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125 years of your Students’ Union

As a democratic organisation, we have thousands of

representatives volunteering to speak on behalf of their peers;
from the very first student president, John Farcombe, in 1903,
Students’ Union UCL has been bringing students together and to today's team of seven sabbatical officers and over 1,800 part
making UCL a better place to live and study for 125 years. Aiysha
Welfare & International Officer
time representatives that deliver our diverse programme of
activities today. WIthout them, there would be no Union and
We have been a place to retreat from the day-to-day stresses you will find them at the heart of this story.
of university life; a place to indulge your passions, meet new
people, challenge what you thought you knew and change the
world for the better. We have been at the heart of the UCL
experience for countless students from all over the world and Hamza
Democracy, Operations & Community Officer
Activities Officer

left a mark on a great many lives.

Our 2017-18 Sabbatical Team

In this exhibition, we hope to celebrate some of the

stand out moments from our shared history and the
outstanding contributions that have been made by
UCL students over the last 125 years.
Sarah Mark Ayo Justine
Education Officer Postgraduate Students' Officer Black and Minority Ethnic Students' Officer Women's Officer
Creating the student movement
1897, the Women’s Union
was formed, with Rosa
Students’ Union UCL was one of the very first students’ unions in the
UK. We carved a path for other unions around the country to join us Morison at its head. In the
on and we've been through a great number of changes to become the
organisation we are today. The students and staff who were involved current day, the Union’s
with the union in its formative years were visionary. This is how the
foundations were laid for the students’ union at UCL. data management system
is named after Morison.
The Men’s Union Society was 1893 1900 The wooden Phineas statue is
established. Its goal was "the stolen from a local tobacconists
promotion of social intercourse and the Union’s mascot is born.
and of the means of recreation,
physical and mental, of the 1946
students of University College,
and the financial successes The Union Society and the
of students' clubs". A year’s Women’s Union combined and
membership cost £1 and 1 shilling. the Union, as it is today, was
Making waves
Students campaigning for UCL to
divest in the arms trade placed
fake tombstones in the main quad

and breaking
with the words ‘1,000 people
every day are killed by arms’. UCL
would later put together an ethical
investment committee and divest

from arms.

2007 UCL reveals plans to knock down

social housing in East London
to make way for a new campus.
In response to Apartheid, the Students work with the Union to
Union founded the South African mount a campaign against the
Scholarship Appeal, whereby UCL proposal and successfully save
would waive tuition fees for one the Carpenter’s Estate.
Black South African student per
year. The Union, in turn, raised
funds to cover the student’s living
costs. Lyttleton Mngquikana was 1972 2012 Ongoing student led campaign
supported by the Union, Cut The
the first recipient 1971 Rent, withholds rent payments for
Formation of The Lesbian and five months and successfully wins
1965 UCL students were among the
Gay Society, our first form £1.4m in concessions from UCL to
of representation for LGBT provide rent bursaries, freeze the
20,000 protesters to bring students. They successfully lowest rents and improve standards.
West End traffic to a standstill lobbied the National Union of
demonstrating against the Students to run it's first Gay
1945 Government’s proposals on Rights Campaign.
students’ unions. Thatcher’s 2016
The Union started the Student proposal would have significantly
Healthcare Association which, restricted students’ union's
until the birth of the NHS, autonomy and finances. After
ensured all students received huge student support for the
adequate care. It was the first campaign, the proposal was
university initiative of its kind. dropped.
1947, the first 1947
ever Union
bar was
As well as being a vehicle for change, over the years, opened.
the Students’ Union has become a home from home,
providing generations of students with the spaces
they need to enjoy university life outside of the 1959, the Union moves into
lecture theatre to its fullest. This has meant a huge temporary accommodation at 25
variety of spaces; to meet new people, hang out with Gordon Street. We’re still based
old friends, showcase talent or let off some steam. The Union’s first home was three rooms located around here today.
The most nostalgic of these has often been the the cloisters, known today as the Haldane room. A
Union Bars in their many guises. Rooms Committee was formed to allocate the annual
£24 budget to supply the rooms with magazines. 1959

Home from home

The Union took control
of Shenley, turning
farmland into a sports
2008 ground between 1938
and 1940. We’re now
set to start a new
2008, Students, in their wisdom, adventure at Hackney
vote to name the new second Marshes and the
floor of 25 Gordon Street, The Olympic park, providing
Kriss Akabusi Pleasure Lounge. sporting facilities
alongside the UCL East
Proud to be While UCL is known the world over for its intellectual prowess, it is the Union that has supported its sports stars. A key driver behind
the original conception of the Union, sports teams and their vibrant social life have always been at the heart of this students’ union.
Today, we have over 60 competitive sports teams, ranging from martial arts to ball sports and athletics. We are also proud to say that

TeamUCL our inclusive sports programme, Project Active, has won national recognition.

1958, Shenley Pavilion

opens with The Foundation
Games. They were played
in a blizzard, but UCL beat
1898 - Official opening of the Union’s
new sports ground in Acton. The 1958 Kings 15-9

facilities, however, were not quite what

we are used to today - players were
required to change under nearby trees The Union runs an elite athlete program,
and the groundsman was regularly supporting 18 students in their pursuit of
found to be inebriated on the job. sporting excellence. One such recipient is Debbie
Alawode, Gold at the 2017 British Junior
Weightlifting Championships, 75kg. Introduction of the
Mandy Walker Games,
a now, much-loved,
1909 2014, The London Varsity annual event for UCL
Series returns, bigger and sporting alumni.
better than ever. UCL
secure a win in the first
year with a 8-5 victory.

1905 - Students from the Union
successfully lobbied UCL to agree that
1909, Sports
teams arranged
Wednesdays would be kept free of a three day
lectures to allow students to participate Bazaar and Fete
Sports teams come together under one, Team UCL brand. in sports, arguing in the Union Magazine, to raise money
that students “live an unhealthy life of to improve
one idea - examinations. This is wrong - changing
nay, more than wrong, it is scandalous. room facilities,
Both men and women alike will wake
when it is too late, and find that they
the Main Quad
have purchased a successful degree, at into this now
the expense of good health”. iconic image.
Student run societies with Battles in front of the Quad
were a familiar sight during
RAG wars between UCL

something for everyone

and King's in the 1940's and

The opening of what we now know

as the Bloomsbury Theatre, although
it was not given this moniker until
1983. The theatre has hosted many a
Along with our sports clubs, we have also been home to a seemingly
limitless number of student interest groups. One need only look at the
1828 Student societies
actually predated
Union play, from Guys and Dolls to Dr
Faustus and Oh What a Lovely War to
crowds of thousands of students queueing to enter the annual Welcome the creation of the Romeo and Juliet.
Fair to appreciate just how much these groups contribute to students’ Union, the oldest
lives at UCL. of the bunch being 1968
the Medical Society,
founded in 1828.

1950, Film Society became a part of

the Union. Notable alumni include
film making team Christopher Nolan
and Emma Thomas, who returned to
film parts of Inception. Nolan said of Today there are 11,536 students engaged in our societies.
the society: “it was a black hole that
sucked you in and it’s fair to say that
I spent more time in that basement 1992, the first 24-hour Freshers’
than in the English department, where Musical was prepared and performed,
I was supposed to be.” with Joseph and the Technicolour
Dreamcoat being selected. This
tradition still continues today.
What’s next at Students’ Union UCL? Students’ unions can be almost anything. A great students’ union understands what
their members want and then goes about delivering it. We are constantly listening to
our members, whether through the ideas, experiences and opinions of our Sabbatical
We’ve begun a journey to be the best part of the UCL student experience. We want to lead the Officers or through our thousands of elected student leaders who run our clubs and
way on improving societies, liberation networks and take up roles as Academic Representatives. All of
125 years means a whole lot of change. Every year we’re refreshed and student wellbeing at these influences shape our continuous change and make us the place where more
energised by our changing membership and elected leadership. These 125 UCL. happens.
years of change are a strength to an organisation like ours, we might even
dare to say we’re quite good at it. So, as we look beyond our 125th year and
into the future, we’ve set out a few markers on where we want to be. We want to deliver 1
We want to develop
Upgrade WCs to ensure compliance with BS
the best postgraduate GF - Acc. WC
GF - Female WC

2.908 sq m
12.485 sq m

our spaces and
Re-locate reception to central position to improve

experience in the UK transform how you use

visibility and security. Desk size to be reduced
GF - Male WC
13.997 sq m due to support staff feedback and increased
activity at reception spaces.
We want to be the best run for our students. 3 Createthem.
approachable welcome with improved
signage and comfortable furniture
students’ union in the UK, so GF - Store
9.517 sq m

Extend Gordon’s Cafe to wrap around reception

we can do the best for UCL

at core. Furniture to be replaced with more

flexible/lightweight elements.
students. We want to transform GF - Gordon's
64.571 sq m

GF - UCLU Reception
16.511 sq m
5 Study zone with stackable and flexible furniture.

UCL for each and every

GF - UCLU Welcome
22.68 sq m
GF - Circ.
6 Re-locate Gordon’s Cafe to allow for increased
generation of student.
23.843 sq m
GF - Cafe/Social
55.256 sq m
Study 2F - Shared Study
91.621 sq m storage and BoH. Also allows for postal deliveries
to be stored.

Union spaces on campus are different from

25 Gordon Street - Ground Floor Plan UCL spaces,. Union spaces are yours. We
want you to feel at home in our spaces, so
We want our students to develop 3F - Staff Common Room
1 Shared staff room we’re transforming our bars, cafes, activity
and study areas. We’re creating great places
48.769 sq m

from their Union experiences, as 1

2 Increase number of WCs and provide accessible

well as their UCL education. for you to make friends, relax, get active
and ambulant WCs to comply with BS 6465. For
3F - Acc. WC
4.394 sq m

use by staff/students and visitor .

items. Allows for space toand

be used do the things you love doing at UCL.
3F - WCs
26.012 sq m 2
3 Create Phineas bar storage for furniture and other
for events.
3F - Store
5.268 sq m
3F - Circ.
31.665 sq m

3 4 Fixed furniture replaced with stackable,

lightweight furniture.
We’re at the start of a project to make
3F - Phineas Bar Storage
18.541 sq m

3F - Phineas Bar Area

Union spaces feel like a home from home;

40.107 sq m

5 3F - Phineas Bar BoH

8.346 sq m
5 Replace bar with new and extend for increased
bar space.

every one of
Circulation lobbies reconfigured to comply with
your Union spaces on campus
will be transformed over the coming years.
Part M of the Building Regulations and BS 8300.
3F - Phineas Bar
206.671 sq m

25 Gordon Street - Third Floor Plan

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