Why I Love Huddersfield, sponsored by Wild PR, is a monthly feature where we ask a well-known Huddersfield personality what the town means to them. Here we chat to the University of Huddersfield’s Vice Chancellor Prof Bob Cryan CBE.
1. Tell us something we don’t know about you
At the time of my appointment I was the youngest Professor of Engineering in the UK and then went on to become the youngest Vice Chancellor in the UK and I am delighted that it is at my hometown University. Indeed, I am the only person in the UK that is Vice-Chancellor of his hometown University!
2. What does Huddersfield mean to you?
Simply put, it is the place I feel most comfortable, it is my home. I have been fortunate to visit over 60 countries and I have worked away from Huddersfield for 15 years but I always looked forward to returning to Huddersfield and it is now my permanent base. Huddersfield has transformed my life, it was where I was born and the education and support that I have received have allowed me to go on to have a highly successful career and for that I will be forever grateful.
3. How would you describe Huddersfield to a stranger?
It is a very entrepreneurial town and is ‘the town that bought itself’ and for this alone it should be in a Hollywood movie! The people are very friendly and welcoming and it is a multicultural town that has many festivals – there is always something going on. For those real ale drinkers, there are lots of micro-breweries and real ale houses, all selling excellent beer.
The location is stunning with the beautiful rolling hills and the picturesque canals and the town’s wonderful historic architecture. It has an outstanding University that has won many awards, including the Queen’s Anniversary Prize and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
It is also the fantasy and sci-fi capital of the world with Jean Luc-Picard, Dr Who and Cersei Lannister coming from Huddersfield. If Yorkshire is God’s Own County then Huddersfield is God’s Own Town!
4. We’ll take you out for a meal in Huddersfield. Where would you like to go and why?
This is a really tough question because there are so many different cuisines to choose from but if I had to choose only one then it would have to be Med One. I love their Lebanese food and the owners, Khalil and Rojin, are just so friendly and welcoming. I have taken a number of VIPs there over the years and they have all really enjoyed it.
5. The Huddersfield Blueprint is going to change the face of the town centre over the next five to 10 years. What one thing would you like to see in the town centre?
An art trail that reflects the creativity of the town and that will attract visitors to come and explore and make use of our facilities.
6. What venue, nightclub or attraction from Huddersfield’s past would you like to see return?
I spent most of my nightclubbing days on Venn Street at either The Bin or the Silver Sands with occasional trips to Johnny’s. I have fond memories of each but you can’t beat an evening of reggae music!
7. We all love Jodie Whittaker, of course, but who’s your favourite Doctor Who?
I’m from Huddersfield, it has got to be our Jodie!
8. How did you spend your time in lockdown and has the Covid-19 pandemic changed you?
As a University we had to completely ‘pivot the business’ and move from face-to-face to online delivery and ensure that our students could complete their studies without detriment and that staff could work from home. Like many of my colleagues at the University, this meant working long hours and spending a tremendous amount of time in online meetings.
This experience has definitely changed me in that I now think twice about travelling long distances to meetings when I can jump on Teams/Zoom instead. It has also made me appreciate the time I spend with colleagues far more as I really missed their company during the pandemic.
9. We’re packing you off to a desert island for a month. What one item would you take with you and why?
I’m going to assume that the desert island has electricity and wifi and so it would have to be my iPhone such that I can stay in touch with family, read the news and download my favourite movies and music.
1. Dixon’s Milk Ices or Marstons Chicken Shop? Dixon’s
2. Greenhead Park or Beaumont Park? Greenhead Park
3. Castle Hill or Emley Moor TV mast? Castle Hill
4. Strictly Come Dancing or I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here? Strictly Come Dancing