Toronto-born Aldham ‘Aldie’ Robarts began his career in banking before emigrating to Liverpool, where he specialised in newspaper advertising and management.
He was a great champion and ambassador of the city of Liverpool, holding a range of key posts including President of the Liverpool Publicity Association, Chairman of the Liverpool and Merseyside Branch of the Institute of Directors, Director of the Liverpool Playhouse and Trustee of the Anfield Foundation.
Aldie was made an Honorary Fellow of LJMU in 1992 and was a member of the Board of Trustees between 1993 and 2008. He was also awarded an OBE in The Queen’s birthday honours in 2015.
“Aldie was one of our founding benefactors, helping us to develop our two city centre libraries which were subsequently named after Aldham and his wife Avril. He was as generous with his time as he was with his investment in the university and his interest in the achievements of our students was genuine and heartfelt.”
– Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Power
During the 1990s, once the polytechnic became LJMU, an ambitious programme of capital developments took place to transform the campus, student facilities and research capabilities.
Many buildings, some dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were refurbished, and a series of bespoke buildings developed, including two libraries, or Learning Resource Centres, as they were originally called. These were the Aldham Robarts Library, based at the heart of what has become the Mount Pleasant Campus, and the Avril Robarts Library in Tithebarn Street, which supports students in the City Campus. Both of these buildings were made possible thanks to the generous support of donors Aldham and Avril Robarts and opened in 1994 and 1998 respectively.
The Aldham Robarts Learning Resource Centre, as originally named, was designed by architecture graduate Glenn Ombler when he was working for Austin-Smith: Lord, and won awards from both the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Civic Trust in 1994 and 1996 respectively.