” Pierre, BA French and History 2011-2015
Our research shows both the towns, Leamington Spa and Coventry, have experienced substantial growth since the founding of the university. Coventry and Leamington Spa have become younger cities and have grown alongside the university. Coventry is in the top 20 towns in terms of student population size, 14.6% (2018) of Coventry’s population is students whilst Leamington’s student population averages at 8.9% (2018), above the English national average of 8.6% (2018).