#makeitblue pic (5)

#makeitblue campaign lights up former Cumbria hospital as university says thank you to frontline heroes


University of Cumbria has joined forces with two county firms to say a special #makeitblue thank you to the NHS heroes, key workers and volunteers helping communities during the coronavirus lockdown.

The university’s Grade II-listed Skiddaw building on the Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle was lit up last night in an eye-catching display to coincide with Thursday evening’s #clapforcarers show of support.

Having served as the city’s general hospital for decades, the landmark building and others on campus, which housed the maternity hospital, are fondly held in the hearts of generations.

Today it is home to future nurses, allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, radiographers, physios and paramedics, as well as other public key workers such as social workers who study with University of Cumbria before qualifying to work across all areas of the health and social care sector.

For what, they say, is likely to be their last lockdown #lightitblue at this time, Carlisle event companies JustBeamIt Lasers and SVL Lighting have collaborated once again. Already they have illuminated the likes of the city’s hospital, cathedral, castle and Lowther Castle, near Penrith, in recent weeks.

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, professor of nursing and Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) at University of Cumbria, said: “Could there be a more fitting place for what could be their final #makeitblue illumination? It is where generations of local families were born and is now where our students, many of whom go on to work in nursing, health, education and other public services, ignite their passion and develop talents, skills and knowledge to become highly qualified and sought after professionals enriching and making a real impact in our communities.

“Thank you to JustBeamIt Lasers and SVL Hire for putting on such a wonderful display. We are honoured to have hosted them and see them join us to recognise in this striking way the contribution our health workers and so many others are making to all our lives today.”

Lee Crellin, managing director at JustBeamIt Lasers, was keen to head to campus for the latest instalment of the campaign. His wife Carly is among the thousands to have been born at the former maternity hospital, based in what’s now known as Blencathra.

Carly was also a University of Cumbria student, completing a degree in adult nursing and graduating in 2012. Carly later completed a specialist postgraduate course, helping to further her career. She now works as a health visitor in the city.

Lee, originally from Manchester, said: “We’ve decided that this is the last one of our #makeitblue projections and we wanted to finish on another very special building that has played a part in so many lives of people across Cumbria. The university’s campus is where Carly was born and where she trained to be a nurse - it means a lot to us!

“The reaction of people so far is what has driven us since March to do these projections and we’ve done it free of charge to show support from the events industry. When staff have been going into the hospital for instance, they’ve been talking about how the display has been giving them such a buzz."


Notes to editors

  1. Pictures - University of Cumbria Fusehill Street #makeitblue display, 28 May 2020



2. Professor Brian Webster-Henderson and Lee Crellin are available for interviews. Contact the university’s communications team.

3. It has been widely documented that the #clapforcarers on Thursday 28 May 2020 is could be the final one, after 10 weeks. Source: BBC News - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52818869

4. #makeitblue is a campaign organised by the events and entertainment industry which has been marked around the world. Across the UK, #makeitblue has turned hundreds of landmarks blue including the White Cliffs of Dover and the Royal Albert Hall.

5. A short history of the university’s Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle includes:

  • 1862 – Plans to build a central workhouse at Fusehill are approved
  • 1864 – ‘Skiddaw’ is opened as the Union Workhouse. What now is Blencathra was the infirmary for the workhouse
  • 1917 – During wartime, Skiddaw was commandeered as a hospital for wounded personnel
  • 1929 – The workhouse changes hands to Carlisle City Council. The institution changes name to the Carlisle Poor Law Hospital
  • 1937 – During World War Two, Skiddaw is again used as a military hospital. It is now called the City General
  • 1950s-2000 – The City Maternity Hospital officially came into being around 1968, but prior to this babies were born in the maternity ward of the City General.
  • 1968 – All maternity care is transferred to the City Maternity Hospital (the university’s Blencathra building on the Fusehill Street campus today)
  • 1998 – St Martin’s College moves into buildings on the Fusehill Street site
  • 2000 – The City General and City Maternity close. Everything moved to the Cumberland Infirmary, Newtown Road

(Visit https://www.cumbria.ac.uk/ten-years/timeline/ for a timeline of University of Cumbria’s history)