This July marks a special month for us as we celebrate our 30th anniversary as a university on Thursday 7 July 2022
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Our roots as an institution date back to 1870 to the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art, and we became Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1969, buying Ravelin Park from the Government. In the same year our first halls of residence – Rees Hall – opened in a prime position overlooking Southsea Common.
Our students have also rubbed shoulders with cultural icons over the years, acting as extras for The Who in the film Tommy in 1974 and watching an early appearance by Nirvana at the Students’ Union on their first UK tour in 1989.
And in 1992 after a decade as one of the largest and best performing polytechnics in the UK, we out-grew our old name and received university status. The University of Portsmouth was born.
University Archivist Anna Delaney has been hard at work seeking out photographs from thirty years ago. A selection is presented below.
An archive and oral history project, coordinated by the History Department and Archives, is also underway telling the story of our heritage. Staff, students and alumni are encouraged to share interesting memories, pictures, or artefacts to help curate our narrative. Anyone interested in the project should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
There was a lot crammed into one day, on Tuesday 7 July 1992. The inauguration started with a procession from Park Building to Portsmouth Guildhall. The Secretary of State for Education and Science gave an address of welcome and everyone sang the national anthem.Read less
The Inauguration and Installation were followed by more processions. There was a procession from Portsmouth Guildhall to Ravelin Park for lunch.
The day culminated in the University of Portsmouth Inaugural Ball in a marquee in Ravelin Park, which started at 8.30pm and went on ‘until daybreak’.Read less
Entertainment included the Harbour Lights Steel Band, among others, and a fireworks display at midnight.
An invitation to The Inaugural Ball, which stipulated a dress code of ‘Maximum Black tie, Minimum Ultra Smart’. The small line at the bottom reads: ‘Breakfast available for early morning revellers’.
Photograph of students sitting around tables at the Students’ Union Freshers Fayre. This image was possibly taken in 1992, as a similar image from the same event appears in the 1993 Undergraduate prospectus. A sign reading ‘Ski Club’ can be seen in the background.Read less
On the left is the final prospectus printed for Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1992, and on the right is the University of Portsmouth’s first ever prospectus, produced for the 1993 entry. The design is somewhat minimalist, to say the least! The subtitle on both reads “First Degree and Diploma Full-time and Sandwich Courses”.
What used to be Foster Hall and the University’s Milton campus on Milton Road has now been transformed into a housing estate. The site was previously home to the Teacher Training College before becoming part of the University.
A group of students relaxing in the sunshine in a walled garden on Milton Campus, perhaps after a lecture. This peaceful space within the confines of Foster Hall is reminiscent of an Oxbridge college green.
The University Library – originally known as the Frewen Library – was completed in 1977 and opened by Lady Frewen, wife of Admiral Frewen after whom it was named. In this picture you can see the Phase 2 extension to the original building, opened in 1988. In 2007, a final Phase 3 extension was built, resulting in the building we know today.Read less
Students returning from a lecture in the Park Building, which is one of the University’s oldest buildings. The Grade II Listed Building was opened as a municipal college and public library in 1908.
A lecture taking place inside the Park Building in the early 90’s. One of the University’s larger lecture halls, you’ll notice that it still looks similar 30 years on!
Photograph of the interior of an IT suite with three students seated at computers. Although we can’t identify the exact location of this image, it’s clear that technology has come on leaps and bounds since the 1990s!Read less
A view across Langstone Campus in the early 90s. In the foreground is Barnard Tower. This futuristic landmark is one of the first things people see as they enter the city from the Eastern Road. In the background you can see QEQM and Trust halls of residence. Although the halls have now been demolished, Langstone Sports Site still brings students to the area to participate in team sports and open air activities.