Heffernan-Jöns2018_Chapter_ASmallTownOfCharacterLocatingA.pdf (878.7 kB)
Download file

‘A small town of character’: locating a new Scottish university, 1963-1965

Download (878.7 kB)
posted on 02.11.2017, 13:48 by Michael Heffernan, Heike JonsHeike Jons
The 1960s are generally regarded as a decisive decade for the postwar expansion of British universities, the process widely associated with the publication of the Robbins Report on Higher Education in October 1963. This period saw significant increases in the number of full-time university students and in the level of public expenditure devoted to higher education. This chapter analyses the debates triggered by the Robbins committee’s recommendation to establish a new university in Scotland, eventually located in the county town of Stirling. Based on previously unexamined documents in the UK National Archives, we argue that the decision to create the new university in Stirling rather than the alternative locations of Ayr, Cumbernauld, Dumfries, Falkirk, Inverness, and Perth arose from the interplay of three somewhat contradictory pressures: the preference of the Robbins committee for new universities in or near to large cities; the prejudices of the academics charged with making this decision for environments that reproduced the perceived creative advantages of the ancient universities where they were educated or employed, specifically Oxford; and the highly successful lobbying campaign in support of Stirling.



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Geographies of the University Knowledge and Space




1 - 46 (46)


HEFFERNAN, M. and JONS, H., 2018. ‘A small town of character’: locating a new Scottish university, 1963-1965. IN: Meusburger, P., Heffernan, M. and Suarsana, L. (eds.) Geographies of the University, Dordrecht: Springer, pp.219-250.




VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Publication date



This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. This paper was presented at "Geographies of the University" Symposium in Villa Bosch, Heidelberg, Sept 3-6th.



Book series

Knowledge and Space;12