Higher Education Postcard – The University of Southampton’s Royal Charter

This week's card from Hugh Jones’ postbag shows the first university to be granted a Royal Charter by Elizabeth II

Hugh Jones is a freelance HE consultant. You’ll find a daily #HigherEducationPostcard if you follow him on Twitter.

Greetings from Southampton!

One hundred and sixty years ago the Hartley Institution was founded in Southampton, an event you can read about in an earlier blog. In 1904 it became the Hartley University College, in 1914 University College Southampton, and in 1952 the University of Southampton.

The Royal Charter issued to Southampton on 24 March 1952 was the first granted to a university by Queen Elizabeth II – indeed, it appears to have been the first granted by Elizabeth II to any institution.

Royal Charters are one of a number of different foundational documents for higher education institutions. Papal Bulls, Acts of Parliament, Limited Companies – all of these also exist in the UK. Charters normally are associated with older grants of university title: they give a measure of organisational autonomy, but can also be very difficult to amend when necessary.

This card was posted in November 1952.

…I thought you and some of your friends might like a picture of University. As you probably will remember this is only one part of it, there are three others parts beside the Halls where all the students sleep …

One response to “Higher Education Postcard – The University of Southampton’s Royal Charter

  1. Ah yes the Hartley library building, visually not much has changed, save the removal of the chimney, though the view would be impossible now with all the later carbuncular buildings around the campus crowding in and towering over, thankfully Basil Spence’s 1960’s brutalist (and structurally unsound) Faraday Tower should be demolished soon.

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