Lily Gamble: Maths, Sport and Lifelong Love: ‘I owe it all to the University of Hull’

Lily Gamble graduated in 1959 with a joint honours degree in Mathematics and Chemistry. Whilst at University she was active member of both the cricket team and the netball team. In response to our recent article: Reunions, Old Friends, Happy Memories, Lily contacted us with some photographs of the sports clubs and we invited her to write an article about her memories of time as a student in Hull in the 1950s.

If you have photographs or memories of your time at Hull, be sure to share them with us at

Lily and Arthur Gamble


I arrived in Hull, from Manchester, in Oct 1956 to study Mathematics and Chemistry. I don’t remember why I chose Hull, I think it was because I couldn’t decide whether to go for Mathematics or chemistry so this joint honours seemed to be good option…

I found Hull a very friendly place. The university was mainly full of Northerners. It was a much smaller place then, consisting of an Arts block, a Chemistry, a Physics and Admin block and a small students union in addition to a number of huts used for teaching. The sports facilities were much smaller and less grand than those of today. I was amazed when I saw the size of the university when I visited about 15 years ago.

Most students lived in Halls or university houses. I was in Thwaite Hall after spending my first few months in digs on the other side of Hull.

In our day, bursaries were available and fees were paid so it didn’t cost my parents a penny. I feel very sorry for today’s students who have to take on heavy debts and try to find work whilst studying. I didn’t know of any student who had a job except in holiday time.

I enjoyed my course particularly the chemistry. Professor Chapman, Doctors Bond Norris and Barker were very helpful. Spending most of my time around Cottingham, I didn’t spend much time in Hull.

I played Netball, Cricket and Badminton for the university and was the Athletic’s Union treasurer. Knowing I had matches to play made me get my work done promptly. Doing Physics and Chemistry we had a very full programme with lots of lab work so I had little free time. We played matches against other, mainly Northern, Universities; the matches were played on Saturdays and sometimes Wednesday afternoon. I was chosen, in 1958, to represent W.I.V.A.B in Netball and Cricket. These are teams chosen from players from all the English Universities. After leaving University I played netball for Yorkshire.

The 1957 Netball Team with Lily seated on the grass (front, right)


I met my husband in the last week of my first year whilst he was in the last week of his  fifth and final year of a language degree!

Unlike present day students I had a choice of jobs when I graduated. I chose teaching at Lincoln High School. As there was a shortage of qualified Maths teachers, I was taken on without a teacher’s certificate and was accredited on the job. I have also taught in Yorkshire and Hampshire. I then went on to be Head of Mathematics at the British School of Brussels for 23 years, until my retirement. We have lived in Brussels now for 45 years. Our son and family live in London. Our daughter married a Belgian and lives near us, as do 2 of our grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

We will be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary in two years all thanks to the University of Hull.

3 thoughts on “Lily Gamble: Maths, Sport and Lifelong Love: ‘I owe it all to the University of Hull’

  1. How very interesting. I was searching online for info on Hull University and HUWCC as my mother Jean Osborne was cricket captain at one time only to find this 1957 photo with my mother in the middle! She also studied Mathematics & graduated in 1959. Small world…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting. I was a student at the BSB and both Arthur and yourself were my teachers in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I have very fond memories of you both.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s