A coming of age: continuity and change 1962-1973

Keele was founded to pursue a unique approach to interdisciplinary scholarship and as a model campus community. The experiment came of age in 1962 with the award of the University's Royal Charter. The 1960s was a decade of radical change in the world and in society. Keele changed too but in 1973 the keystone of the unique Keele experiment - the Foundation Year - ceased to be an obligatory part of the Keele undergraduate experience and Keele was forced to explore a different future. The story of the University's coming of age is told in this history of Keele "by alumni for alumni" beginning in the first decade 1949-1961.

Coming of age huts - Keele Oral History Project Keele University was the first new United Kingdom University of the 20th century and was established with degree giving powers in 1949 as the University College of North Staffordshire. The Royal Charter of the University of Keele followed in 1962. By 1969 Keele University was being described as, "the most original innovation in British university education in the 20th century".

  • The DVD “A Coming of Age” is an audio-visual account of Keele students’ experiences from 1962 to 1973, with contemporary photographs, film, music and narrative
  • In the CD “In Our Own Words”, Brian Walker recalls the spirit of the age and the spirit of Keele through interviews recorded with Keele alumni and members of staff between 2006 and 2012.

Photo: Union and huts by Jocelyn Ryder-Smith (1962)

"A Coming of Age" has copyright restrictions for only 1,000 copies to be produced. These have now been distributed free of charge to Keele alumni and it is now unavailable. We thank all those who have already made gifts and especially the Golden Graduate whose generous gift will cover the production costs of "A Coming of Age". We show "A Coming of Age" at reunions and other occasions.

Production Team:

Coming of age registry - Keele Oral History Project Occupation of the Registry by Peter Houchin (1972)Presenter: Gerry Northam (1970) / Writer: Nici Hildebrandt (1975) / Interviewer: Brian Walker (1970) / Camera: Matt Bowling (2008) / Location Sound: Brian Walker (1970) / Editor: Matt Bowling (2008) / Historical Adviser: Bill Proctor (1968) / Assistant Producer: Pam Jones / Producer: Nici Hildebrandt (1975) / Executive Producer: John Easom (1981)

We also thank the many alumni volunteers who acted as advisers, especially: Malcolm Clarke (1969), Phil Davies (1971), Ilze Mason (Ulmanis) (1972) and Brian Stewart (1972). Many alumni and staff members have contributed interviews to the Keele Oral History Project.

Photo: Occupation of the Registry by Peter Houchin (1972)

We thank the following, among many others, whose interviews and other materials were collected for this production, including Shelagh Allsop (Twomey), Francis Beckett, Paul Brownsey, Malcolm Clarke, David Cohen. Peter Cropper Phil Davies, Nici Hildebrandt, Gurnos Jones, Alan Iliffe, Michael Mansfield, Angus McInnes, Audrey Newsome, Gerry Northam, Bill Proctor, George Pratt, Connie Robertson, Brian Stewart, Brian Turton, Liz Waters, David Whitebread, Linda Whitebread (Western), and Martin Yarnit. We also thank very many alumni and others who have contributed stories, photographs, amateur movies, ideas, memoirs, memorabilia, ephemera, publications and interviews for “A Coming of Age”.