Queen's College, Dundee

Scope and Content

Official records of the College including minutes, files of the Master's office and Secretary's department, and calendars; personal papers of teaching staff; matriculation and other student records; student magazines; and some departmental files, 1954-1967.

Administrative / Biographical History

Queen's College was established in 1954 as a direct result of the findings of a Royal Commission. This reported in April 1952 that the incorporation of University College Dundee in the University of St Andrews could not continue as it was and made recommendations regarding the restructuring of the two institutions and altering the constitution of University College Dundee. On 31 July 1953 the University of St Andrews Bill received Royal Assent and the College was renamed in April 1954 to mark the new relationship with St Andrews.

The earlier years of Queen's College saw greatly improved co-operation between the College and the University and the near extinction of opinion in favour of an independent Dundee institution. This was in great part due to the then Principal of the University of St Andrews, Thomas Malcolm Knox, later Sir Malcolm, who was determined that there should be an equal partnership either side of the Tay. Although the co-operation continued, after the Robbins Committee Report of 1963 the institutions were working towards separation rather than integration. In 1964 Knox moved at Court that there should be an independent university in Dundee. This was accepted at St Andrews despite a history of strong opposition to the idea, and in Dundee Court, Senate and Council were all unanimously in favour but for one lay Council member. The new University was established by Royal Charter on 1 August 1967, replacing Queen's College.

From its creation in 1954 Queen's College had remained on the same campus as University College Dundee but had quickly expanded to accommodate the emergency increase in student numbers caused by the Robbins Committee, which had stated that full-time education should be open to all who were qualified. The main building work on campus was concentrated in three blocks. The Tower Building replaced the two most eastern houses of the original frontage creating an imposing main entrance to the campus. It housed the central administration, teaching facilities, staff club facilities and a new library. A new nine-storey tower was built for the Dental School on Park Place and a new residence, Belmont Hall, was built on Hawkhill in the Northwest corner of the campus. Further residences were created from the gradual accumulation and conversion of other property mostly in the West End of Dundee. The Medical School was promised a new hospital complex at Ninewells but this proved to be problematic and the School had to wait more than the lifetime of Queen's College to see it completed.

Queen's College initially taught the subjects inherited from University College Dundee but by 1955 there were developments to expand the teaching base. The School of Economics, previously a separate institution, was incorporated, and for the years 1955-57 Court prioritised the foundation of a School of Social Studies. In 1960 this became a Faculty of Social Sciences. This development meant that initially economies were required in English, French and German. A parallel picture of contractions before eventual expansion occurred in Sciences, where Natural Sciences had to tighten their belts before growth in all the Pure Sciences. In Medicine the process of transferring all subjects to Queen's College was ongoing. Court decided in 1960 that there would be no new Arts students admitted but this met with discomfort if not outright opposition and by 1965 there was a plan underway to create the Faculty of Social Sciences & Letters.

There were changes in the administrative structure, which occurred in response to the Tedder Commission's recommendation that Queen's College be more fully incorporated in the University of St Andrews. These included the membership of Council becoming predominantly academic. The composition of Court was also altered and this body was to appoint the Master of the College who would be the chief administrative officer locally. Queen's College had only three Masters; the first two of these were Professor David Rutherford Dow (1954-58) and Professor Arthur Alexander Matheson (1958-66). Although Masters were originally meant to serve a term of four years, Matheson's term was prolonged in order to foster continuity. He was eventually succeeded by James Drever, who became the first Principal of the University of Dundee in 1967.


The material was previously arranged in order of accession. It is awaiting rearrangement under a proper structure.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The records were transferred by the University of Dundee.


Fonds level description compiled by Andrew Nicoll and revised by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, June 2002, and Caroline Brown, June 2003.

Other Finding Aids

The items were numbered as accessioned and filed in the Recs A series. Lists of these records are available as are databases and source lists.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.



Related Material

UR-UCD University College Dundee, UR-DU University of Dundee, further records of Queen's College are held at St Andrews University Archives.


Shafe, Michael, University Education in Dundee 1881-1981: A Pictorial History, Dundee: University of Dundee, 1982

Additional Information

The material is original.