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An Introduction to the University for
New Staff

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History of the University

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The University received its Royal Charter in 1966, but it can trace its history back to the Bristol Trade School of 1856, which from 1885 came under the patronage of the Merchant Venturers' Society as the Merchant Venturers' Technical College. In 1949, when it came under the control of the Bristol Education Authority, the College took the name of the Bristol College of Technology; it changed again in 1960 to the Bristol College of Science and Technology when it became one of the ten Colleges of Advanced Technology administered by the Ministry of Education.

The adoption by Government of the recommendations of the Robbins Committee assured the College's transition to University status. The expanding College sought a new site in Bristol without success, and was thus forced to look further afield. A chance conversation between the College Principal and the Director of Education in Bath culminated in the City of Bath offering the nascent University its present site, for which government approval was obtained in 1964. The College had earlier had links with Bath through the Bath School of Pharmacy, founded in 1907, which had become part of the College in 1929.

Building on the Bath site began in 1964, with the first building being completed in 1965. Over the subsequent ten years or so the bulk of the building took place, with staff transferring from Bristol department by department. The basic plan of the campus was devised to enable extensions to be undertaken without undue disturbance, and to separate out, as far as possible, pedestrian and vehicular traffic. In assuming its present form, the University has generally held true to the original development plan. Building, and rebuilding to equip the campus with the latest facilities, continues. In its teaching and research the University is still strongly oriented towards the sciences and technology, but with a very successful School of Management and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2000, the university became a multi-site institution with the opening of its Oakfield campus, the first phase of its development in Swindon.

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