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University of London Senate

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0096 UoL/ST
Held at: Senate House Library, University of London
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Full title: University of London Senate
Date(s): 1836-2005
Level of description: Subfonds of the University of London
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Extent: 314 volumes, 110 bundles, 29 boxes
Name of creator(s): University of London | Senate
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

According to the first Charter granted to the University of London by King William IV, sealed on 28 November 1836, the Senate was responsible for the "entire management of and superintendence over the affairs, concerns and property" of the University. From its very beginning, the Senate delegated its functions to various committees and sub-committees. Two of the earliest were the Committee of the Faculty of Laws 1837-1843 and the Committee of the Faculty of Arts 1837-1844.

Originally the Senate was composed of thirty-six members, fellows of the University, appointed by the government and headed by a Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. The Senate first met in March 1837.

In 1900 changes were made to the constitutional arrangement of the University of London. The composition of the Senate was changed and the body was increased in size to fifty-six members. Also three standing committees of the Senate were created, the Academic Council, The Council for External Students and the Board to promote the Extension of University Teaching. These committees played an advisory role to the Senate.

The University of London Act 1926 was created as a result of the Hilton Young Report 1926. The Statutes of 1929 implemented the provisions in the Act, which introduced a new executive body, the Court, and changed the composition of the Senate.

A bicameral system of governance was implemented, with the introduction of the Court, which took control of the University's finances. The Senate remained the 'supreme governing and executive body of the University in all-academic matters.' The chairman of Convocation became an additional ex officio member, along with the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. The Senate was now comprised of members from the Faculties, Convocation, the General Medical Schools and co-opted members.

The Report of the Robbins Committee on Higher Education, published in 1963, stated that there were problems and inconsistencies in the University of London, which called for investigation and remedy. It recommended that if they could not be resolved internally, they 'should be the subject of independent enquiry.' In 1969 it was considered that a major investigation of the University's structure was required and, on the initiative of the University, the Committee of Enquiry was established jointly by the University and University Grants Committee under the Chairmanship of Lord Murray of Newhaven. One of its terms of reference was to consider and advise on 'the functions, powers and composition of the Senate and the composition and responsibilities of its Standing Councils and Committees. The Committee of Enquiry into the Governance of the University of London was appointed in June 1970 and published its Final Report in 1972. The Consultative Committee for Co-ordinating Discussion on the recommendations of the Murray Committee was established in November 1972.

The University of London Act 1978 follows on from the issues raised by the Murray Committee. The Act increased the size of the Senate. The University's constitution was changed as a result of the Act in 1981. The Senate was enlarged to 120 members. It now included the four ex officio members, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Chairman of Convocation and the Principal together with twenty-eight Heads of Schools of the University, twenty-five teachers elected according to their membership of the Boards of Studies, fifteen teachers elected according to the institutions at which they held their posts, ten other teachers, twenty Convocation members, twelve student members and five co-opted members.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection, 1836-1989, contains copies of reports and papers regarding the constitution and governance of the University of London (ST 1), minutes and related papers of Senate meetings (ST 2), minutes and related papers of various nineteenth century (ST 3) and post 1900 Senate Committees (ST 4), minutes and correspondence of the Committee on Library Resources (ST 5)

Also contains the minutes and papers of the following committees: the Committee of Enquiry into the Governance of the University of London (The Murray Committee) (ST 6), the Consultative Committee for Co-ordinating Discussion on the recommendations of the Murray Committee (ST 7), the Statutes Revision Committee and papers and correspondence from the secretary of the Senate (ST 9).

There are also 29 boxes of uncatalogued material (Ref. ST) containing material dating from 1900-2005. This includes University of London statutes, Imperial College Act, working party papers, Joint Planning Committee papers, Todd Report papers, Committees Revision Committee papers, Senate Votes Steering Group papers, Finance and General Purposes Committee-Joint Planning Committee Preparation Papers, Senate Papers re Academic Council Working Party, Joint Committee of Senate and General Union Council papers, Joint committee of the Senate and Presidents' Council on Engineering Examinations papers, Committee for Senate Institutes and Academic Activities papers, clerk of the Senate correspondence files and Parliamentary Liaison Group papers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Open except for records exempt under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act. Access to the records for the purposes of private study and personal research is possible within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Finding aids:

Catalogue: Archive of the University of London, 1988.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
1999-09-01 Simon McKeon, 2006-08-24 Michael Broadway, 2008-01-10

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