This collection contains the records of the work and activities of the University of Huddersfield and its predecessor institutions back to its foundation in 1841. The initial purpose of the organisation was to give the opportunity of a basic education to the young men of the local community, and this remit has expanded over the years to the current status of the organisation, that of a fully fledged university offering undergraduate and postgraduate education and research opportunities on a local, national and international scale.
In the Academic Administration section, records of students academic and scholarly activity is documented. Student timetables, attendance and progress reports, scholarship and exam registers, prize records and records of qualifications awarded are all contained within this section. Many early records still exist, although some series contain gaps in the early part of the 20th century.
Governance and Corporate Performance records reflect the decision making apparatus of the university. The Governance section includes the minutes of the University Council and Senate, and the Teaching and Learning Committees, which determine strategy and policy across the organisation, and at a local level, the minutes of the School Boards (the evolution of the organisation of teaching different subjects is explained in their descriptions). Annual Reports and Strategic and Corporate Plans contain a record of the long term planning for the institution, and the legal and statutory requirements of inspection and reporting are also contained in this section.
The correspondence in to and out from the institution describe issues of importance to staff, students and stakeholders, from the sponsor employers of the early days of the Technical College, to the partnerships with other educational and industrial organisations in the late 20th century. Internal memos reflect the types of educational and policy information circulated for the notice of staff, and the papers of the senior officers of the institution show the day to day work and more in depth projects undertaken to develop the institution's reputation and educational influence over time.
Another core section of activity is the recording of students of the institution, and their associated academic and scholarly activity. Student timetables, attendance and progress reports, scholarship and exam registers, prize records and awards of qualifications conferred are all contained within the Academic Administration section. Student records themselves have their own section, and contain a varied amount of information about the student and their background dependent on the period in which they enrolled. These records are subject to Data Protection legislation, and researchers can make a Subject Access request. Records are opened on the assumption of the age of the youngest student being 16, and adding a closure period to their 100th birthday, which means a rolling closure for 84 years. The records in the Teaching and Learning section cover the academic planning and operational side of the institution at a local level. Divided by school, in addition to the School Board minutes there are exam and module assessment board minutes, course proposals and handbooks (incomplete), course and school publicity leaflets and school administration files by subject.
The Marketing and Communications section may be of particular interest to researchers wanting to know more about the life of the institution and its ways of working and communicating information to staff and students. It contains an almost complete run of institutional prospectuses, which in the early days included a lot of published information about prize winners, exam results and scholarship programmes, as well as the courses running semester to semester in the College. Newspaper cuttings cover the period 1880s-1920s and then the 1920s - 1990s and are also fairly complete. Focusing mainly on the local press they show both the academic and social side of the institution. Research reports cover the annual research activities of academic staff, and there is also a set of staff newsletters which is fairly complete from 1967 - 2010s.
In addition to subject files contained in the Library and Archive section, there are early library catalogues and a special collection of books from the Mechanics Institute library. The Events section covers significant university events such as the installation of the senior officials to royal visits, and the public events those of an important nature to the history of the college, such as anniversaries. Records of the University Press and it's published output are also contained within the records, except for journal articles and papers which are contained in the e-prints repository: https://eprints.hud.ac.uk/
The photographic and AV collection contains photographs of buildings, staff, students and events and many of them have been digitised. There is also a significant amount of video material of graduations and significant events. The day to day business of the institution, development of the campus and turnover of staff and equipment is recorded in the Estates, Finance and HR sections.
Researching University History
The following are good sources of information amongst the records:.
• Governors Minutes – As with most organisations, the big decisions are reflected in these minutes. Information about staff and subjects are usually found in the Class Committee books (later Board of Studies/Academic Board/Teaching and Learning). The college was in control of the LEA and its Education Committee between 1903 and 1970, when the Polytechnic was formed and Governors returned to control. School Board records document departmental changes, and are held with School records.
• Student Records - We have student records from the 1860s, in a patchy way until the 1930s when we have really detailed admissions forms. We have indexes to registers from the 1890s-1910s. Student registers can be read in conjunction with Scholarship Registers and Attendance Records.
• Full Course Timetables – These are a great set of records that set out the weekly timetable for students depending on their course. They run from the 1895-1949.
• Calendars and Prospectuses – 1884 – Present: Early, till 20s contain a calendar with important dates to the institution then prospectus type information for all subjects, lists of student exam and scholarship winners, and next year’s scholarship questions. The Principal’s Reports were bound into these 1880s-1920s.
• Annual and Principals Reports 1840s-1970s: A yearly view from the top on the events, activities and research going on within the college. Good reference source.
• Correspondence: Patchy, as much of it is very mundane, but then there are some gems, so worth looking around particular events or dates in history, e.g. FWW. Incoming and outgoing from the Principal and Secretary’s offices.
• Press Cuttings – 1870s-1920s, then 1947-Present: These cover all kinds of stories about the development of the university and campus, student-y type stories and what students and staff are up to research wise.
• Newsletters – 1969 – Present: We have a pretty good and fairly complete over a long period set of staff newsletters.