Fiftieth anniversary of the students’ Senate House sit-in

5 December 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of a sit-in by a group of University of Bristol students, who occupied Senate House for eleven days, until 16 December 1968.  The students were campaigning for a greater say in the running of the University and for the University of Bristol Student Union to be open to students from other education establishments in the city.

Whilst the sit-in took place, other students held a mass meeting in the Anson Rooms (Students Union) calling for the sit-in to end.

The Union Council asked the 400+ students to leave Senate House and a Joint Staff Student Working Party was set up under Professor Roderick Collar.

Editions of Nonesuch (to be found in Special Collections) dating from December 1968, cover these events as do other printed and archival material.

Tony Byers, a University of Bristol student who photographed many of these events at the time, deposited his archive of photographs (DM2269) in Special Collections.  Here we share some of his photographs and press coverage.

Sue Tate and Kevin Whitson gave a talk in May 2018 on the topic for the Bristol Radical History Group.

Related resources:

DM1635: Documents and press coverage of the student unrest of 1968 and the occupation/sit-in of Senate House, including the controversy over reciprocal membership of the Student’s Union.  Includes the Complicity statement, copies of the Informal newsletter and Nonesuch, general newspaper articles, ‘conspiratorial’ publications such as ‘Open Conspiracy’, letters, minutes of meetings and statements, 1969-1969. Also, newspaper coverage of student unrest in other Universities.

DM2476, Transcript of a lecture by Gordon Strong about the University of Bristol 1968 sit-in, 16 February 2006.

All photographs are copyrighted to Tony Byers.