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This book provides an account of the University of Manchester's struggle to meet the government's demands for the rapid expansion of higher education in the 1950s and the 1960s. It looks at the University's ambitious building programme: the controversial attempts to reform its constitution and improve its communications amid demands for greater democracy in the workplace, the struggle to retain its old pre-eminence in a competitive world where new ‘green field’ universities were rivalling older civic institutions. The book tells the story, not just from the point of view of administrators and academics, but also from those of students and support staff (such as secretaries, technicians and engineers). It not only uses official records, but also student newspapers, political pamphlets and reminiscences collected through interviews.

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Achievement and self-doubt

and once called the Tech., UMIST had its own Principal, its own Council, its own grant, its own administration and its own Students’ Union, but at the same time formed the Faculty of Technology of the University of Manchester. ‘Manchester Owens’, whose headquarters were on Oxford Road, had about 10,000 full-time students in 1974, UMIST another 3,000; in 1980 the respective figures were approaching 11,500 and 4,400. The two institutions shared a number of facilities, listed in 1982, when UMIST was reaffirming its links with Owens and resisting the charms of Salford

in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90
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have wished for a little less unglamorous realism and for even louder rage against the dying of the light: When statesmen gravely say – ‘We must be realistic –’ The chances are they’re weak and therefore pacifistic: chap 13 23/9/03 294 1:19 pm Page 294 A history of the University of Manchester But when they talk of Principles – look out – perhaps Their generals are already poring over maps. In retrospect Sir Mark was widely praised for urging the reform of the life sciences and bringing them closer to the Faculty of Medicine. His own vision, and that of the

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chap 7 23/9/03 1:17 pm Page 142 7 Contraction, 1981–84 ‘As you are aware’, wrote the Vice-Chancellor to the Chairman of the UGC on 8 February 1982, ‘the University of Manchester, as the largest unitary university in the country, has a scale of problems in absolute terms which is not faced by any other similar university.’ The arid prose of official communications did little justice to the upheavals of the previous months. It had seemed that the University would be able to escape bankruptcy only by shedding one-seventh of its academic and supporting staff

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chap 6 23/9/03 1:17 pm Page 121 6 New direction By 1980 the University of Manchester was no stranger to sudden reductions in the purchasing power of expected income. Hitherto it had proved possible to deal with cuts by thrift and ‘good housekeeping’, as Arthur Armitage called the moratoria and other measures he imposed. British universities in the 1970s had appeared to be companions in equal misfortune, in that the UGC had not – at least, not openly – assessed their supposed strengths and weaknesses when it distributed the shrunken parliamentary grants. In

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chap 8 23/9/03 1:17 pm Page 167 8 Enterprise and economy Cuts in public spending forced universities to devise schemes for selfhelp which would reduce their dependence on public money. Some academics murmured of ‘going private’, but it was seldom clear what they had in mind; perhaps they dreamed of some English parallel to Ivy League universities, small, select and well groomed, supported by massive fees and the donations of prosperous alumni (a body which the University of Manchester had hitherto failed to cultivate as a source of support). The University

in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90

living and forced them to scrimp and save whenever opportunities arose. Until 1977 three quarters of the annual income of the University of Manchester consisted of a block recurrent grant given for general purposes, together with a much smaller sum earmarked for equipment and furniture. These payments came from a sum voted by Parliament, allocated to universities in general by the Department of Education and Science, and distributed to individual universities by the University Grants Committee (UGC). The University was free to use most of the block grant as it chose

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, basic science’ could still be practised. The Universities of Manchester and Liverpool formulated between them a successful collaborative bid which enabled them to establish in Liverpool an Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Surface Science (‘the business of how atoms and molecules intersect with surfaces of metals, semiconductors and oxides’). This appeared to be crucial to developments in the chemical industry, which was one of the country’s biggest earners abroad. An endearing photograph appeared of the Vice-Chancellor and Baroness chap 11 23/9/03 1:18 pm Page

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Campaigns and causes

, later Professor of American Studies, remembers a student arguing in a departmental board meeting in the mid-1970s that it was wrong to distinguish between students, and that classes should be asked to write their essays collectively and all receive the same mark. For four years the management of University Challenge banned teams from the University of Manchester from the contest. But in the autumn of 1979 a student successfully pleaded for their reinstatement and on that occasion the Union officers agreed that a game could just be a game, to be played according to its

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Life and opinions

mill, and had been by turns a cotton spinner, a joiner, and director of a number of small businesses. At the time of his retirement, at the age of sixty-four, he had been an insurance broker. Rod Cox, when in his early thirties, became General Secretary to the Students’ Union for the session 1979-80; he had left school at sixteen, spent a little time at Plymouth Polytechnic, departed to follow the hippie trail to the Middle East, and entered the University of Manchester chap 4 23/9/03 1:16 pm Page 69 The students: life and opinions 69 to read Philosophy when

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