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Digital Subscriptions > History Scotland > July - Aug 2018 > Taking the past into the future

Taking the past into the future

An oral history project brings together memories of the heady days of the autumn of 1967, when a new university opened in Stirling, offering an alternative to the centuries-old academic establishments around the country. By Professor Angela Smith
Protesting against financial cuts, 1981

The University of Stirling has just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Its raffish image has changed with time – in the early days the university car was a Lotus Élan and it would draw up beside other Scottish universities’ sober Rovers, the Stirling car driven by a woman in a trouser suit rather than by a male chauffeur in cap and uniform.

Just over ten years ago a group composed mostly of newly retired staff, many of whom had been at Stirling from its heady beginnings, met and decided to form a retired staff association. Its aim would be to recreate the sense of community, vivid in the memories of those present, which had characterised the new academic kid on the block in 1967. Everyone remembered Gladys, who steered the coffee trolley with its legendary rock buns round the new Pathfoot Building, as they remembered Tommy, the professor of English, who drank his coffee and ate his rock bun in the communal café, and whose conversation beguiled a group of librarians, cleaners, students and new staff. There were no separate facilities for staff and students. How could we recapture those ephemeral but defining moments?

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About History Scotland

History Scotland launches a ground-breaking new series - The Stewart Queens of Scotland, providing a window in the lives of the little-known Stewart queens. Enjoy a range of news, expert articles and commentary, covering centuries of Scottish history and archaeology. Highlights include: * Queen Victoria's trip to the Clyde * New history of art with National Galleries Scotland * The legend of Lovat's Scouts * Discovery of a rare antler t-axe