Nostalgia: Can you spot yourself in our decades-old photos of Essex University?

Youngsters - children at the launch of the day nursery's building project in 1992 <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Youngsters - children at the launch of the day nursery's building project in 1992 (Image: Newsquest)

ESSEX University has been a vital institution in Colchester for almost six decades.

Students will soon be descending on the university for the start of a new academic year in October, so we've taken a deep dive into our archives for a walk down memory lane.

In 1964, the new university welcomed its first cohort of 122 students for its first academic year.

Its first vice chancellor was Sir Albert Sloman, the namesake of the library of today.

John Dowden was the first student to enrol, later becoming a maths lecturer at the university.

He celebrated the 25th anniversary of Essex University in 1989 by planting a tree alongside then vice chancellor Martin Harris and Students' Union president Peter Harris.

Fast forward to today and more than 100,000 students from more than 140 countries have graduated from the university.

Its huge Wivenhoe Park campus has remained the focal point of the institution since its launch, but the university now teaches students at two more campuses in Loughton, which is home to its East 15 Acting School, and Southend, which opened in September 2013.

Wivenhoe Park itself is a picturesque backdrop for students, bagging Green Flag awards five years in a row.

It continues to grow year-on-year with about 18,000 students enrolled on courses across the three campuses.

The university continues to be at the forefront of excellence, consistently receiving praise in the league tables.

The students' union was ranked the 16th best in the country in the latest National Student Survey, and it is ranked highly in the worldwide league tables.

The Colchester campus is centred around five squares - all offering something different.

Foliage now sits in place of a fountain which was once located on square four. It was forced to be replaced after a Fiat 500 found its way into the fountain.

A day nursery opened at the Colchester campus in 1978 and construction started on a fresh new building in 1992, which was visited by fresh-faced MP Bernard Jenkin, who represented the former Colchester North constituency.