Nene College

Scope and Content

The collection's coverage is wide-ranging. Board of Governors' papers exist for 1990-1997 and Academic Board papers 1991-1998, as well as reports and minutes of other committees and meetings. Prospectuses cover the years 1979-1998. There are Annual Reports and Reviews, Court papers (1992-1997), Financial Statements, College Calendars and Strategic Plans (1992-2003). Degree award ceremony programmes are held from 1989 to 1998. There is material relating to the application for degree awarding powers, and a booklet entitled 'Case for designation as a Polytechnic'. A number of files contain correspondence, memoranda and reports: some of these are headed 'General', others are specific e.g. Courses, Students Union. There are twelve binders relating to the Board of Collegiate Studies. A small amount of material is held concerning the Sunley Management Centre and the National Leathersellers Centre. The remainder includes papers and plans relating to building and maintenance works, press cuttings, invitations and programmes for opening ceremonies and official visits, lecture series and exhibition programmes, student handbooks and magazines.

Administrative / Biographical History

Nene College opened in 1975. It was set up as a result of Government Circular 7/73, Development of Higher Education in the Non-University Sector. The Northampton Colleges of Art, Technology and Education were merged, along with the annex of Leicester College of Education at Corby, to form one institution on two sites, Avenue and Park Campuses under the control of the Local Education Authority.

A wide variety of courses were developed, up to degree level. The degrees were awarded by the University of Leicester, validated through the Board of Collegiate Studies.

The college was run by a Board of Governors, originally thirty people but later increased to thirty three, one quarter of whom represented the LEA. The Director was responsible to the Governors for the organisation and management of the college.There was also an Academic Board. Either Board could set up sub-committees as required.

In 1977, the National Leathersellers College in London moved to Northampton and amalgamated with Nene College's Department of Leather Manufacture. The National Leathersellers Centre opened the following year on Park Campus, built with the aid of a large donation from the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers.

Blackwood Hodge Management Centre opened in 1981, also on Park Campus, built as a result of a gift from the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation. The name was changed to the Sunley Management Centre in 1989.

Following the Education Reform Act of 1988, Nene College became a Higher Education Corporation, independent of the LEA, in 1989. This change in status resulted in changes to the constitution, for example the Board of Governors, now comprising twenty people, had three standing committees reporting to it, namely Finance, Audit and Employment.

In 1993, the college was given degree awarding powers for first degree and taught masters courses, with the first Nene College degrees awarded in 1996.

The Secretary of State's Response, following the Dearing and Kennedy reports, to the Reports of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education included the item that the title University College should be available to Higher Education Institutions with taught degree awarding powers. In response to this the decision was taken, at the beginning of 1998, to apply to the Privy Council for a change of name for the institution to University College Northampton (UCN). During the transitional period the title Nene - University College was commonly used although the formal name of the Corporation was not changed at this stage.

1999 saw the end of Nene College and the birth of University College Northampton, when the change of name was approved.

Access Information

All items are accessible. Details about our opening times and how to arrange a visit can be found on the University of Northampton Archive web pages.

Acquisition Information

Material has been collected from a variety of sources. Some has come from individual departments such as Administration, Registry and Learning Resources while some was marked "Material for college histories", probably collected by one-time college librarian Victor Hatley. A number of files were passed to the College by the Northamptonshire County Council records store. The origin of other records is not known.

Other Finding Aids

Content is currently being added to our Online catalogue.

Box List

Some images from our collections have been uploaded to Flickr

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply

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Where copyright does not lie with the University it is your responsibility to approach the rights holder.


We do not expect that there will be major accruals to this collection but the University would welcome the chance to discuss any further potential donations of records relating to the Nene College.