I joined the Politics Department in Hull in 1977, but it almost didn’t happen. There was a lecturing post in the Department advertised in the summer – it was actually in comparative politics, but as it was virtually the only politics post advertised that year I applied for it. Shortly afterwards I was away, as were my parents. They got back on a Sunday and ‘phoned me – I was visiting another relative – to say that a telegram had arrived asking if I was planning to attend the university for interview. Fortunately, the telegram alerted them to the fact that a letter had already arrived from the University of Hull. Without the telegram, they would probably have held on to letter until I got home some days later. As it was, the letter invited me to interview. The interview was scheduled for the Monday – the following day. I had to get my things together and then drive to Hull – this was before the Humber Bridge was built, so driving from Lincolnshire to Hull took much longer than it does nowadays. I got there in the evening: a room was booked for me in the hotel (then called the Newland Park Hotel) across the road from the main University entrance.
I presented myself at the university the following morning for a meeting with members of staff and then for the interview, which took place in the administration building (pictured). I think there were four or five candidates who were interviewed. We were asked to stay until the end of the afternoon, when the panel planned to make a decision. We sat in the main Council Chamber while the panel deliberated. I was then invited back to the interview room to be offered the post.
So within a little over 24 hours of knowing I was being invited for interview, I was offered the job. But it could have been so very different.