Trent University Crest: A History

Below is a chronology of the development of the Trent University Coat of Arms and Trent Crest (sometimes called the Trent Logo)

1962: Jane Zeidler working with Trent re crest, motto, and colours

1963: “Trent has a new crest awaiting approval by the College of Heralds, London. The crest is a shield with three wavy blue lines running laterally across a gold background and a sword pointing downwards on a red background.” [This proposed crest was used on the first calendar and on publications associated with the first fundraising campaigns. It was designed through Frank Davies Design Unit].

1963: [Our supposition is that Eric Aldwinkle (1909-1980) working for the Frank Davies Design Unit produced the above described crest which was used on the first calendar (1964-1965) and on the earliest fund-raising publicity materials. He was apparently asked to revise it somewhat in early 1964. Throughout the fall of 1963 there was correspondence back and forth between Frank Davies & Trent personnel regarding designs that Davies did for the brochure, calendar and a Christmas card, the latter being unacceptable to Trent. By December 1963 Trent had called a meeting to look over new designs for the coat-of-arms, type style, and design of printed materials. Other correspondence in 1963 with Frank Davies asked him to rethink afresh all Trent designs. Trent reminded him that they were free to alter anything over the next 6 to 7 months. On 1 April 1964 Trent was asking Davies where the new designs were and told him, “We are now seeking other advice with respect to the University’s Coat of Arms and colours.” Davies reached some agreement with Trent and sent a package of drawings to Trent around the end of April. These were rejected by Trent in a letter addressed to Davies on 6 May 1964. Correspondence around the 20 May 1964 indicates that the University was already talking to Allan Fleming, designer,  and Cooper and Beatty, graphic design company, about Trent designs. Fleming was, at this point, employed at McLaren Advertising. Allan Fleming went on to design the Trent crest (sometimes called the Trent logo)  in dark green. It was Anthony Crawford at Cooper & Beatty who incorporated these into printed materials including the embossed opening ceremonies program and the second calendar ].

1963 – October 2: R.H. Sadleir to Mrs. E.H. Zeidler: “…It is difficult to believe that nearly a full year has passed since a Committee was struck to suggest a crest and motto for Trent. As a result of your thoughtful efforts, the University adopted last year a handsome crest which was used widely in the highly successful financial campaign…”

1964: [Anthony Crawford is production manager of the creative division of Cooper & Beatty; letter exists thanking him and congratulating him on the announcements of re-admissions and the application forms].

1964 – February 7: J.F. Brook to T.H.B. Symons: “… It seems to me inexcusable that, after so long a period of deliberation and discussion, we have not yet found it possible to produce the official version of the University’s coat of arms…”

1964 – February 12: T.H.B. Symons to R.H. Sadleir: “…I would be grateful if you would concentrate on just two objectives in your efforts over the next two weeks in regard to the University’s Arms, Colours, etc…. the definition of a handsome, dignified and acceptable Coat of Arms which can be firm, official and forever…”

1964 – February 20: R.H. Sadleir to A.R. Fleming: “…Mr. Ronald Thom will already have been in touch with you to convey our desire that you should design a crest which will be suitable for the coat of arms of Trent University. As you know, the symbols which we have chosen are the sword of Champlain and the river…”

1964 – April 1: R.H. Sadleir to Frank Davies (Davies Designs): “…On February 17, 1964, we had discussions in Peterborough concerning the coat of arms and colours for Trent University…”

1964 – May 6: J.F. Brook to Frank Davies: “…It is with some regret that my colleagues and I have decided to seek other advice in the preparation and design of an appropriate coat of arms for the University…”

1964 – May 8: R.H. Sadleir to A.R. Fleming: “… the Campus Planning Committee of Trent University accepted at its meeting on Tuesday, May 5th, both your original design for the University crest and also the design incorporated in a shield with the motto… these proposals have to be presented to the Board of Governors at their next meeting… Until the designs are accepted formally by them, they are, of course, not officially adopted…”

1964 – June 1: T.H.B. Symons to Professor J.S. Pettigrew: “… No formal action was taken by the Board in regard to adopting a coat of arms. It was agreed that day by day use might for the present be made of Mr. Fleming’s design, pending the result of further research by Dean Sadleir and recommendations from the Academic Planning…”

[1965 – June 18]: Kerr… Barristers.... to J.M. Treadwell: “….We are enclosing a copy of Trade Marks Journal No. 560, Volume 12, of June 16, 1965 which you will observe… of the adoption and use of the Trent University Crest as set out therein…”

1965 – July 7: J.M. Treadwell to S.H. Murphy, Barrister: “…Thank you very much for your recent letter with its enclosed copy of the Trade Marks Journal No. 560, Vol. 12, containing public notice of the adoption of the Trent University crest…”

1966: [Allan Fleming remarked in a letter that "freelance" heraldry is frowned on by the College of Heralds - they want to do it themselves for "prestige and financial reasons".]

1967 – January 4: R.H. Sadleir to Professor C.J. Fordyce: “…The Registrar has forwarded to me your recent letter enquiring about the Coat-of-Arms of Trent University. As it happens, no further negotiations have taken place since Mr. Treadwell wrote to you over a year ago, in the development of an official Coat-of-Arms for the University. In the meanwhile we are using quite widely the crest which appears on our letterhead to identify the University…”

1967 – November 10: Design Committee meeting minutes: “… Mr. Lewis requested that business forms be included [in a graphics manual] and that a statement on the use of the University’s crest also be deal with in the proposed manual…”

1967 – November 17: R.H. Sadleir to J.D.P. Martin: “… You are quite correct in suggesting that all of the elements included in the University’s crest were adapted from the official Coat of Arms of the City of Peterborough, Ontario… We have not formally approached the College of Arms because (a) the undertaking is expensive, (b) and even more important, it is very evident that they will not approve any symbol which does not conform to the shape of the accepted shield. All attempts to transpose the design of Allan Fleming which appears on this letterhead, have been very unsatisfactory and distort the balance of his design. In addition, the College of Arms is unwilling to accept our shade of green as being an official heraldic colour. All in all, anything they will approve will be remote from the crest which is now in use and I, for one, am unwilling to initiate a change at this time… The present crest is officially registered with the Dominion Government and may not be reproduced without the permission of the University...”.

1971 – January 8: T.H.B. Symons to Duke of Norfolk: “…which Board [Trent BOG] being desirous that the Common Seal of Trent University should contain fit and proper Armorial Ensigns, … to request the favour of Your Grace’s Warrant to the Kings of Arms for their granting and assigning such Armorial Ensigns, and in the same Patent such Badge or Device …”

1978 – May 10: Jim English to Robert Wasserman: “…The University does not at this time have a coat of arms as such although preliminary discussions have been held with the College of Heralds in England regarding the development of one…”

1992 Trent: The Making of a University 1957-1987 / by A.O.C. Cole: “… It was decided not to try to get a coat-of-arms approved by the College of Heralds because of the cost.” p. 30

Trent therefore has a registered crest but, for aesthetic and financial reasons, did not pursue development of a coat-of-arms. Refer especially to Alf Cole’s quote, 1992, and R.H. Sadleir’s correspondence, November 17 1967 (both above).

Addenda: There were two committees in play which dealt with design issues during the early years: a Design Committee (November 1967 to May 1968?), and a Publications & Design Committee which was a presidential advisory (September 1969 to 1972?).


  • RG 1: Box 4 Folder 25; Box 6 Folder 5; Box 24 Folders 15 & 16; Box 26 Folder 56
  • RG 2: Box 29; Box 36 (Folder titles: Design Committee, Cooper & Beatty Ltd., Allan R. Fleming, and Frank Davies (Design Unit))
  • Large Materials Cabinet: Drawer 3
  • We also hold in the Archives a few materials from the Cooper & Beatty company.