University of Exeter archive

The University archive contains a diverse range of photographs, student publications and other material from throughout the history of the University of Exeter and its predecessor institutions from the late 19th century through to the present day, and covers the building programme for the Streatham campus, student and academic life, including Guild and Athletics Union activities. Coverage for some periods is patchy, perhaps in some cases due to the fact that the University Registry was bombed during the Second World War.

Students outside Gandy Street, c1929

The archive is arranged and catalogued to reflect the progression of the University from the city centre site at Gandy Street to the development of the Streatham Campus, the individuals who have shaped its history throughout this period and the various events or activities which collectively have created the University’s particular identity.

Sir Stafford Northcote began the quest for higher education in Exeter, with plans for a cultural quarter that would enable what he felt would establish ‘a very important system of education’. In 1861 land in Queen Street was donated for this purpose.

The Exeter Technical and University Extension College began offering day classes in 1895. In 1900 the college became the Royal Albert Memorial College and began to offer degrees from the University of London.

By the early 1920s the Streatham estate had been donated by the former Mayor of Exeter, W.H. Reed and the institution was granted University College status.

Football team, 1926 – 1927

The University College had applied for university status before; on the 21stDecember 1955, the University received its charter – the Principal became the Vice- Chancellor and the President the Chancellor. In 1955 there were around 1,000 students. Post-war expansion and a large building programme ran through the remainder of the 1950s and on into the 1960s until the present day.

Arial view of campus, 1956 showing the construction of the chapel and the completed Hatherly building.

The university archive is administered by Heritage Collections. Our webpages are at . The Special Collections reading room is open from 10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.


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