Papers of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals of The Universities of the United Kingdom

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minutes 1890-1988; General Purposes Committee, 1972-1988; Standing Committees, 1972-1988; A.L. Fleet minutes, 1949-1962; notebooks of meetings, 1956-1964; Steering Committee, 1967-1972; subject files, 1948-1991; publications of CVCP, 1947-1988; circular letters, 1953-1976; other publications, 1965-1994.

Administrative / Biographical History

The present organisation, Universities UK, originated in the nineteenth century when there were informal meetings involving Vice-Chancellors of a number of universities and Principals of university colleges. In 1918 the first consultative meeting of all Vice-Chancellors was held. At that time, the committee consisted of just 22 universities and university colleges. In 1930, Vice-Chancellors secured a mandate from their respective universities that "it is desirable in the common interests of the United Kingdom to constitute a Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals for purposes of mutual consultation". There were two new waves of universities in the 1960s, with ten new universities being created and a further ten arising from the upgrading of former colleges of advanced technology and two Scottish institutions.

With one or two further additions, the committee grew to a total of 47 representatives in the 1980s. In 1992, Government legislation enabled polytechnics to become universities. The committee's membership increased to over 100 institutions. In 1995, the then Chairman, Professor Sir Gareth Roberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, organised the committee into Sector Groups, each dealing with a specific area of the committee's business and made up of 10-15 members. These enabled members to become much more involved in the CVCP on a day-to-day level. In 1999, as a direct result of devolution in Scotland and Wales and in order to ensure the continued provision of valued services to all its members, the National Council structure was created. The National Councils are autonomous bodies that are linked to CVCP but represent their own country members.

On 1 December 2000, CVCP became Universities UK. The National councils also changed their names, logos and identities on 1 December. In 2001 the Sector Groups were reviewed and renamed Strategy Groups. By building strategic alliances and working collaboratively with the various higher education stakeholders these Groups are helping to deliver the new outwardly focused, influencing role of Universities UK. The membership of the committee has continued to increase slowly so that today the committee has 122 members.

Reference: Universities UK, Brief history of Universities UK (  Accessed September 2002


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by CVCP in 1998.

Other Finding Aids

A file level paper catalogue is available in the Centre's searchroom.

An authority record exists for the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals of The Universities of the United Kingdom (GB 152 AAR2345).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.