University of Sussex Foundation Papers

Scope and Content

Papers of the Proposed University College for Sussex Committee, 1911-1934, comprising autograph, typescript and printed papers, circular letters, correspondence, memoranda, minute books, pamphlets and parliamentary papers. Papers of Brighton and Sussex Students' Library and Educational Foundation, 1934-1960. Parliamentary papers on the passage of the University of Sussex Act, 1962.

Administrative / Biographical History

In December 1911 the Mayor of Brighton convened a public meeting which launched a committee to carry forward the proposal to establish a college of university rank in the County of Sussex. In the following year the committee submitted a memorandum to the Royal Commission on the University of London - into which it was proposed that the Sussex college should be incorporated. The Royal Commission recommended in April 1913 that the area for the recognition of Schools of the University of London should include the County of Sussex. The committee thereupon appealed for funds. By the outbreak of the First World War, only 2800 had been received of 8000 promised towards the estimated required endowment of 50,000.

In 1921 the 1911-13 proposal was acknowledged to be no longer viable, and some of the funds collected were put towards an annual public lecture (the first in 1924). In 1925, nevertheless, fundraising resumed, but with little success, and in 1934 the remaining funds were vested in trustees of The Brighton and Sussex Students' Library and Educational Foundation, of which the objects were to form a library for the use of local students (which was housed in Brighton Technical College) and to promote lectures and research work.

From the 1920s the Technical College was preparing students for London external degrees and in 1946-48 there was considerable discussion about developing it as either a college of technology or a university, or about forming a university college on an adjacent site - but to no avail. The opportunity emerged in 1954-55, leading to the formation in April 1956 of a joint committee of the five local education authorities in Sussex, and to the Government reserving, in February 1958, capital funding for the University College of Sussex (which was constituted under the Companies Acts as a company limited by guarantee). In March 1960 the trustees of the Educational Foundation approved a scheme for dissolving the charity and transferring its assets to the University College. Just prior to the admission of the first students in autumn 1961, a Royal Charter was signed to establish the University of Sussex and in the following year the University of Sussex Act was passed to transfer the College s assets and liabilities to the University.

Access Information

The collection is available to all researchers upon proof of identity and acceptance of the terms and conditions of use.

Acquisition Information

Presented in December 1960 by Frank Bentham Stevens (1879-1968), solicitor, one of the joint organising secretaries of the 1911 committee, except for:

the minute books and correspondence relating to the 1920s and 1930s which had been in the possession of Thomas M. Eggar, also a solicitor and a joint secretary from 1912, and which were presented in August 1973 by his business successor, G. M. Coltart of Fitzhugh, Eggar&partners, Brighton;

correspondence, minutes of meetings etc. of the Brighton and Sussex Students' Library and Educational Foundation, May 1945-June 1960 (Ad. 1), which were presented in February 1992 by the Principal Librarian, Eastbourne, East Sussex County Library; and

the Parliamentary papers relating to the University of Sussex Act, 1962, which were presented in June 1962 by Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading and Baroness Swanborough (on whom, see SxMs 3).


Prepared by John Farrant, July 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.

Related Material

SxMs 59, Papers of William G. Stone, was Education Officer for Brighton from 1947 and in 1954-57 wrote the key papers to promote the foundation of the University. These 14 boxes of papers dating from the 1950s and 1960s were deposited in 1991 by his widow, but have not yet been listed.


The papers were used by W. G. Stone in 'Steps leading to the foundation of the University,' in The idea of a new university. An experiment in Sussex, ed. David Daiches (London: Andr Deutsch, 1964), 168-92. Stone was Education Officer for Brighton from 1947 and wrote the key papers to promote the University in 1954-57.