Britain in the 1970s: History of Warwick University

Students in the History Department have been making use of the Modern Records Centre in their research for long essays and dissertations on the history of Britain in the 1970s. Here is a sample of what they have been doing:

Eliza Fleming

Embarking upon a dissertation on the marketisation of higher education, I thought there was not more of a relevant source than what was immediately surrounding me.  From being constantly reminded of being at “the most employable university in the country” to seeing Warwick’s branding everywhere from books to bins, I wondered how Warwick university has become to be so innovative in its approach to higher education provisions.  Yet, is Warwick unique, or was it part of a wider historical catalyst for change?  The MRC can help to bring an answer to that question.  By holding the university archives themselves, it holds a wealth of archival material dating back to the very creation of the university.  Why was Warwick built?  In whose interests?  What was their driving aim and their big vision?  Did everyone agree with ‘Warwick University Ltd’? Well, E.P Thompson didn’t, and the MRC also holds the records on what happened in that peculiar set of events.  Finally, the MRC also provides the response from the bottom up: NUS archives situated there show what students thought about what was going on, which will perhaps shed light on whether they were passive receptors of higher education or whether they were in themselves, realising it or not, generating a new consumer society that expects the market to set competitive standards.  We hope to find out.


Watch this video from our archives about the NUS in 1963: ‘This is your union’.

For more information on using the MRC please see here.

Click here to search our catalogue. 

We also offer individual guidance sessions, where one of our experienced archivists will help you to find material relevant to your topic. For more information or to book a short session please see here.

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