The new student residences, opened in 2010, have now been officially named William Murdoch Residences and James Watt Residences, with new signage erected to mark the occasion.
The new residences were previously referred to as Block A, which has 487 rooms and Block B, which has 820 rooms. After a list was compiled of notable individuals from the City of Birmingham, The Vice Chancellor, Julia King, and the Executive Team reviewed it and decided to name the new residences after these two engineers.
William Murdoch (1754 – 1839), was a Scottish engineer and long term inventor. He spent most of his working life in Birmingham and was the inventor of the oscillating steam engine as well as great contribution to the first working steam carriage.
James Watt (1736 – 1819), was also a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer. Among his most significant work are the improvements he made to the Newcomen steam engine, which was essential to the changes brought about by the industrial revolution.
The pair first came into contact when Murdoch walked over 300 miles to ask for a job with Watt, who he had heard much about through other mutual connections. They worked together, with Watt’s business partner, Mathew Boulton, to make many improvements to the then steam engine.
William Murdoch Residences (Block A) and James Watt Residences (Block B) are the first in a wave of new accommodation in the developing student village at the University. They have already received very positive feedback from students.
The high standard of accommodation is able to offer what the students want in terms of en-suite bathroom facilities in every room, spacious rooms and comfortable beds. The new residences add value to the student experience and have enhanced it overall.
Words by Kreesha Pattani
9 September 2011