Higher Education and Opinion Making in Twentieth-Century England

By Harold Silver | Go to book overview

7

1950s: 'MODERN NEEDS'

THE UNIVERSITIES

In 1950 the Universities Review began a defence of the redbrick universities:

Judging by the spate of books, reports, pamphlets, articles and letters to the Press which have been published during the last few years on universities it would appear that this subject is no longer neglected as it once was by the people of this country. 1

Public interest reflected the growth of the universities themselves, the concerns within them and those to which they were responding. At the beginning of the 1950s the UGC's typology of the UK institutions on its grant list was based on chronology. There were 23 institutions, of which 16 were universities, the others being university colleges (Southampton, Leicester, Exeter and Hull and the new university college of North Staffordshire) and two colleges of technology, the Manchester College of Technology and the Royal Technical College, Glasgow. The first group comprised the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge and their separately endowed colleges. The four Scottish universities of St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh were also ancient foundations, but bore 'little resemblance to the ancient English universities'. Next in 'seniority' came Durham and London, both founded early in the nineteenth century. A fourth group contained eight 'civic universities'-Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Reading and Nottingham. Fifth was the University of Wales, which contained five constituent colleges and the Welsh National School of Medicine. 2 Southampton became a university in 1952, followed by Hull in 1954, Exeter in 1955 and Leicester in 1957. How slowly a half-century of advocacy of an extension of university education was being achieved was made editorially clear by Universities Quarterly when Southampton received its charter: The foundation of a new university is still a rare enough event to quicken the academic pulse.' 3 The pre-war total of 50,000 full-time university students peaked at

-127-

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Higher Education and Opinion Making in Twentieth-Century England
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Foreword xi
  • Part I - System Making 1
  • 1 - Preludes 3
  • 2 - Early Decades: 'Unequal and Inadequate' 13
  • 3 - 1940s: 'A New Crispness' 33
  • Part II - Values 55
  • 4 - 'truscot': 'the Universities' Speaking Conscience' 57
  • 5 - Postwar: 'A Ferment of Thought' 79
  • 6 - Moberly: 'the Status Quo and Its Defects' 100
  • 7 - 1950s: 'Modern Needs' 127
  • 8 - Ashby: 'the Age of Technology' 151
  • Part III - A National Purpose 175
  • 9 - 1960s: 'Expansionism' 177
  • 10 - Final Decades: 'Painful Transformation' 211
  • 11 - Pressures and Silences 252
  • Index 267
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