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Love Act(UAL)ly - Part II

Selection of flowers on sale near Wimbledon
Selection of flowers on sale near Wimbledon
Photographer: Jo Mansfield
Written by
Eleanor Harvey
Published date
14 February 2019

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we thought we’d share some of the romantic stories we've been sent by alumni who met whilst studying at UAL.

Richard & Katie Irving  

The first couple in our feature is Richard Irving (BA (Hons) Graphic Design, CSM) and Katie Irving (BA (Hons) and Masters in Textile Design, Chelsea). They met in the old Central Saint Martins (CSM) Cyber Café on Southampton Row…

Richard and Katie Irving in 2004
Richard and Katie Irving in 2004

In 2004 Katie started working at the old CSM Cyber Cafe at Southampton Row where Richard studied. It wasn't long before they caught each other's eye as Richard played Foosball and Katie worked making amazing sandwiches. After many attempts at trying to give Richard free tea cakes (and him politely declining), Richard finally got the message and plucked up the courage (on his last day at college) to ask her out! Gladly, she accepted and they started going out. It wasn't long before they fell madly in love; they were engaged just 6 months later and married the following Christmas of 2005!

They stayed in London for the next 2 years as Katie finished up her Master's Degree at Chelsea and Richard started working as a Graphic Designer for a non-profit organisation. Katie would spend most of her days researching and working in the studio while Richard worked and in the evenings would come to College and help Katie in the studio.

In 2007 they made the jump to New York City; Katie started her professional career at Eli Tahari [] as a Textile Designer and Richard started working in architecture studios as a Graphic Designer.

After 18 months in New York, Katie and Richard were both offered jobs at the retail brand Abercrombie & Fitch. They are now based in the town of Columbus, Ohio and have been working for the company for over 10 years. Katie is currently working as Senior Director of Textile Design and Concept for Abercrombie Kids and Richard is Senior Design Director for Hollister Marketing. They are proud parents of Marianne, their 8-year-old daughter and have just celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary.

It's been over 15 years since they first met at Southampton Row and there isn't a year that goes by that they don't talk about that moment in the CSM Cyber Cafe back in 2004!

Richard and Katie Irving with their daughter in 2018
Richard and Katie Irving with their daughter in 2018

Linda & David Whitney

Next up, we have Linda (Diploma in Periodical Journalism, Journalism and Editing, LCC) and David Whitney (Graphic Origination & Reproduction). They met at London College of Communication (then London College of Printing) in the 1980s when Linda had to interview him for an assignment…

David and Linda in London in the 1980s
David and Linda in London in the 1980s

As a new student of periodical journalism at LCP, the first assignment was to find a story from around the college and write it up as a news item. I was a mature student, and confident that the president of the LCP student union would be a hapless youth who I could trap into saying something embarrassing.

Turned out to be a very attractive, intelligent young man, who, after giving me a story about how the student cards had not yet been received from NUS, suggested I take the post of union social secretary, which I did.

Reader, I married him - and 37 years later we are still together.

David and Linda Whitney in Istanbul in 2017
David and Linda Whitney in Istanbul in 2017


The next story was submitted anonymously, and is about a group of four great friends who met on their first day at CSM…

I made three great friends at college. There were about 30 in the class. We all went to the pub after our induction at CSM. It was actually the only pub trip we all made together in the three years studying in Back Hill. That night I conveniently sat next to the ‘three great friends from college’, first was a Scottish chap who was very chatty, then there was a girl from Luxembourg (a country I had never heard of) and another girl who had springy curls who was from the east coast of the US.

Term started properly and it quickly became apparent we weren’t going to live the university experience we’d seen on the telly, starter for ten and red plastic cups were off the table, which was perfect for me. We’d arrive into college, sit in a lecture and leave promptly, in cliques, for lunch in Hatton Garden or we’d visit a gallery and its café if we were off work.

A lot of us worked part-time, around college hours. I got a job in a gallery and managed to get my new international crew onto the rota too. I grew up in London so I introduced the new gang to some school friends. The Luxembourger got on well with my best friend from school who was now a marine. Coming from London, I had access to a car and would drive us around or to my Grandma’s for country walks, listening to ‘bangers’. We’d see each other fragmentary, living each day as it came and working right up to deadlines.

In my first and second year, I was going out with a flatmate who was a graduate of the Drama Centre and nearly 10 years my elder. We were in college for about 3 days per week and I worked for about 3 days a week and spent most of my money on food, fags and coffee. Preparing for the third year we were asked if we wanted to work in groups, and the Scottish chap and I decided to join forces. We spent a lot of time together and had spacey talks about angels and art. My family loved spending time with him. Edging towards our final year we decided that we should try to be together as boyfriend and girlfriend because we were best friends and it seemed that grown-ups meet their spouse at college, so I exited the grimy theatrical house and we both spent our last uni-days at my Mums house. I only had a single bed so we’d be squished into that at about 4am, after we’d worked on our group project all night. We did well to support each other and we got a great grade.

Flash forward nearly 10 years, the Luxembourger is still going out with my best friend from school. I was the proud maid of honour for the curly east coaster who met a lovely chap when he was moored outside her apartment (in a houseboat) shortly after we graduated. The Scot had to move back up after we graduated, for a job. We broke up on the phone, I was in my Mums bedroom at the time, but it was quite natural. I went to his wedding a couple of years ago. He definitely found his person and they’ve since had a beautiful and bright daughter.

I’ll always carry the three great friends I made at CSM in my heart. My mum now lives beside Back Hill and I can’t help but smile every-time I walk past the old building.

Eileen & Annirut

We featured this story in our original post in 2015, and it needs help with its happy ending.  Eileen Waterman met Annirut at the London College of Fashion, they fell in love but lost contact over time. and Eileen is still looking for him. Can you help reunite them?

Annirut in the 1960s

I was a student at LCF in 1967/68, and I fell in love with a Thai boy named Annirut.  We got engaged, but unfortunately (the ’60s being what they were) I was unfaithful and he broke off the engagement. The last I heard from him was a letter from Switzerland.

For years now I have been trying to trace him but to no avail. The fact that I can’t recall his last name does not help. I have recently made an appeal to the daily mail to help with my search.  I hope one day we find each other, but as the years roll by it seems unlikely…

Here is a picture of Annirut holding a cake box he had given me on Valentine’s Day.

If you recognise Annirut or have any information that might help Eileen with her search, please get in touch.

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    Love Act(UAL)ly - Part II

    UAL alumni share their stories of falling in love whilst studying at the Colleges.