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Volunteers needed to delve into Bristol’s archives

The University of Bristol Students' Union Building, 1965

25 November 2014

Make the most of this exciting opportunity to gain access to the University’s Special Collections archive and help unearth the history of the University of Bristol Students' Union.

Do you live locally, and have a few hours to spare during the week? Would you like to find out more about your University’s history?

The University of Bristol Students' Union (UBU) needs your help to kick-start a special research project - a new visual display within the refurbished Students’ Union, highlighting its illustrious past to students and visitors. 

Following an extensive three-year refurbishment, the Students’ Union Building (The Richmond Building) is due to be fully re-opened in spring 2015, marking its fiftieth anniversary. UBU will take its place at the heart of University life and would like to use this opportunity to celebrate both its diverse history and its new facilities.

As a volunteer, you would help research:

  • the date and circumstances of the Students' Union's formation
  • the date it moved to the current Richmond Building
  • and three to five key events for each year from formation to present

The UBU are searching for a group of individuals to undertake approximately 100 hours of research in total, gathering information from the University's archive, sports clubs, societies and both student and local media. 

Timings can be very flexible depending on your current commitments – for example, if you are able to give an afternoon a week this would be very welcome.

A full briefing, guidance and templates for research will be provided and you would be accompanied at all times while in the archives. 

Typical material might include photos of The Hon George Odlum (BA 1959), the first black Students' Union President in the country, David Bowie playing the Anson Rooms, drama productions, and more we are yet to discover. 

Your research would then be coupled with stories from active clubs and societies, including Raising and Giving (RAG), the Speleological Society and the University of Bristol Boat Club to design exhibits in time for the re-launch event in March 2015.

There is a wealth of information hidden here at the University - the challenge will be finding the best dates, facts, figures and images to showcase.

If you would like to get involved in this exciting project, or have photos or memorabilia you would like to share with the University as part of this project, please contact Joanna Sochacka, Volunteers Manager, at