Monthly Archives: August 2019

Highfield Campus 100: 1980-2000

As we get closer to the Highfield centenary we cover the last two ‘roller coaster’ decades of the twentieth century.

The main issue confronting John Roberts, the new Vice-Chancellor when he arrived in the Autumn of 1979, was the anticipated reduction in Government funding for higher education. With this in view, he set up a Working Party on Academic Goals, which concluded that the Theology Department should be closed, Italian reviewed and Russian reduced as quickly as possible.

Professor John Roberts [MS1/Phot/31/34]

When the Government cuts were announced in 1981, Southampton’s funding was reduced by 3.2% for 1981/2, followed by reductions of 8.7% in 1982/3 and 6.2% in 1983/4 – cuts less severe than those imposed on many other universities.

Measures to avoid creating a deficit included cutting 200 jobs, with funding for the Arts, Education and Social Science faculties being reduced by three times as much as that for Science, Engineering and Medicine. This proved deeply unpopular and amidst accusations that the funding crisis was being used as an excuse to restructure the University, a group of Social Sciences staff, led by Professor Ken Hilton proposed an alternative strategy. Debates on the proposals filled many issues of the staff newsletter, Viewpoint, and eventually the original plan was rejected by Senate. A second plan, which spread the cuts more evenly, looked for other forms of savings and replaced compulsory redundancies with voluntary retirements, passed Senate in 1982.

Leaflet produced during the campaign against cuts in University funding [Rare Books Univ. Coll. LF 789.86]

Although John Roberts was criticised by some for his handling of the situation, by 1985 when he returned to Oxford, the University’s finances had achieved stability. Looking to other sources of income it became increasingly successful in attracting research funding, grants and contracts, with earned income increasing from £5.4 million in 1980/1 to £11.4 million in 1983/4.

Despite the difficult financial situation, the early 1980s saw a number of positive developments and initiatives. In 1983 the Institute of Maritime Law was established, the following year Oceanography was selected by the University Grants Commitee to expand, the Department of Computer Studies and the Centre for Mathematics Education were set up, whilst the go ahead was given for the Chilworth Centre for Advanced Technology. There were also commitments to new buildings for Music and Electronics. A campaign to bring the papers of the First Duke of Wellington to the University Library, following their acceptance by the Treasury in lieu of death duties, was successful and the Leverhulme Trust granted £95,000 for work on the collection. At the same time, the UGC Committee agreed to provide £2 million for a Library extension.

In terms of Arts, the John Hansard Gallery opened in September 1980, bringing together the Photographic Gallery and the University Art Gallery with the aim of providing a catalyst for ideas and generating a network of activities. In 1983 the Nuffield Theatre Trust was formed by the University, Southampton City Council, Hampshire County Council and Southern Arts, which put the theatre on a more sound financial footing.

Sir Gordon Higginson [MS1/Phot/19/70]

The direction of travel begun under John Roberts continued under his successor Sir Gordon Higginson. There were further reductions in the block grant but the UGC did approve the University’s plan for expansion which set a target of 10,000 students by 2000. A new focus and efficiency was brought to fundraising by the creation of the post of Director of Industrial Affairs and the establishment of the Southampton University Development Trust. By 1987/8 income from research and contracts had grown to £20 million.

The later years of the 1980s saw the first nurses graduating from the School of Nursing Studies, the creation of the School of Biological Sciences, the doubling in size of Geology and plans for expanding Archaeology and Philosophy.

Chilworth Research Centre, first phase from: University Annual Report 1986/7 [Univ. Coll. per LF 786.4]

Chilworth Research Centre was officially opened in 1986 and in 1987 the eagerly anticipated new computer, an IBM 3090-150, with 32 megabytes of memory and a filestore of 20 gigabytes arrived.  Its importance was demonstrated by the fact that the new service was officially opened by Kenneth Baker, the Secretary of State for Education.

The IBM 3090 arrives at Building 54 from: New Reporter 23 January 1987 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.62]

The project to extend and refurbish the Library was completed in the same year, and in March 1988 it was officially renamed as the Hartley Library by Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Countess Mountbatten of Burma at the Library re-naming ceremony, March 1988 [MS1/Phot/1/52/15]

Expansion on all fronts was the key feature of the 1990s. There were new buildings, new campuses and a growing number of students – developments which had often begun under Gordon Higginson and which came to fruition under Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor 1994-2001.

Sir Howard Newby [MS1/Phot/19/111]

Finding a solution to the overcrowded Highfield site was the issue which dominated the late 1980s and early 1990s. Proposals included further development at Chilworth and even the creation of a new campus for 7,000 students at Lords Wood, but ultimately neither proposal was supported by the City Council. Instead, it facilitated the acquisition of sites closer to Highfield – Richard Taunton College and Hampton Park School, the former being redeveloped as Avenue Campus.

Avenue Campus from: Undergraduate Prospectus 1997 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.8]

1996 was a bumper year for the University, bringing the opening of the National Oceanographic Centre at Southampton Docks – a joint initiative with Natural Environment Research Council’s Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, the amalgamation with Winchester School of Art and the move of the Arts Faculty, with the exception of Music, to Avenue Campus. The following year another campus was added, when the University took on responsibility for La Sainte Union College, which it transformed into New College. This became the home for the Department of Adult Continuing Education an initiative very much in tune with the 1997 Dearing Report, which proposed that universities should provide more opportunity for lifelong learning, engage more effectively with the local community and widen participation.

The Duke of Edinburgh looking at the figurehead from H.M.S. Challenger at the official opening of the National Oceanographic Centre, May 1996 [MS1/Phot/5/20/4]

At Highfield, the 1990s brought the Mountbatten Building for Electronics and Computer Science, completed in 1991, the School of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy in 1994 and the Synthetic Chemistry Building in 1998. Behind the scenes there were plans for further development. Urban design consultants were employed to impose a unity on the site – one result being the reinvention of University Road as a tree-lined boulevard. A new approach to funding capital projects through loans brought a flurry of activity towards the end of the decade, resulting in the Gower and Zepler Buildings as well as the Social Sciences Graduate Centre.

The Gower Building from: University Annual Report 1999 [Univ. Coll. per LF 786.4]

Other aspects of University life which had their beginnings in the 1990s include the introduction of semesters which were intended to provide students with greater flexibility in their choice of options, the development of the first strategic plan and mission statement, the creation of the Alumni Office and establishment of the University of Southampton Society, the campus network and the introduction of the uni-link bus service.

uni-link buses [MS1/Phot/9/1/1]

One 1990s initiative no longer so much in evidence is the Dolphin logo chosen by the Visual Identity Project of 1990 to embody the spirit of the University because of its perceived intelligence, friendliness and links to the sea.

The Dolphin from: New Reporter 3 December 1990 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.62]

It was also at this time that the University first identified itself as a research-led institution. In Howard Newby’s view, this was the only way in which its status could be enhanced – something of growing importance given the introduction of league tables and the larger number of universities resulting from the change in status of polytechnics in 1992/3. Here the strategic plan began to show immediate results with much improved Research Assessment Exercise results for 1996, which placed Southampton ahead of its comparator institutions. In 1997 the School of Medicine’s research capabilities were greatly enhanced by a £3 million Wellcome Trust Millennial Clinical Research Facility Award. Whilst teaching now came second to research, that of the five departments which submitted for the Teaching Quality Assessment in 1995 was judged excellent, suggesting that good research and teaching could be compatible.

Over the course of the two decades, the number of students grew from around 6,000 in 1980 to just over 14,000 in 1998/9. That there were 21,840 applications for 2,020 places in 1991, suggests that Southampton was a popular place to study.

Students had supported staff in their opposition to the University’s plan to deal with the cuts of 1981, suggesting that savings elsewhere might alleviate the need for such a drastic cut in jobs. As far as their own funding was concerned, the President of the Students Union for 1981/2, Jon Sopel, calculated that their grant had been cut by 13.4% since 1979, writing in the Student Union Handbook that ‘this must be one of the worst times for becoming a student’.

Wessex News October 1981 [Rare Books Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

When the Union block grant was reduced in 1984/5, protests against the cuts included occupying the offices of the local Conservative Association and the more traditional method of writing to the local M.P.

The main threat of direct action against the University itself during this period occurred when it was proposed to use one floor of the Students Union for teaching, and there were calls to occupy the Administration Building in protest, fortunately the proposal was abandoned before the occupation could take place.

During the later years of the 1980s the issue of student loans was coming to the fore and in 1988 the Union passed a motion which described top-up loans, as ‘merely the thin end of the wedge … eventually leading to a full loans system’. This proved correct with top-up loans for living costs introduced in 1990/1 and in 1998/9 tuition fees of £1,000 per annum.

Student “no loans” campaign, 1989 [MS1/Phot/19/263]

Another pressing concern for students at this time was lack of accommodation as despite the doubling of student numbers, there had been no expansion of the halls of residence. The situation was addressed in the 1990s when 604 additional apartment style units were created at Montefiore in 1994, with 200 more at Glen Eyre in 1996 and 400 at Hartley Grove, Glen Eyre in 1998.

Students continued to achieve success in sporting activities, with Student National Champion teams including Men’s Volleyball in 1981, Women’s Fencing in 1982 and in 1992, both Indoor and Outdoor Archery. Engagement with the local community continued through the annual Rag and also the Community Interaction Department which offered opportunities to volunteer at playschemes, the local psychiatric hospital and Winchester Prison Remand Centre, amongst others.

PolyAna the plastics identification machine, from: New Reporter 8 July 1998 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.62]

As the new century approached, nine of the University’s inventions, including the PolyAna plastics identification machine, were awarded the Design Council’s ‘Millennium Product’ status for showing imagination, ingenuity and inspiration, forming part of a display adjacent to the Millennium Dome. To find out how the University fared at the opening of the 21st century look out for next month’s Highfield 100 blog post.



Travel journals: South and Central America

This week we continue our travel theme with a visit to South and Central America. This post draws on sources from our rare book stock – including accounts collected by John Pinkerton – as well as the diaries of the explorer William Mogg and correspondence of commercial traveller, Alfred Salinger.

Tropaeolum Majus, Greater Indian Cress or Nasturtium, a native of Peru and first brought to Europe in 1684 Curtis’s Botanical magazine vol. 1 [Rare Book per Q]

John Pinkerton was a Scottish cartographer and historian. He was not a great traveller himself, but collected and translated the accounts of others. His “general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world” includes a volume devoted to South America containing Captain’s Betagh’s observations on Peru; Alonso de Ovalle’s history of Chile; M. Bouguer’s voyage to Peru; an account of Don Antonio de Ulloa’s visit to South America and John Nieuhoff’s travels in Brazil.

‘View of Buenos Ayres’ from vol. 14 South America (1813): John Pinkerton A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

The engraving of Buenos Aires by John Byrne was used to illustrate the account of Don Antonio de Ulloa’s time in South America at the command of the King of Spain. Ulloa gives his impressions of the city:

He [Don Pedro de Mendoza] gave it the name of Buenos Ayres, on account of the extreme salubrity of the air. The city is built on a large plain, gently rising from the little river. It is far from being small, having at least three thousand houses […] The city is surrounded by a spacious and pleasant country, free from any obstruction to the sight.

Ulloa’s voyage to South America p.642-3 from vol. 14 South America (1813): John Pinkerton, A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English, (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

Island of St Thomas John Pinkerton, A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English, (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

The view of the St Thomas [now part of the Virgin Islands] illustrates John Nieuhoff’s account of his nine year stay in Brazil in the 1640s. He was clearly not on the pay-roll of their tourist board!

It is very fertile in black sugar and ginger; the sugar-fields being continually moistened by the melted snow that falls down from the mountains. There were at that time above sixty sugar mills there; but the air is the most unwholesome in the world, no foreigner daring to stay so much as one night ashore, without running the hazard of his life; because by the heat of the sun beams such venomous vapors are drawn from the earth, as are unsupportable to strangers.

Voyages and travels into Brazil by John Nieuhoff from John Pinkerton, A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English, (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

The Special Collections hold the papers of William Mogg. The third volume of his illustrated journals covers his time in South American waters, with accounts and illustrations from his voyage on the Beagle with Charles Darwin 1821-33. It was the observations that Darwin made during these expeditions that led him to formulate his theory of evolution.

‘Condor’: from the private journal of William Mogg, 1821–33 [MS 45 AO183/3]

William Mogg gives an account of the “metropolis of Brazil”, Rio de Janeiro:

In the environs of the city, are many beautiful situations; and while enjoying delightful rides amidst the richest, and most varied scenery, or resting in the shade of a veranda, refreshed by the sea-breeze, and overlooking a prospect hardly to be surpassed in any part of the world

William Mogg’s private journal, vol. 3 [MS 45 AO183/3]
Mole Palace and Cathedral, Rio de Janeiro from William Mogg’s private journal, vol. 3 [MS 45 AO183/3]

Mogg describes “Boto Fogo” as the Brighton of Rio and “from its situation exposed to the sea breeze, nothing more delightful can be wished for than this charming spot.” He goes on to say:

Many of the marine villas have egress to the sea for bathing, but in this fertile climate teaming with life, the attractions are so great, more especially to those fond of natural history, that he is scarcely able to walk at all.

William Mogg’s private journal, volume 3 [MS 45 AO183/3]

It all sounds quite delightful!

Cactus Flagelliformis which grows “spontaneously in South America and the West Indies”. Curtis’s Botanical magazine volume 1 [Rare Book per Q]

The Special Collections holds the papers of the Salinger family, including Morris and Harriet’s fifth child, Alfred (1867-1951). He spent two years at the City of London School and then began work for a firm of clothiers. Through family influence he went to work in Uruguay as a clerk in a firm constructing railways. This venture was terminated when he was invalided back to Britain after a bout of typhoid. He was not put off travelling, however, as Salinger later became a traveller for Vinolia Soap, visiting both Argentina and South Africa.

I am now on my way down to B Aires from Paraguay where I have been for the last 3 or 4 weeks. During Holy week (Easter) I accepted an invitation from a friend of mine in Asuncion to visit his estate and as one cannot do any business during that week on account of the religious observances which include burning effigies of Judas Iscariot and other ancient notabilities in the principal streets besides other religious processions, I thought I could not do better than accept his invitation to get clear of all the troublesome fanaticism of a properly observed Easter in one of the S American countries. My friend is a very good fellow, son-in-law of the British Consul in Asuncion and we had an excellent time together. We left Asuncion by train on Thursday March 26, arrived in Villa Rica at 3pm where I visited a customer, an N American who has been nearly 30 years in Paraguay [f.2] and has a very flourishing drug store there the only one outside of Asuncion of any importance. There is also an English Dr, Bottrill by name, who came out from Blackheath about 7 or 8 yrs ago for his health and is so satisfied with the climate that he has remained there with his wife, an English lady, and they are an excellent couple, young and very hospitable. Next day, 27th, we continued our journey as far as the railway goes to a spot called Piropo, taking with us only saddle and saddle bags, with the few necessaries for our stay at the estate, and guns etc. At Piropo an Indian servant was waiting for us with the horses, but the whistle of the railway engine had frightened them and after eating a little at a ranch near by the station we found when we were ready to saddle up that they had cleared away. So after duly cursing the Indian for not tying them more securely we sent him after them on a spare horse and at 11pm he came back with them having stopped them at a river about 5 miles off, which one has to cross on the way to the ‘Estancia’ as they call the estates here. Being a moonlight night we did not waste any time but saddled up and got away at once….

Letter from Alfred Salinger to his younger brother, Samuel, describing a journey from Paraguay to Buenos Aires to visit the estate of a friend, 17 April 1896 [MS 209 A810/1/3]
Bank note from Argentina from the wallet of Alfred Salinger, a commercial traveller for Vinolia Soap [MS 209 A810/1/8]

Join us for our next travel blog post, where the destination will be Europe!

Travel and Voyages: Britain and the Far East

This week, our travels take us to the Far East, where we will be exploring the development of Britain’s relations with the region. Items displayed are from the MS64 Congleton manuscripts and MS62 Broadlands Archives.

Nagasaki, Japan, 1881-2 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

Nagasaki, Japan, 1881-2 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

The Far East is a term used to describe the geographical, economic, and cultural region that encompasses Eastern Russia (Siberia in particular), East Asia, and Southeast Asia, and in some cases, Pacific island nations. Use of this phrase dates back to twelfth-century Europe, when the ruling class, explorers, traders, and travelers took an eastern route to reach this area and so the term the Far East was used to refer to the region because it is the farthest of the 3 Eastern Asian areas, which are the: Near East, the Middle East, and the Far East. The expression became favoured during the reign of the British Empire, and was used to refer to any area east of British India.

The English Quarter, Shanghai, China [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

The English Quarter, Shanghai, China [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Western knowledge of the Far Eastern powers increased markedly. Trade with Japan was opened up, and further ports in China were made accessible: some ninety-two places in China were open for British trade by 1914. British business dominated the trade with China until the 1880s, especially through Shanghai, but was less successful later. In parallel with treaty arrangements guaranteeing access to trade, the British formally acquired territory. From a political point of view, this was a safeguard for British interests in India; and it was also a component in creating further economic growth. Accompanying this came the trappings of empire, especially its military presence. This was critical to ensure the security of trade where more informal relations existed. Territorial acquisition was also driven by rivalry with other Western powers, particularly the French and the Dutch; and it advanced as much by treaty with local rulers as it did by military action and annexation.

Samurai practising with double-handed swords, Japan 1881 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

Samurai practising with double-handed swords, Japan 1881 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

Singapore was ceded to Britain in 1819 and the Malay archipelago was divided into Dutch and British areas of influence in 1824. The British areas — the future Straits Settlements — were administered as part of British India. Later in the century, Singapore became of central importance in the China trade, as a coaling station. It was a major entrepot in the trade from the Netherlands East Indies, and its strategic position ensured that it was well-garrisoned. Its administration passed from the Indian government to the Colonial Office in 1867. There was then an expansion of British influence in the Malay peninsula through the establishment of a system of residencies — creating the Federated Malay States — and, as elsewhere, a blurring of distinction between those parts that were formally part of a British empire and those outside it. From the close of the nineteenth century, the development of rubber plantations in the Malay States created an additional element in the economy.

Programme for the Singapore Races, Autumn 1880 [MS64/292]

Programme for the Singapore Races, Autumn 1880 [MS64/292]

The image above shows a Singapore Races event programme, which belonged to the servant of the empire, Henry Parnell, fourth Baron Congleton (1839-1906), who was also a member of the Singapore Races organising committee. He had a military career, serving in the Crimea and the Zulu war of 1879. In 1880-3, his battalion of the Buffs (the Third Regiment of Foot) was posted to Singapore, where he was commandant of the garrison and president of the Singapore Defence Committee.

A draft of a report on the defences of Singapore, from Parnell’s papers as president of the Singapore Defence Committee, with his annotations and notes on business [MS 64/291]

A draft of a report on the defences of Singapore, from Parnell’s papers as president of the Singapore Defence Committee, with his annotations and notes on business [MS 64/291]

We also hold the journal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Parnell. The image below shows a section of the journal describing his trip to Japan in September and October 1883. On 12 September he was at Kyoto, where he visited the imperial palace and, in the evening, had a demonstration of fighting with a two-handed sword.

Section from the Journal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Parnell, describing is trip to Japan in September 1883 [MS 64/278]

Section from the Journal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Parnell, describing his trip to Japan in September 1883 [MS 64/278]

The British imperial presence was reinforced by official tours. In August 1880, a detached squadron, led by the iron frigate, HMS Inconstant, embarked on a world cruise to show the flag, in a journey lasting more than two years. On the Inconstant was Prince Louis of Battenberg, who was to become First Sea Lord immediately prior to the First World War and who was to marry a favourite grand-daughter of Queen Victoria; two sons of the Prince of Wales, one of them the future George V, also served with the squadron. In 1921-2 another Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VIII, toured India and Japan, visiting Burma and Singapore en route.

Singapore: the route to Government House lined by head hunters (Dyak tribesmen) from Borneo, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 187]  

Singapore: the route to Government House lined by head hunters (Dyak tribesmen) from Borneo, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 187]

During the same trip, the party was able to visit the Malay-Borneo exhibition as well as unveil the Straits Settlements War Memorial.

Unveiling of the Straits Settlements War Memorial, with the Prince of Wales’ staff on the right, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 189]

Unveiling of the Straits Settlements War Memorial, with the Prince of Wales’ staff on the right, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 189]

Join us next week for our third travel and voyages themed blog post, which will focus on South America and Central America.

Mapping the way

As we move into August and thoughts turn to summer holidays, over the next few weeks the Special Collections will be featuring a series of blogs celebrating the theme of travel and voyages. And to help you on your way to your destination, we start with a look at the development of western traditions of maps and map-making from the sixteenth century onwards.

Detail from chart in John Sellar’s Atlas maritimus (London, 1675) [Rare Books ff. G1059]

The production of maps and of maritime charts often went hand in hand with exploration and trade. The full extent of the continent of Africa, for instance, was not known to Europeans until Bartholomew Diaz reached the southern cape in 1487. The first maps based on a knowledge of the African coastline only began to appear in the sixteenth century. Western maps of Asia, the earliest and best of which were produced in the Low Countries, drew on accounts of Portuguese traders as well as missionaries and Spanish and Dutch voyages of discovery.

Translated into English as The mariners mirror in 1588, Lucas Jansson Waghenaer’s Spieghel der Zeevaerdt (Leiden, 1584), a guide for navigators which contained a combination of earlier maritime ‘route books’ or rutters, and coastal charts, was to exert an enormous influence. John Sellar was to publish the first English pilots a century later. His Atlas maritimus (London, 1675) was a collection of maritime charts describing sea-coasts “in most of the known parts of the world collected from the latest and best discoveries that have been made by divers able and experienced navigators of our English nation”. Copies varied considerably in content and were probably made up to suit each purchaser. The volume at Southampton has 40 maps and one set of coloured plates.

John Sellar Atlas maritimus (London, 1675) [Rare Books ff. G1059]

For travellers wishing to journey nearer to home, local topographical maps were not common until the sixteenth century. Prior to that most descriptions of the countryside were verbal rather than visual. The growth in the sixteenth century was linked to technological developments enabling means of surveying and producing accurate representations and also to a new curiosity for knowledge about the world.

The principal influences behind the creation of this new iconography were threefold. Firstly, practical: many of the earliest maps had a military purpose as well as being extensively used in legal disputes or for setting out boundaries. Secondly, visual: they were a potent form of display. From the sixteenth century, maps were hung on the walls of houses and palaces, showing ancestral estates, kingdoms or the strength of a regional identity. Thirdly, the development of printing, with the use of engraved copper plates, provided a ready way of making these images available.

The first widespread cartographic depictions of Europe date from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The work of Christopher Saxton, who surveyed the UK in the 1570s, was considered a high point in topographical description.

Christopher Saxton’s map of Caernarvonshire [Rare Books quarto G5750]

Saxton maps were small-scale, in that they covered large areas with little detail. Maps of counties at a large scale, which covered small geographical areas in great detail, were the product of the eighteenth century, arising from Enlightenment interest in scientific representation.

J.Cary Cary’s new universal atlas (London, 1808) [Rare Books ff. G1019]

 The Ordnance Survey of Britain was under way in the 1790s marking an approach to topography on a national basis. Although the Ordnance Survey was not finally undertaken in Ireland until 1824, work on mapping counties had begun, under the auspices of grand juries, in the 1770s. Neville Bath, for instance, had been engaged to produce maps for Counties Cork, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Limerick which were bought up by the Irish government in 1808 during the time when the Duke of Wellington was Chief Secretary for Ireland.

So when you are next embarking on a journey instead of turning to your satnav why not try out using a map instead?

Highfield Campus 100: 1970s

“The University has been a happy place, despite the dashing of our hopes for improved financial support, and I am confident that it will remain so.” [Professor L.C.B. Gower, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton Annual Report 1972-3, pp.12-13.]

Professor Lawrence Cecil Bartlett (Jim) Gower replaced Professor Kenneth Mather as Vice-Chancellor of the University at a time when the country was suffering financial plight, in particular with the 1973 oil crisis, high inflation, high interest rates, and a steady slump in government funding of higher education.

Professor Lawrence Cecil Bartlett (Jim) Gower [University of Southampton Annual Report 1972-3, p.7]

Professor Lawrence Cecil Bartlett (Jim) Gower [University of Southampton Annual Report 1972-3, p.7]

4,534 full-time students registered at the University in October 1971, of whom 903 were postgraduates, distributed over the Faculties. While Southampton was expected to increase its student body by a further 2000 by 1980, there was a restriction on government money for new buildings. Student accommodation was affected by this the most. For most students a place in a hall of residence or some university property was their first choice, but the steady rise in student numbers meant that there was not enough of this accommodation for everybody.


South Stoneham House Halls of Residence, 1970 [MS1/Phot/22/7/4/30]

In 1971, the financing of new student accommodation was helped by a gift of £136,000 from the Brunei Government, to commemorate the first royal visit to Brunei, but also because the first Brunei Government Scholar and graduate, Pehin Isa Bin Ibrahim, had been a student in Southampton’s Faculty of Law. Other funding for accommodation had to be borrowed, of which Gower proved a talented negotiator.

Brunei House Halls of Residence, 1974 [MS1/Phot/11/23]

Brunei House Halls of Residence, 1974 [MS1/Phot/11/23]

During Gower’s time as Vice-Chancellor, the University managed to increase student accommodation by the same amount that student numbers rose through their large expansion of Montefiore House, where 420 rooms were added. Over half its students were first years and so the House was given some features of the older halls, such as a common room, bar, games room, and television room. Though it remained a self-catering hall, instead of 20 students sharing a kitchen as in the earlier blocks, the new block consisted of so-called flats shared by seven.

Montefiore House Halls of Residence under construction, 1977 [MS1/Phot/22/4/1/2]

Montefiore House Halls of Residence under construction, 1977 [MS1/Phot/22/4/1/2]

All of the halls of residences also became unisex, and in 1975 all freshers were provided the opportunity to spend their first year in a hall. This allowed them to become familiar with Southampton and become more successful when they needed to find their own accommodation. This led to 1976-1977 becoming the first session to start with no homeless students. A Hall newspaper was also developed called “Hot Eyre” which appeared every fortnight. This was established as a valuable aid of news, argument and internal advertising.

Hot Eyre Magazine, February 1986 No.1 [LF789.6G5 Univ.Coll]

Hot Eyre Magazine, February 1986 No.1

In January 1979, another accommodation block named Clarkson House opened. The small two-storey building sited just south of the Administration Building was designed to take 25 students, including some with disabilities. It had been funded jointly by the British Council for the Disabled and the Clarkson Foundation with the Department of Health and Social Security. Two years later the University received a Commendation under the Building for Disabled 1981 Scheme.

Clarkson House under construction, 1978 [MS1/Phot/22/4/2/26]

Clarkson House under construction, 1978 [MS1/Phot/22/4/2/26]

Even when appeals had successfully changed the cuts proposed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for 1973, the University calculated that in 1974 the Medical Faculty would be in deficit by £400,000 and the rest of the University by £500,000. The Government suggested that it could solve this financial issue by increasing the proportion of Arts to Science students, by decreasing its postgraduates and by economies resulting from expanding certain activities.

The responses by the University included transferring responsibility for spending to faculties, with the aim of producing flexibility if not economies. The University also turned increasingly to research, which would bring direct grants from research councils, foundations and government departments.

Gower had been warned before he came to Southampton that he would be faced with disruption. This was evidenced by students occupying the Administration Building for 48 hours on 14-15 November 1973 in support of the National Union Students’ campaign for grants, which kept pace with inflation, a cause which the University sympathised with but was in no power of changing.

Wessex News, November 1973 [LF789.9 Univ Coll]

Wessex News, November 1973

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Student Union supported national, and international causes with increasing strength, with direct action such as sit-ins and boycotts.

In 1971, the Student Union, in protest against the shortage of University accommodation, voted for the organisation of three indefinite squats in derelict or vacant houses in the centre of Southampton. Other sit-ins included one from 1-11 March 1970 at the Nuffield Theatre, which related to the controversy around the appointment of Dr W.A. Coupe as Professor of German. The Senate ratified Coupe’s appointment. In response on 15 February 1971 students of the German Department occupied building Arts 1 for 24 hours. Subsequently, students occupied the Nuffield Theatre for 10 days, after failing to enter the locked Administration Building.

With Dr Coupe’s appointment confirmed by Council and the University authorities were able to claim that they had successfully defended the procedures which governed (and should govern) the making of appointments. In 1972 the Senate and Council ruled that students would not serve on appointment committees, that the University was responsible for changes in the direction of a Department’s activities rather than the Department, and that appointment committees should not be made up of a majority of departmental representatives.

Sit-in at Southampton: The Fact-Finding Committee report, Feb 1970 [MS 224/7]

Sit-in at Southampton: The Fact-Finding Committee report, Feb 1970 [MS 224/7]

In 1971 the University established a Staff Consultative Group and its periodical, Viewpoint not long after the ten-day Nuffield sit-in, as part of its forward-looking and self-examining culture. Viewpoint provided the opportunity for staff to voice their opinions on university matters before decisions were made by Senate or Council, making staff feel more informed and closer to the decision-making of the University. The newssheet was issued five times during the Summer Term and was made available to staff and others in the University. The editorial board consisted of members of staff from the various parts in the University and the publication was printed by the Central Printing Unit.

Viewpoint, April 1971, No.1 [LF789.9 Univ. Coll]

Viewpoint, April 1971, No.1

To solve the University’s financial problems, and to enable the University to help students who suffered hardship following the Government’s plan to increase tuition fees, the Union devised a way to make political donations, which it was forbidden to make as an educational charity. In 1979, it formed a Union Club, to which it let a room in the Union Building for £1 a year. Here the Club installed pinball tables, football machines and a jukebox, which raised large sums of money. Since it was an independent body, the club was entitled to spend these as it chose. In November 1979, it invited members to propose to a club meeting how it should spend £900, a decent amount of money at the time. The club survives, but now uses it funds mainly for loans to needy students.

Other successes of the Student Union involved the field of community services and entertainments in 1970-71. Community Service was involving more students than ever before and was tackling more ambitious projects. The Union staged a free concert in the Summer, which was a great success. As students showed a deeper interest in the conditions of their university it became clear that the role of the Student Union was no longer just an organising body for sports and social facilities.

Student Union, 1975 [MS1/Phot/22/3/2]

Student Union, 1975 [MS1/Phot/22/3/2]

As always, sports and athletics preoccupied some students. In 1970-71 key sports achievements included the retention of the UAU table tennis cup, and the individual achievements of Jack Lane coming 10th in the European Games 10,000 metres and achieving a silver medal at the World Student Games 5,000 metres. In 1974, Mike Beresford (Commonwealth gold medallist) began to coach at the University boat club and continued to do so for the rest of the century. While 1976-7 was a notable year for the archery, badminton, swimming, water-polo, netball, and women’s hockey clubs, women’s lacrosse and men’s squash were the outstanding clubs of 1979-80. New clubs were also established, such as the canoeing club and sub-aqua club.

University Boat Club 2nd VIII, 1971 [MS310/46 A2075/3]

University Boat Club 2nd VIII, 1971 [MS310/46 A2075/3]

Following the Royal Commission on Medical Education’s advice to the Government in 1967 that there should be a new medical school established in Southampton, the Board of the Faculty of Medicine came into being in 1970, and met regularly during the session. The Medical School’s first students arrived in October 1971. Due to accommodation problems arising from the delay in completion of the relevant buildings, the intake was 40 instead of 65 as originally envisaged.

July 1976 graduation ceremonies involved the University’s first medical students. To mark the occasion, honorary medical degrees were conferred on two distinguished practitioners who had played a prominent role in the establishment of the Medical School: Mr John Barron, Director of Plastic Surgery at Odstock Hospital (Master of Surgery) and Dr William Macleod, Senior Consultant Physician and Physician to the Thoracic Unit Southampton (Doctor of Medicine).

Aerial view of the Medical and Biological Sciences Building under construction, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/11/24/1]

Aerial view of the Medical and Biological Sciences Building under construction, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/11/24/1]

Although the Nuffield Theatre catered well for drama, it did not serve so well for music, particularly with its acoustics. Fortunately in 1967, Miss Margaret Grassam Sims left the University a bequest of about £30,000, to be used specifically for a hall, theatre, or building of like purpose. After much discussion it was agreed that a small hall should be built to be named the Turner Sims Concert Hall, with the one condition that it have a flat floor to house University examinations. This condition was later refused by the advisory committee. Additional monies were still required to fund the construction of the hall, to which Gower solved by negotiating a loan from the City Council. Some argue that for this reason, the Turner Sims Hall is also a memorial to Jim Gower, and also to Peter Evans, the University’s first Professor of Music, for it was the Music Department that encouraged Gower to attempt to get the loan.

The acoustics for the new hall, much valued by the BBC for recording, were designed by staff from the Institution of Sound and Vibration Research. The Turner Sims Concert Hall was completed in the 1973-4 session and the opening concert took place on 19 November 1974. The Hall hosted 77 events during the 1974-5 session, of which 50 were lunchtime recitals.

Construction of Turner Sims Concert Hall, 1970s [MS373 A3048/4/1]

Construction of Turner Sims Concert Hall, 1970s [MS373 A3048/4/1]

Other arts facilities that were built included the Fine Art Gallery, which opened at Boldrewood in 1972, and a Photographic Gallery that opened in 1973. In its first year the Photographic Gallery held 11 exhibitions, covering a wide range of subjects, including “Stravinsky’s last rehearsal”, Salisbury Playhouse”, “Lewis Carroll at Southampton”, and “Old Southampton”.

University Photographic Gallery, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/37/22]

University Photographic Gallery, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/37/22]

In 1978, the University decided to demolish the Civil Engineering departments ‘tidal model of Southampton Water and the Solent’, and transform the building into the John Hansard Gallery.

Booklet ‘John Hansard Gallery Appeal – A New Centre for the Visual Arts in the South’ [MS1/Phot/22/1/19]

Booklet ‘John Hansard Gallery Appeal – A New Centre for the Visual Arts in the South’ [MS1/Phot/22/1/19]

In terms of library developments, the Parliamentary Papers Library opened on 7 July 1971, originally brought to the University by Professor Percy Ford and his wife Dr Grace Ford. During the 1972-3 session, Special Collections received the Southampton and District Gardeners’ Society library of horticultural books and periodicals. Another notable accession, and of the greatest importance to the Department of Music, was the gift by Anna Mahler of music scores by her father Gustav Mahler and other eminent composers.

Donald Mitchell, Anna Mahler, Laurence Cecil Bartlett Gower (Vioce-Chancellor), Peter Evans (Professor of Music), looking at a volume from the Mahler Papers, 1973 [MS1/Phot/17/1]

Donald Mitchell, Anna Mahler, Laurence Cecil Bartlett Gower (Vice-Chancellor), Peter Evans (Professor of Music), looking at a volume from the Mahler Papers, 1973 [MS1/Phot/17/1]

Gower retired at the end of the 1979 summer term. He was considered by many to have been ‘the first democratic Vice-Chancellor’.

John Roberts was Gower’s successor, who was Vice-Chancellor for the University of Southampton from 1979 to 1985. He came from Merton College, Oxford, and was a historian.

Find out what Roberts did for the University as Vice-Chancellor in our next Highfield Campus 100 blog post, which will focus on the 1980s.

University press release regarding the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, 1979 [MS1 A4092/4]

University press release regarding the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, 1979 [MS1 A4092/4]