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Archives and Special Collections: University of Stirling

Collection information

Collection: University of Stirling

Collection Ref.: GB 0559 UA

Administrative History:

In January 1964 the government announced that a new university should be set up in Scotland and the University Grants Committee was tasked with selecting its location. In July 1964 it was announced that the Airthrey Estate in Stirling was chosen as the site. The University of Stirling opened its doors to its first intake of students in September 1967 with the institution adopting an innovative two semester system which was designed to fit the flexible and broad study options it hoped to provide. The University also received its Royal Charter and Statutes in 1967, the Charter being revised in 1993.

The University was built on the site of the Airthrey Estate. In 1939 Airthrey Castle became a Maternity Hospital, the estate being first leased, then purchased by Stirling County Council. The estate then passed to the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1948 following the establishment of the National Health Service. The 300 acre site was formally gifted to the University in 1965. Once the Maternity Hospital was closed in 1969 the University was able to occupy Airthrey Castle itself. Today the university has over 14,000 students engaged in research and study in a wide variety of subjects


Material tracing the planning, growth and development of the institution; the minutes and papers of its administrative committees; and photographs and memorabilia of life on campus.

Extent: 200 boxes

Catalogue information

The archives of the University of Stirling are currently being catalogued with information regularly being added to our online catalogue. For further information please contact the University Archivist.

Additional collection information

Related collections:

Airthrey Estate Papers, collection ref. GB 0559 AE.

Title deeds and associated papers relating to the Airthrey Estate.

Howietoun Fishery Archive, collection ref. GB 0559 MS 40.

19th and 20th century business records of the fishery, which was acquired by the University of Stirling in 1979.

SURSA Oral History Project.

Interviews with former staff and alumni of the university collected by the Stiring University Retired Staff Association.


Bomont, R. G., The University of Stirling: beginnings and today (Stirling, 1995), library classmark K 8.941 STI

Fifty, The University of Stirling in 50 objects (Stirling, 2017), library classmark, Stirling-Long K 8.941 STI

Heffernan, M. & Jons, H., "A Small Town of Character": Locating a New Scottish University, 1963-1965, in Geographies of the University, eds. Meusburger, P., Heffernan, M., & Suarsana, L. (Springer eBooks, 2018)

Nehring, H., Failed Utopia? The University of Stirling from the 1960s to the early 1980s. In: Taylor M & Pellew J (eds.) Utopian Universities: A Global History of the New Campuses of the 1960s. Oxford: Bloomsbury Academic (2020), pp. 191-206.

Nehring, H., Challenging the Myths of the Scottish Sixties: Student Protests in the Wake of '1968' at the University of Stirling. Moving the Social, 64, (2020), pp. 53-80.


Brig Digital Archive

Online access to fully digitised issues of Brig, the university's student newspaper, from 1969-1987. Full details on our Culture on Campus blog.

Online resources


Find out more about the history of the university on the 50th anniversary website and at #Stirling50 on Twitter.

Using the collection

Archives Reading Room

Opening Hours:

10 am - 1 pm / 2 pm - 4 pm

Monday - Friday

Contact us:

Tel. 01786 466619


Please contact us in advance of your visit by emailing


Original design for the university arms, 1967.

(Ref. UA/A/05/02/01)