And so we move to the “swinging sixties”, a decade of significant growth and expansion for the University. Projections made at the beginning of the 1960s were that Southampton would reach a total of 4,000 students by 1980. However, in 1963 the Robbins Report was published. This proposed great expansion in higher education and recommended that the number of students at English Universities should rise from 150,000 to 170,000. Southampton seized this opportunity and offered to increase its students to 4,000 by 1967.In the 1963-4 session, seven new chairs were created and about 50 new appointments made, within 15 departments. The following year 135 appointments were made in four departments. The decade also saw a remarkable number of new buildings.
Key to the 1960s was architect Sir Basil Spence who had been charged the previous decade with creating a “master plan” for the Highfield Campus and all the major buildings of this period were designed by him.In 1966 the University was graced by a visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She saw an exhibition of Kinetic art, the Nuffield Theatre and various displays in the Senior Common room.
In the pre-war era Arts had been a small part of what was primarily a science, engineering and teacher training college. In the 1960s, the General Degree was replaced with a new Combined Honours Degree. The following year, 1963, the Arts 1 Building was completed as part of the “Nuffield complex”; this building is now used by the Law School.The faculty was, at last, united! The new building allowed the faculty to leave the “main building”, i.e. Library, for the first time and to expand. A one-year MA programme was launched in 1966.
The Department of Archaeology was established in 1966. The chair was given to Barry Cunliffe who, aged 26, was believed to be the youngest professor the college or university had ever appointed. The Modern Languages Department transferred its teaching of languages for non-specialists to a new language centre under Tom Carter, with two language laboratories. The Library hold some records of the Modern Language Society in MS 1 A308.The Arts II building (Management and Music since 1996) was built in 1968. This was to accommodate, among other departments, Geography. As well as lecture rooms, it provided a cartographic studio and laboratories. The poet F.T.Prince was Professor of English from 1957 to 1974: he is probably best remembered for his collection Soldiers Bathing (1954), the title poem of which is one of the most anthologised poems of the Second World War.
In 1961 Peter Evans was appointed first Professor of Music since 1928. He engineered the virtual creation of a Music Department involved in the academic study of music as well as a huge expansion of live performance.
The Science Faculty had 1,522 applicants for admission in October 1960; it was only permitted to take 160. As a result of the Robbins Report, the University appointed 11 Professors to the Faculty: four to arrive 1967-8 and the other seven the following year.
To help with expansion, new accommodation was built for the Chemistry department in 1960-1. It was later to be named after Graham Hill, Chair of Chemistry for some 18 years.Hill was appointed to the University in 1962. Under his leadership the Chemistry Department grew to become one of the most distinguished in Britain concentrating on electro-chemistry, chemical physics, organic chemistry and inorganic spectroscopy. An extension was added to the Hill building in 1965. An international summer school in electro-chemistry was launched in 1969.
Oceanography had its origins in the Department of Zoology. As an embryonic department it was promoted with enthusiasm by Professor John Raymont: he started researching the marine biology of coastal waters using Zoology’s first boat Aurelia. Oceanography became a separate department in October 1964 and John Raymont became Professor of Biological Oceanography. A new building north of the campus on Burgess Road was completed in 1965; designed in brick by the Sheppard Robson Partnership. Since 1996 this has housed part of Electronics and Computer Science.The Botany and Geology building (later renamed the Shackleton building) was completed in 1966. The architect was again Basil Spence. Since 1996, it has housed Geography and Psychology. George Hutchinson was appointed to the second chair in Physics in 1960. The Department became increasingly interested in cryogenics, surface physics and solar-terrestrial physics. It received a new building in 1966 complete with an observatory. A further two Chairs were appointed: Eric Lee who worked on fundamental solid-state studies in magnetism and John Taylor who specialised in theoretical particle physics.
Engineering and Applied Science
The Lanchester and Tizard buildings for Engineering, Electronics and Aerospace studies were opened in May 1960. They were located on the north of ‘Engineering square’ and connected to the pre-existing engineering facilities.The Lanchester building, housing Electronics, aeronautics, electrical engineering and hydraulics, is named after alumnus F.W.Lanchester. Famous for his contributions to aeronautical, automobile and other branches of engineering, Lanchester had been a student at the Hartley Institution. The Tizard building replaced the old aeronautics laboratory and housed the wind-tunnels plus the mechanical department. The wind tunnel had been a gift from Vickers Supermarine at Swindon (originally located in Southampton) and a second large working section was added for helicopter rotor, industrial aerodynamics and yacht sail research. Among other achievements, Sir Henry Tizard helped develop radar during World War Two; he was also one of the University’s first pro-Chancellors. Despite growth in student numbers during its first dozen years, the Engineering Faculty was unable to find enough good applicants to expand as fast as other Faculties. To help remedy this, it founded the Southampton Engineering and Applied Science Forum in 1967 with Bob Gammon, then Head of Science at Richard Taunton’s College, as the first Director, and Professor Ron Bell as the first Chairman. This brought together representatives of schools, universities and industry, its aim to devise ways of persuading more young people to choose careers in applied science. The Faraday Tower, designed by Basil Spence, was built between 1960 and 1963 also to house the Engineering Faculty. The Electrical Engineering Department had proposed that the new building should be named the Maxwell Building, after James Clerk Maxwell who had formulated the basic equations of electromagnetism. The Dean of the Faculty was not keen on that proposal in case people thought the University was linked with the publisher Robert Maxwell and so Faraday – after Michael Faraday, famed for his work with electromagnetism and electrochemistry – was chosen instead. It consisted of a ten-storey tower for Electrical Engineering and a large laboratory block for Civil Engineering.
The faculty received an extension in 1968 with the Wolfson and Raleigh buildings.In November 1961 the University Senate had approved that an Advisory Committee on Vibration and Noise Studies be set up as a sub-committee of the Board of the Faculty of Engineering under Professor Elfyn J.Richards as Chairman. Two years later, in 1963, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) was established by Professor Richards. He was given the title Professor of Industrial Acoustics in 1964. Through the sixties, it worked on an expanding range of problems, for example using lasers to predict failure in heavy machinery of the sort used in ships or drilling rigs. In 1966 an “Advisory Service for Industry” was established within the Institute. Philip Doak had been recruited to Southampton by Richards in 1962. On his arrival he was asked to design acoustic laboratories for the new Institute, and also to assist with establishing the Journal of Sound and Vibration. The first issue of the journal appeared in January 1964. In the early 1960s, there were remarkable developments in solid-state electronics: microelectronics had arrived! Undergraduate courses concentrating on electronics were needed to enable students to study this challenging subject in more breadth and depth. Southampton was the first department in Britain to respond to this need, by launching a new BSc course in Electronics in October 1959, in the Faculty of Science. In the 1963-4 academic session the department had 9 academic staff; by 1969-70 this had risen to 28. Professor Geoffrey Sims headed the Department of Electronics between 1963 and 1974, replacing Professor Eric Zepler. In 1963 the Department was housed within the new Lanchester Building. Separate space was found for microelectronics work with the top two floors of the newly built Faraday building given over for offices and laboratory space. Towards the end of the decade Southampton had the first professional standard clean room in any university in the country, enabling us to process silicon technology and devices.
The University had a medicine-related Department of Physiology and Biochemistry. In 1967, the Royal Commission on Medical Education advised the Government that there was a strong case for establishing a new medical school in Southampton. The previous year it had established that there needed to be an immediate and substantial increase in the number of doctors. Sir Kenneth Mather, (Vice Chancellor 1965-71) whose specialism was genetics, had been an enthusiastic supporter of the project.Professor Donald Acheson arrived in October 1968 to be the foundation Dean and the first intake of students arrived two years later, in 1971.
Economics was transformed into the Faculty of Social Sciences in 1962. It was divided into 5 departments: Economics, Sociology and Social Studies, Politics, Economic Statistics and Commerce and Accounting.
The Mathematics tower was built in 1963-5 by Ronald H Sims in the “brutalist style” with exposed concrete.During this decade, Mathematics devised and promoted the School Mathematics Project (SMP), a new way to teach Mathematics in secondary schools which aimed to make it more fun and more relevant to contemporary needs.
Examination papers from the period are preserved in our strongrooms: do you think you would pass?
Halls of residence
As a consequence of growth, the percentage of students living in halls of residence had fallen from 46 percent to 37 percent. Long-standing Council member, James Matthews, had convinced the University that the growing student body would require more accommodation and set about acquiring the first essential: land. The University bought 4 acres of land at the junction of Burgess Road and the Avenue and were also given the right to acquire some 200 houses on or near the campus, all for subsequent demolition to release their sites.One wing of Chamberlain Hall was open for the 1959-60 session enabling 60 students to take up residence and a further 90 places became available in the summer of 1960. This new hall of residence for female students was possible due to a gift from the late Miss Mary Chamberlain and the late Miss Charlotte Chamberlain. The adjacent South Hill, formerly a self-contained residence for 30 students also became part of Chamberlain Hall. South Stoneham House, Montefiore and Connaught Hall make up what is now known at the Wessex Lane complex. The stables and servants’ quarters at South Stoneham House were demolished in 1961 and in 1964 a concrete tower extension was added to the hall, incorporating a bar and dining hall area. The tower contains 180 student rooms over its 17 floors and is 48.7 metres high; it wast the 10th-tallest building in Southampton as of December 2017!
Montefiore House (often referred to as ‘Monte’) as a hall of residence was opened in 1966, built on the grounds of the sports field.These original structures are now known as Montefiore A and B. They housed approximately three hundred students in study bedrooms on individual corridor flats, with shared kitchens and other facilities, ranged over 5 floors. Chilworth Manor was purchased in 1964 and made into a hall of residence for about 60 first year students.
Professional Support Services: the Library, Computing Services and Administration
At this time, the ‘Main Building’ housed not only the Library, but also Administration and provided classrooms for several faculties. The Gurney-Dixon link had opened at the very end of the last decade, December 1959. This provided a large extension to the original pre-war building. At the start of the decade there was space for 250,000 books and periodicals and 550 readers.In May 1962, the Library Committee carried out a survey of students attitudes to the Library, the first survey of its kind to be undertaken in the UK. At this time there were 1417 undergraduates at the University and a random sample of 200 was chosen:
The proportion of students using the Main Library much for borrowing (2 or more books a week) ranged from 52% in Arts to 0% in Engineering; Economics, with 19%, had the second highest proportion. […] In all faculties the proportion of students using the Main Library for working with their own books was high […] and 21% used it for “other purposes” (e.g. letter writing).
28% of the sample used the catalogues as a first resort, 13% never used them if they could help it.
65% found the Library staff always ready to help, 22% helpful but not always available, and 3% not helpful […]It had never occured to over half the students that the staff could help them with a subject inquiry […]
A great coup for the University was the acquisition of the Parkes Library. It was originally the private library of Revd. Dr James Parkes (1896-1981) who devoted his life to investigating and combating the problem of anti-Semitism. Parkes began collecting books whilst working for the International Student Service in Europe during the 1930s. On his return to Britain in 1935, following an attempt on his life by the Nazis, he made the collection available to other scholars at his home in Barley near Cambridge.By the time Parkes’ library was transferred to University of Southampton Library in 1964 it amounted to over 4,000 books, 2,000 pamphlets and 140 journals.
It was in the 1964-5 session that Geoff Hampson was appointed Assistant Librarian in charge of the Special Collections and Archives; at the same time, a “suitable repository” was established for the material. In addition, the Library was also one of the first in the country to introduce a computer-based issue system, using punched cards.
In 1967 the Computing Services was set up as a service operation outside the Mathematics Department: not for research into computing as a science, but for serving the University. The University had acquired its first computer the previous decade.
The department moved from the Library to its own purpose-built building in 1969: it was already too small to accommodate the growing number of staff.
The Union organised the first Arts Festival, opened in March 1961 by Sir Basil Spence. In 1962-3 the Theatre Group’s Volpone was one of 5 finalists in The Sunday Times drama festival.In 1963, with support from the Nuffield Foundation, the University of Southampton built a theatre on its campus for the people of Southampton: the Nuffield Theatre.
The Nuffield Theatre was designed by Basil Spence and officially opened by Dame Sybil Thorndike on 2 March 1964.The Music Department pioneered a scheme sponsored by its major benefactor the Radcliffe Trust, which each year brought the Allegri String Quartet to the University for short periods of residence. The University also gave contracts to a succession of distinguished young players and ensembles to enable them to reside for a number of years, giving regular performances and teaching their instruments. So professionals and students each presented weekly lunchtime recital series and the madrigal choir (under David Brown for more than two decades), the chamber orchestra and the symphony orchestra gave regular concerts.
In 1967, John Sweetman was appointed first lecturer in Fine Art. He had three responsibilities: to organise art exhibitions, to manage the University’s permanent art collection and to lecture on the history of art. The gallery in the Nuffield was far from satisfactory, with windows on three sides which had to be blacked out, but Sweetman managed to organise three exhibitions a term. From 1967 a succession of Fine Arts Fellows (among them Ned Hoskins and Ray Smith) spent periods at the University where they were given studios and provided general support to its cultural life.
By 1960-1 the Union had expanded into almost the whole of the “West Building” – the Old Union Building – dating back to the 1940s, in red brick style. By 1967 the new Students’ Union building was completed, in the Basil Spence masterplan, offering on-site catering, shopping, indoor sports and a debating chamber for the first time. The two buildings were connected by an underground tunnel.The Old Union Building over three floors housed, among other facilities, a TV room, Radio Club room and Wessex News office, the club and society meetings rooms and a second-hand book and records exchange. The new Union building included a refectory to seat 475, ballroom and bar. It also provided a debating chamber which could also accommodate musical performances. The sports facilities included provisions for squash, badminton, basketball, fencing, cricket, and tennis practice as well as gymnastics, a billiards room, table tennis room, and a judo room. Other facilities less commonly provided today included a laundry and ironing room, a hair washing room, bath and shower cubicles as well as a pottery and painting studio. The Union was required to cancel the 1960 RAG, after the University threatened disciplinary action against it. It was resurrected in 1963. The annual Union dinner was regularly criticized as elitist, but remained an annual event. The 1960s saw the beginnings of student protest. These varied from a boycott of the refectory due to the quality of the food to support for national and international causes. These included support for were protesting students in Berlin (June 1967), French students and workers opposing the Gaullist regime (May 1968) and imprisoned Russian intellectuals (June 1968). Among the British causes it supported were the right of Sikhs to wear turbans when employed by Wolverhampton Corporation and Ford workers in their strike at wide Lane. In 1969 it voted to ban Enoch Powell from Union premises. The first unofficial sit-in took place 3-4 February 1968 when about 50 students occupied the Administration’s offices in the main building for 24 hours in support of London School of Economics students. No damage was done, though the occupation put the University’s telephone exchange out of action. 17 months later (30 June to 2 July 1969) there was a 48-hour official occupation of the same offices by about 60 students, protesting at the number of students required to resit examinations that year. The sit-ins continued into the 1970 about which you can read in our next post.
This period also saw the establishment of a student health centre with a sick bay at Chamberlain Hall.
The University boat club was one of the many sporting activities in which Southampton students could choose to partake in this decade. Others included rugby, basketball, hockey, lacrosse and squash.In 1963 Bruce Tulloh, a former Botany student, broke the British two-, three- and six-mile records and won a gold medal at the World Games. In 1969 he was to run from Los Angeles to New York in 64 days, 20 hours, breaking the previous record by 8 days.
As we draw this long post to a close, it is obvious that so much was achieved during this decade. The University saw incredible expansion in the sixties: the institution truly seized the opportunities offered by the Robbins report with both hands. Look out for our next post to read the next chapter in the University’s history and learn about the challenges and opportunities brought by the 1970s.