I’ve written before about the importance of university history for people who work in higher education. Also, I’ve been pleased to be involved in supporting the publication of a new history of the University of Nottingham by Professor John Beckett. The History is highly readable and does include lots of pictures, many of them previously unseen. It is strongly recommended therefore.
Spotting the easel pictured above in the Trent Building at Nottingham recently reminded me of one of my favourite photos in the History, also above.
On 20 August 1948, the Royal Charter was awarded and University College became the University of Nottingham. To announce this historic occasion this chalkboard, on an easel, was placed outside the entrance to the Trent Building with the simple message: ‘The University of Nottingham. The King has approved an Order in Council granting the University Charter.’
According to Professor Beckett the Registrar, Hedley Pickbourne, Acting Principal, Robert Peers, and one or two academics who happened to be in the building gathered to toast the charter with a glass of sherry:
George Trease from Pharmacy was one of them. Someone, he recalled, remarked, ‘I wonder what Jesse Boot would have said if he knew that the Registrar had a bottle of sherry in his room.’
If it were to happen again today I am sure we would find many more social media channels through which to communicate the news but the fundamental elements would be the same I think. Minus the easel and the sherry.