University of Hull History

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University of Hull History

University of Hull History

History

“Moving Matter” by Joseph Hillier

The foundation stone of University College Hull, then an external college of the University of London, was laid in 1927 by Prince Albert, the Duke of York (who later became king as George VI). The college was built on land donated by Hull City Council and by two local benefactors, Thomas Ferens and G F Grant. A year later the first 14 departments, in pure sciences and the arts, opened with 39 students. The college at that time consisted of one building, now named the Venn building (after the mathematician John Venn, who was born in Hull). The building now houses the administrative centre of the university. Other early buildings include the Cohen Building, which originally housed the college library, and Staff House, built in 1948 as the Student’s Union. Another early structure was the Chemistry Building, built in 1953. With the rapid expansion of student numbers which took place in the 1950s many many academic departments were housed in temporary buildings, colloquially known as ‘huts,’ which gave the campus the feel of an ‘academic army camp.’

Though many of the buildings on Hull’s campus are of red brick it is not a redbrick university in the strictest sense of the term, as it was not founded as part of the civic university movement of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Hull, with its origins in the 1920s, has been categorised as a ‘younger civic university’ (also referred to as a “Whitetile university”) and it is placed between the ‘redbricks’ and the ‘plateglass universities’ founded in the 1960s. The university’s expansion in recent decades has seen the addition of a variety of building styles: from the traditional older buildings, through 1960s teaching blocks, to modern additions.