Tag Archives: Medicine

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]

The Home and Hospital for Jewish Incurables, Tottenham

130 years ago this month, the Home and Hospital for Jewish Incurables, Tottenham was founded. To mark this occasion we take a look at the material we hold relating to the institution  (MS 284).

Minute Book, 1889-1891 [MS 284 A978 1/1]

Male patients’ room, c.1900s [MS 284 A978/7/1]

The establishment and running of the Institution

In 1888, there were few places Jewish immigrants could go to spend their remaining years if suffering from incurable diseases. The main option was local authority infirmaries, which lacked “a Jewish atmosphere and the facilities for religious observances.” [MS 284 A978/6/2]

This struck a chord with Morris Barnett, who wrote to the Jewish Chronicle in October 1888, asking for those interested in “founding a home for incurables” to contact him. This led to a meeting held at his house in February 1889, where a public meeting was arranged to inform the community of the creation of the Society for the formation of a Jewish Home for Incurables. At the public meeting, a committee was elected and over 400 people promised to be subscribers.

The first Home opened in 1891 at 49-51 Victoria Park Road, E9, with nine patients. Its object was the care, maintenance and medical treatment of United Kingdom residents of the Jewish faith with a permanent disability. Under the rules of the Home, patients had to be of the Jewish Faith, who had resided in England for 5 years, and it was open between 11am to 6pm for the inspection of the public. In the early 1890s the average weekly cost was 21/ per patient. Concerts, annual poultry dinners, were provided for patients, as well as lectures and film showings.

The Institution was managed by a Committee of Management consisting of the President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurers, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Solicitor, Honorary Medical Staff, and other Honorary Officers deemed necessary. The Committee met once every quarter, and were responsible for receiving correspondence from medical staff, approving accounts and purchase orders, appointing a matron, nurses and servants; and regulating the household management of the institution and the patients. The latter was done through the appointment of a House Committee that consisted of ladies annually elected, who met once a month and visited the Home periodically to inspect the interior management and domestic arrangements. They were also responsible for checking that patients were receiving adequate treatment, and reported their observations and suggestions in a book laid before the Committee of Management.

Responsible for the entire charge of the home, the Matron kept accounts, appointed or suspended nurses of domestic servants, and arranged leave of all staff. Menus of the day were arranged with the Housekeeper and medicines ordered by the doctor were dispensed with the Assistant Matron. The Matron was in charge of receiving all visitors, and in general, carried out the instructions of the Board of Management and Medical Officers. The Institution’s first matron was Esther Goldberg.

Staff at Home and Hospital for Jewish Incurables, c.1900s [MS 284 A978/7/1]

Staff, c.1900s [MS 284 A978/7/1]

How the institution was funded

Funding for the institution was achieved by subscriptions, donations, and payments made by patients and members of the public. In the beginnings of the institution, “the first funds were raised in London’s East End Streets by carrying a mock patient in a bed around in a cart and appealing for subscriptions of one penny per week.” [MS 284 A978/6/2] Events were also organised to raise funds for the institution, such as annual balls, garden fetes, and dances.

Funding Advertisement, c.1940s [MS 284 A978 6/1]

Funding advertisement, c.1900s [MS 284 A978/6/1]

Development of the Institution

The institution moved to a larger house sufficient for 20 patients in Wood Street, Walthamstow in 1894 and again in 1896 to High Road in Tottenham. The Tottenham and Edmonton Weekly Herald described the building as being “built in the Elizabethan style of architecture” and being “placed on the site so as to afford the maximum amount of sunshine to the patients.” [Tottenham and Edmonton Weekly Herald, April 1901]

After building work at this site, the Home was formally opened on 3 July 1903 by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (sister of King Edward VII). Up to 80 patients were admitted, with male patients on the ground floor, where there was also a concert hall and access to a garden, and the female patients were on the first floor. Staff and kitchen quarters were located on the third floor.

A new wing was completed at the Tottenham Home in 1913 and a new synagogue was opened in 1914. In 1918, the Home was approached by the Ministry of Pensions seeking to use the new wing to accommodate Jewish soldiers. A scheme was agreed whereby twenty-eight soldiers were admitted for twelve months.

In 1939 fear of air raids led to the evacuation of the Home to Chesterfield House near Saffron Waldon. The accommodation at Tottenham was taken over by Middlesex County Council in May 1940 to accommodate refugees.

Common Room, c.1970s MS284 A978/7/5

Common room, c.1940s [MS284 A978/7/5]

The Institution as the Jewish Home and Hospital

In 1963, the institution’s name changed to Jewish Home and Hospital. With 114 patients in 1974, the Jewish Home and Hospital provided a much-needed service in north London. Patients who came in chair-bound were helped to walk again, and other patients who would otherwise be home alone suffering the expense of nurses coming to wash and feed them, could be somewhere where they could make friends and be cared for at the same time.

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy was provided, as well as facilities such as dentist and a hairdressing salon. Rooms were provided for crafts, and prayer and meditation. Being in a home where you could mix with Jewish patients and practise religious activities was of pivotal importance for the patients. “When you’re not well, you like to be near God, like a child. They haven’t got a cure yet, so you want to die in a Jewish place.” (Judith, Jewish Chronicle Supplement, 20 September 1974 [MS 284 A978/7/6]).

In 1992, the Home merged with Jewish Care. By the late 20th century, Tottenham’s Jewish population had largely moved away and the building became obsolete. The Home closed in 1995.

Consisting of 24 boxes and 5 volumes, the MS 284 collection contains minute books; annual reports; legal and financial papers; correspondence; and photographs. The material provides a valuable resource for research into nineteenth and twentieth century Jewish community services for the disabled.

Minute Book, 1889-1891 [MS 284 A978 1/1]

Minute book, 1889-1891 [MS 284 A978/1/1]

‘Doc’ Suffern at Titchfield Haven


Titchfield Haven, Fareham (J.G.Romans)

Titchfield Haven, Fareham (J.G.Romans)

This week, as we look forward to spring, we highlight the work of a celebrated Hampshire naturalist. Dr Canning Suffern (1892-1978) made a significant contribution to ornithology in the county and is perhaps most famous for his association with the nature reserve at Titchfield Haven, near Fareham.  His research papers, held in Special Collections, reflect his wide interests in the field of natural history, and include his scientific notes, records of observations and working papers.

Dr Canning Suffern (1892-1978), courtesy of Dr S Dent, Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve

Dr Canning Suffern (1892-1978), courtesy of Dr S Dent, Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve

Canning Suffern grew up in Worcestershire and developed a keen interest in the natural history of his county, particularly in the area around Rubery, near Birmingham. As a boy he was an enthusiastic birdwatcher and throughout his life he kept detailed records of his observations.  He began reading medicine at Cambridge in 1911 but his studies were interrupted by World War I, in which he served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, as a surgeon probationer.  He completed his medical studies at St Thomas’s, London, and held posts in a number of hospitals before turning to medical journalism.  He later joined the staff of The Lancet as a sub-editor.  During World War II, he served as a controller (operations officer) in the RAF and from 1943-5 was stationed in India. His papers include reminiscences of his war-time service – ‘The log of a loblolly boy at sea, 1915-17′ about WWI – and several chapters on his time in India in WWII (MS 205 A523/1/1-2).

Dr Suffern visited Titchfield Haven for the first time in 1921, while staying with his parents, who lived across the road at the site now occupied by Hill Head Sailing Club. His studies in natural history switched to Hampshire and his ornithological work around Titchfield Haven acted as a catalyst for further collaborative study after World War II.  It was shortly after the war that he began taking parties of birdwatchers around the marshes at the Haven with the permission of the owner, Colonel Alston.  Throughout his life he worked to encourage an interest in ornithology, particularly among young people, teaching them not only to identify birds and other wildlife but to accurately record their sightings. Under his guidance, birdwatchers produced the records which highlighted the Haven’s importance as a wetland habit for birds. This data helped lead to the declaration of over three hundred acres of the Lower Meon Valley, including Titchfield Haven, as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1959.

Dr Suffern’s research interests were wide. In Hampshire, in addition to birds, he observed and recorded dragonflies, butterflies, and moths, particularly at Hill Head, Fareham, and Titchfield Haven.

Sketchbook of dragonflies - folio 1 Agrion Splendens

Sketchbook of dragonflies – folio 1 Agrion Splendens

This drawing from Canning Suffern’s sketchbook of dragonflies is embellished with original dragonfly wings. It was part of his research into dragonflies at a pool at Hill Head in 1950. (MS 205 A517/3/4).

Suffern diaries

MS 205 A517/1/1 Diaries, 1940, 1947, 1950 (open) and 1951

His diaries are a working record of the weather, detailing sunshine, rainfall, type and density of cloud cover, and atmospheric pressure. In the summer of 1950, Suffern discovered a relationship between high pressure and the number of S. striolatum emerging at the pool — the peak occurred on 9 July, when he counted 417 in a single day. His research excited the interest of other naturalists and was published in one of the earliest volumes of the Entomologist’s Gazette.

Dr Suffern’s papers include articles from natural history magazines and journals, and related notes; there are manuscripts of his literary works as a naturalist, as well as his reminiscences. His significant ornithological archive – covering several decades of field work – forms part of the papers of the Hampshire Ornithological Society at the Hampshire Record Office, Winchester (HRO 75M94/C1), which also holds notes for his book The birds of Titchfield in relation to those of Hampshire and of Great Britain historically considered, or, A conspectus of birds mainly with reference to T H [Titchfield Haven].

To this day, Doc Suffern is fondly remembered at Titchfield Haven for his 50-year association with the nature reserve. During the 1960s, as an elected member of Fareham District Council, he fought for the future of the Haven. He lived to see the purchase of the estate by Hampshire County Council and the opening of the reserve for visits in 1975. The ‘Suffern Hide’ is named in his memory – a physical reminder of his life’s work.

Canning Suffern’s research papers, MS 205, are freely available in Special Collections at the University of Southampton – a significant legacy for the natural history of Hampshire.

For information on Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve go to:


For information on Canning Suffern’s ornithological papers at the Hampshire Record Office:


We acknowledge with grateful thanks the assistance of the staff and volunteers of the Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, and of the Hampshire Record Office. The photograph of Canning Suffern is courtesy of Dr Sue Dent and colleagues at Titchfield Haven. Any errors are those of the author.

Upcoming Explore Your Archive events

Following the success of our recent Exploring the Wellington Archive event, Special Collections will be hosting two more open afternoons as part of our current series of Explore Your Archive drop-in sessions.


Exploring health and welfare resource in the Special Collections
On Wednesday 16 November 2016, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on health and welfare, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will include a talk by Dr Brenda Phillips discussing her research on the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:

1600-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Dr Brenda Phillips: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library


Exploring Arts in the Archives
On Wednesday, 14 December 2016, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on music, theatre and the visual arts, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will conclude with a talk by Eloise Rose from the John Hansard Gallery.

This event will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:

1615-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Eloise Rose: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library

During the same week we will be launching our ‘Arts in the Archives’ online exhibition which will draw on material from the archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University.

To view samples of images from the exhibition, visit our Facebook page at: