University of Buckingham History

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University of Buckingham History

University of Buckingham History

History of the University

Tanlaw Mill

The historic Tanlaw Mill

Buckingham is the only university independent of direct government support in the United Kingdom and has used its independence to pioneer a distinctive approach to higher education.

On 27 May 1967, The Times published a letter from Dr J. W. Paulley, which said, “Is it not time to examine the possibility of creating at least one new university in this country on the pattern of those great private foundations in the USA, without whose stimulus and freedom of action the many excellent state universities in that country would be so much poorer.”

This idea was taken up by a number of people in the business and academic worlds and three London conferences followed, two in 1968 and one in early 1969. Active supporters included Max Beloff, then Gladstone Professor of Politics at Oxford and later first Principal of the University College at Buckingham, Professor Harry Ferns and Ralph Harris. Harry Ferns and Ralph Harris were both prominent members of the Institute of Economic Affairs, an organisation whose ideas have played a major role in the development of the University.

A suitable site was found in Buckingham and on 29 March 1973 the University College at Buckingham (UCB) was incorporated, in the form of a non-profit making company registered as an educational charity. The Council of Management held its first formal meeting on 3 April 1973. Lord Hailsham, the Lord Chancellor, became the first Visitor of the College and laid its foundation stone in May 1974. UCB was formally opened in February 1976 by the Rt. Hon. Mrs Margaret Thatcher, MP, as former Secretary of State for Education. It had 65 students.

Buckingham is the only private university in the United Kingdom and it was opened in the 70s when I was the Cabinet Minister in charge of Education and Science: to see it flourish and prosper has been a great joy to me.

Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven KG, Chancellor Emeritus