University of Leicester History Project

Archives and Special Collections are collaborating with the School of History, Politics and International Relations to conduct research into the history of our University.

Click to learn about:

View University of Leicester Archives material at Special Collections Online

The project will be publishing new web pages over the coming months, so please check back for updates.

About the Project

ULA/FG1/3/85
Students on front lawn outside the Fielding Johnson Building, c. 1952
The University History Project is investigating the University's archives to tell stories about our history since our foundation as a memorial to World War I in 1921. The University archives are substantial, but have never been systematically examined in their entirety. Professor Jack Simmons used the archives for his account of the our early years, New University, and Brian Burch took the story up to our 75th anniversary with his University of Leicester: a History, 1921-1996.

Not all of the archives have been used, and much more have accrued or been rediscovered since then. Moreover, not many personal experiences of the University have been included in published accounts, and nor has University life, in its widest sense, including staff and student experience been focused on.

As a result, the University History Project seeks to:

  • Explore and highlight the University Archives, c.1918-present
  • Build the archives by surveying for historic material held by departments
  • Capture oral histories from staff, former staff and alumni
  • Focus on the College period (1921-1957) in the first instance, with a view to telling the more recent history through further research
  • Create exhibition material, web resources and offline reference materials

Themes the Project will focus on will be:

  • The pre-College history of the Fielding Johnson Building (as former lunatic asylum and 5th Northern General military hospital)
  • The foundation story and the founding figures
  • Campus buildings and expansion
  • Creating a memories and memorabilia showcase, through oral history and outreach to the wider community
  • Departmental histories, staff and major discoveries or disciplinary developments
Outputs will include:
  • More archival material in the Library’s Special Collections
  • Oral history recordings
  • Web pages about the University’s history
  • Image galleries
  • Exhibition materials
  • A timeline of our history

For more information about the project contact Elizabeth Blood (Research Associate). The project directors are Sally Horrocks and Dr Simon Dixon.

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