- Constitution 1891-1979
- Minutes of board/committee of management 1885-1969
- Minutes of library committee 1890-1950
- Minutes of general meetings 1928-1952
- Financial records 1885-1988
- Debating records 1889-1979
- GUU diaries 1924-1969
- GUU handbook 1980
- Correspondence 1947-1982
- Administrative papers 1925-1988
- Programmes and menus 1895-1985
- Photographs of committee groups and buildings 1889-1990
- Architectural plans [20th century]
- Posters 1937, 1942
Records of Glasgow University Union, student union, University of Glasgow, Scotland
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 248 DC 094
- Dates of Creation1885-1990
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description2 metres
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Glasgow University Union was founded at the University of Glasgow , Scotland, in 1885 following a meeting of representatives from the main University societies, namely the Glasgow University Athletic Club , Glasgow University Dialectic Society and Glasgow University Medico-Chirurgical Society . The Union was established as a voluntary club and men's union for 'the purpose of promoting social intercourse among the students, past and present, of the University, and of acting as a central body representing students' interests, and especially for making adequate provision for the accommodation of the various College Societies'. From 1890-1930, it was housed in the John MacIntyre building on University Avenue, Glasgow, the first purpose-built home for the Union designed by architect John J Burnet. Dr John MacIntyre, who attended classes in Glasgow but was not a graduate of the University, generously donated å£5000 for its construction in memory of his wife. The building was 1895 and 1908.
In 1930, the Union moved premises to a new building at the corner of the junction of University Avenue, Kelvin Way and Great George Street, Glasgow. This building remains as the principal home of the Union although the buildings have been extended to cater for the increase in the number of students at the University and therefore members of the Union.
Despite women being admitted to study at the University in 1892 , the Union was for ninety-five years an all male preserve which did not admit women.
In 1977, a campus-wide referendum was held on the proposal that the two single sex Unions, the GUU (male) and the Queen Margaret Union (female) should amalgamate, but the students voted against it by a reasonable margin. Two years later, in 1979, the members of the QMU voted to accept men as members and the very next year, 1980, the University forced the GUU's hand by threatening to withdraw its funding unless it too became mixed. So, at the subsequent special general meeting the members of the GUU voted to accept women as members. Thus ended the GUU's unique status as the last "all-male" Union in Britain and the University's potential breach of the Sex Discrimination Act.
In 2002, the Union was managed by a board of management consisting of 26 people, 19 of whom were student members. The other 7 are life members with strong links to the Union. The executive, who form part of the board of management consists of a president, secretary and assistant secretary. There are also convenors for entertainment, the Union's library, games and debates. These positions are all held by students who are elected by the Union membership on an annual basis.
The Union acts as a meeting place for students and is one centre of social activity on the University campus. It has a major reputation for debating and has sent teams around the world to take part in debating tournaments.
This material is arranged into series, which consist of numbers of items related by format and/or function. Within series, the items are generally arranged chronologically.
Other Finding Aids
Printed list and item level computerised list available in searchroom
Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)) and London (NRA)
Alternative Form Available
No known copies
Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements
None which affect the use of this material
Conditions Governing Use
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures
Held by Glasgow University Union
Regular transfers expected
Location of Originals
This material is original
Gerald Warner,Conquering by Degrees: Glasgow University Union A Centenary History 1885-1985(Glasgow, 1985)
Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names
Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.
Fonds level description compiled by Moira Rankin, Senior Archivist, 07 April 2000.
Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 1 October 2002