Catalogue description University of Birmingham: University House Papers

This record is held by University of Birmingham: Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections

Details of UH
Reference: UH
Title: University of Birmingham: University House Papers

1. Description of University House: Manuscripts, published items, brochures, photographs, correspondence describing University House, its establishment, surroundings and daily life, 1906-1950; Administration of University House, comprising annual reports, correspondence, between, accounts, 1913-1928. 2. The Students of University House, 1907-1930: lists of students; room lists, papers relating to receipt of grants. 3. Material relating to the use of University House as a Nurses' Hostel during World War I, 1914-1921: surveyor's inventory; implications of occupation of school buildings during war time; payments. 4. Material relating to University House during World War II, 1938-1943: including instructions issued to citizens by the government; police notices; notices from the University of Birmingham, all relating to war precautions; correspondence between University House and local officials relating to air raid precautions. 5. Correspondence: Personal letters to the Warden, 1907-1915; Architects' plans of University House, 1926-1962; miscellaneous items, including named of residents; visitors' book; photographs; various committee papers, 1902-1951.

Date: 1906-1962

The collection is arranged in the following series: 1. Description of University House; 2. The Students of University House; 3.Material relating to the use of University House as a Nurses' Hostel during World War I; 4. Material relating to University House during World War II; 5. Correspondence.

Related material:

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of former staff, official and students.

Held by: University of Birmingham: Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

University House, University of Birmingham, 1904-2002

Physical description: 1055 items
Restrictions on use:

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Access conditions:



Access to all registered researchers

Immediate source of acquisition:

This collection was deposited in 1975; additional deposits were made in 1997, 1999 and 2002

Unpublished finding aids:

A paper catalogue to item level is available in the Special Collections Department and at the National Register of Archives in London. Additional deposits received in 1997, 1999 and 2002 are uncatalogued.

Administrative / biographical background:

University House, a residence for women students at the University of Birmingham, was founded in 1904. It initially opened at a private house in Hagley Road under the wardenship of Margery Fry and two other houses were subsequently acquired. However, as demand increased, the Governing Committee decided in 1906 to build a new hall of residence and University House on the University site at Edgbaston opened in 1908. Many leading industrial families and early academics at the University were involved in the establishment of the hall of residence. Mrs Alice Beale, wife of Charles Gabriel Beale, the University's first Vice-Chancellor, was President and Chairman of the University House Committee from 1904 and she played a major role and is often referred to as "The Mother of the House".


It started with 25 students, a number which quickly grew to 52 in 1910, accommodation for 60 then being available. The building was further enlarged by the addition of the Beale Wing in 1913. University House was commandeered in 1914 as a Nurses' Home when the University became a Military Hospital but was derequisitioned in 1919. In 1944, Winterbourne, Edgbaston Park Road, was bequeathed to the University by Mr J.M. Nicolson and was turned into an annex to University House, providing accommodation for a further 32 students. By 1947 it housed over 100 students. The building was further extended in 1964, when Winterbourne ceased to be available and at the same time University House became a mixed hall of residence. In 1981, University House lost its self-government and came in to line with the other University Hall of Residence, with a member of the academic staff being President of the Senior Common Room. At the end of the academic year 2001/2002, University House will cease to be used for student accommodation.


Reference: Leaflet about the history of University House compiled by Isobel Jackson, second edition 1998; Eric W. Vincent and Percival Hinton, The University of Birmingham: Its History and Significance (Birmingham, Cornish Brothers Ltd, 1947).


For further reading about the University of Birmingham see: Eric Ives, Diane Drummond, Leonard Schwarz, The First Civic University: Birmingham 1880-1980 An Introductory History (The University of University of Birmingham Press, 2000).

Link to NRA Record:

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