Suited men with manila folders may well have been college dignitaries but, conscious of my backpacker's gear, I decided not to approach them.
I probably would not have gone inside without the tea temptation, and the other interesting signage, promising an exhibition on the impact of migrant doctors on the National Health Service (NHS).
The scene was set with a 1950 Lancet clipping, an editorial expounding on an Australian researcher’s findings of harsh conditions and low-quality care in British general practice, especially in the industrial areas.
Overwork, it seemed, was killing the profession.
By 1982, with the migrant GP population having boosted numbers, South Asian GPs had become the backbone of care in those industrial towns and cities, the exhibition showed. They made up about a third of the GPs in Liverpool, Sunderland, Wigan and Birmingham, and more than half the GPs in Walsall, at a time of especially high unemployment. It must have been Struggle Street.
This put me in mind of one of my first articles for New Zealand Doctor, a profile of Sadanand Hegde, who went from Madras, India, to Wainuiomata near Wellington, and served there as a GP for 36 years.
According to the exhibition, many of the migrant doctors worked in husband-and-wife partnerships, as Dr Hegde did.