To say Hall Life is important to the St Andrews experience is a crashing understatement. Your halls are where you make your first friends, where you sleep off your bad decisions and plan to make even worse ones.
It’s also a part of life that freshers have little to no control over. To most not yet matriculated first years, the hall you’re assigned in the middle of summer is just a name, leaving you to guess at what this building you’re going to be spending at least a year of your life in will be like. Over time, you will come to form your own, fiercely held opinions on your hall, but for now here is The Stand’s brief guide to each one.
Agnes Blackadder Hall
Formerly named New Hall (showing a crashing lack of both optimism and imagination on the part of the University Authorities), ABH was renamed after the first female graduate of St Andrews back in 2012. Despite slightly dodgy catering and even dodgier décor (think mental health institution but without the cheery bits), Agnes Blackadder makes up for all this with a great community spirit, frequent alcoholic events and a welcoming atmosphere. Also, you know, I live there. And I’m not as bad as I sound. Honest.
Andrew Melville Hall
As an ABH resident, I’m basically honour-bound by the rules of hall rivalry to hate and despise Andrew Melville. So in the interests of tribal loyalty I should probably point out that Andrew Melville is the only hall in St Andrews more aesthetically depressing than ABH, and that privacy is often an issue considering that up to eight people can share a single shower. If I wasn’t violently prejudiced against it, I’d point out that Melville also has above-average food and impressively modern facilities. The small size of the hall also nurtures an atmosphere in which it’s easy to meet and get to know hallmates, a big plus during freshers week.
St Regulus Hall
Well. Let’s see. The advantages of Regs include its proximity to the… Sports Centre? And it’s disadvantages… To be honest, mainly the fact nobody has any idea of where it is, or even, in some cases, whether it exists. While I’ve never spoken to a Regs resident who doesn’t enjoy living there, I’ve also never spoken to one whose been able to give me clear directions as to where it is. Perhaps it’s fitting, given the fact the man Regs is named after got famous by evading the roman authorities to hide the bones of St Andrews in Fife, but if you live here prepare for puzzled looks when you tell people where you live. I don’t even think it’s near the Sports Centre
John Burnett Hall
Notable for its fierce rivalry with Uni Hall, and for having a Marxist-style revolution against it’s hall wardens a couple of years ago (I wish I was joking about this.), JBH is one of St Andrew’s smaller halls. It is enviable for its location close to the main streets of St Andrews, stunning views of the Old Course and easy accessibility from both North Haugh and the town centre. John Burnett Hall also has one of the longest, most detailed and complex chants of any hall in St Andrews. I’d reproduce some of it here, but a) It’s hard to make out what exactly people are singing when they’re totally smashed and b) The Stand prefers writers to avoid gratuitous swearing.
Despite the stick it gets from non-residents, Albany Park has a lot of advantages. Good access to East Stands. More or less the only affordable housing in St Andrews (soon to be demolished, of course). Copious levels of free alcohol. Sure, you have to deal with overprivileged tossers sneering at you (which, to be fair, is a staple of St Andrews life), and long walks to get anywhere (which definitely isn’t), but it’s worth it for the perks. Also, the Shire of Caer Caledon, St Andrew’s medieval re-enactment society sometimes practice here, so if spending your Sunday morning watching people clobbering one another with swords appeals to you, you’re in luck.
David Russel Apartments and Fife Park
DRA and Fife Park are particularly unique entities within the St Andrews hallsphere. As well as involving the biggest into-town trek of any hall in St Andrews (it’s not called DR far-away for nothing), being apartment complexes instead of halls of residence make social vibes here extremely different. Unlike the community feelings of other halls, it’s more difficult for residents to meet people who aren’t their immediate flatmates. On the other hand, you get more independence. Not to mention dishwashers. And underfloor heating, something that you’ll be appreciating by the end of Freshers’ Week.
I could say quite a lot about McIntosh. Its almost cult-like levels of hall bonding. Its convenient study spaces in the common room and IT Suite. Its famed minotaur mascot. Its even more famed instagram account @noshintosh (64 followers strong). The fact it’s the only hall, to my knowledge, to have a motto (“Be a jolly good egg, don’t be a dick.”) As a result of all this, McIntosh residents (aka Mcintossers or Minowhores) are justly proud of their hall. But I also have it on fairly good authority that the place is totes legits haunted, so that’s clearly the only thing worth talking about.
Despite being easily the most generically named hall in St Andrews, Uni hall has it’s fair share of idiosyncrasies. It’s fairly unique for having an all-girl’s wing, and as a result is the subject of a huge amount of smutty humour. For the sake of good taste I’m not going to include any of those here- we’re not the bloody Tab, after all (also, I can’t think of any decent ones.) This, however, shouldn’t take away from Uni Hall’s reputation for classiness. The building is beautiful, and it’s facilities are supposed to be brilliant- I have a friend who once made a pilgrimage from DRA to Uni Hall, just for the privilege of using the showers.
St Salvators Hall and Gannochy House
Also known as “OMG IT LITERALLY LOOKS LIKE HOGWARTS OMG OMG OMG I CAN’T EVEN”, Sallies and Gannochy are the halls most likely to feature in St Andrews promotional literature, and it’s not difficult to see why. While some residents may dislike the slightly elitist atmosphere sometimes associated with both halls, and resent some of the more pretentious hall rituals, Gannochy and Sallies are two of the most picturesque parts of a very picturesque town, complete with courtyard and cathedral. More pragmatically, both halls are bang in the middle of North Street and so provide easy access to most of St Andrews. Oh, and Kate and Wills went there. People mention that. Occasionally.
All photos: University of St Andrews