12 May 2010

About the Uni

I have to admit that this post was not written by me, but by Kirsty, our main contact at the University. I found it really quite interesting, and hope you do too! I start with the history associated with the Accommodation buildings, and there will be more at a future date on other buildings.

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The University of Stirling: Buildings with personal names

Alexander Court




Alexander, Sir Kenneth John Wilson [Ken] (1922–2001), economist, university administrator, and public servant, was born on 14 March 1922 at 12 Kilmaurs Terrace, Edinburgh, the only son of William Wilson Alexander (1888–1930), lawyer, and his wife, Mary Logan Grahame, née Wilson (1888–1975), tailoress. He won a scholarship to George Heriot's School, Edinburgh, and after wartime service in the RAF attended the Bonar School of Economics in Dundee, where he was the first student to obtain first-class honours in the London University external examinations in 1949. On 24 September in that year he married Angela-May Lane (b. 1926), a teacher, and daughter of Captain Geoffrey Herbert Lane, naval officer. They had a son and four daughters.

From 1949 to 1951 Alexander was a research assistant at Leeds University and from 1951 to 1956 he was a lecturer in economics, specializing in industrial relations, at Sheffield University, before taking up a similar lectureship at Aberdeen University from 1957 to 1962. In 1963 he was appointed to the newly created chair of economics at Strathclyde University, where he created a department in the new faculty of arts and social sciences, establishing the first economics degree in Scotland based on mathematics and the modelling of continuous—as opposed to static—processes. He held this post until 1980, but was no ivory-tower scholar, serving as a member of the advisory committee on the University of the Air (later to become the Open University) in 1965, and becoming dean of the Scottish Business School from 1973 to 1975; he also began a lengthy connection with shipbuilding in 1966, when he joined the board of Fairfields (Glasgow) as a non-executive director. Its warship yard at Govan was in receivership, with work brought to a standstill by a communist-led sit-in of the workers, but he helped to negotiate a settlement in which the unions abandoned some restrictive practices in return for guaranteed employment. Taken into government ownership, the yard became part of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd in 1968, and Alexander served as a director from 1968 to 1971. Although threatened with ‘lame duck’ closure by the government of Edward Heath, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders were once more rescued and reconstituted as Govan Shipbuilders, on whose board Alexander served as chairman from 1974 to 1976.

While teaching at Leeds and Sheffield, Alexander was invited by the then powerful Yorkshire miners to be their representative on the National Coal Board's industrial relations tribunal. At Aberdeen he strengthened his links with the trade union and Workers' Educational Association movements, especially through the secretary to the trades council, James Milne, and Lord Provost Rae, and became very active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He became chairman of the North Angus and Mearns Labour Party, and was prominent in the campaign to adopt Bob Hughes (later MP for Aberdeen North), whose anti-apartheid stance he greatly admired. He became friendly with many prominent Labour figures, such as Tony Benn, Judith Hart, and Bruce Millan; in 1968 William Ross, the Scottish secretary of state, appointed him an economic consultant, a post he held through several changes of government from 1968 to 1991. Knighted in 1978, he was made deputy lieutenant of Fife in 1992.

Alexander held several other directorships, including Scottish Television, the Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail group, and Stakis plc. He chaired the committee on adult education in Scotland (1970–73), and was a member of the Scottish Transport Group (1969–76) and the Scottish Development Agency (1975–86). He was a governor of the Technical Change Centre (1981–7) and Newbattle Abbey College (1967–73), and presided over section F of the British Association (1974) and the Saltire Society (1975–81), as well as chairing the John Muir Trust (1985–8), the Edinburgh book festival (1987–91), and the Paxton Trust (1989–94), and serving as a trustee of the National Museums of Scotland (1985–7). Between 1976 and 1980 he was granted leave of absence from Strathclyde to chair the Highlands and Islands Development Board, which was then concerned with the vexed question of highland land use. Radical proposals, including compulsory purchase from obstructive absentee landlords, fell with the Labour government in 1979, but later prompted many land reforms, including those enacted by the Scottish parliament.

In 1981 Alexander returned to academic life as principal and vice-chancellor of Stirling University, following William Cramond, who had taken on that difficult position after the untimely death of the first principal, Tom Cottrell. Stirling had suffered a crisis of academic governance (and had also become notorious when the queen was abused by a student during a royal visit in 1972) and, according to some, was in danger of being closed. Building upon the healing work of Cramond (a psychiatrist), Alexander's academic and political strengths restored the university's standing. In 1986 the general council of the University of Aberdeen invited him to serve as chancellor, a position he held for ten years. The university was emerging from harsh University Grants Committee cutbacks; the appointment of a man respected and admired throughout the country by right and left was wise. He was no mere figurehead, but urged the university to make detailed and ambitious plans for its quincentenary. For a decade, despite serious and recurring illness, he was Aberdeen's good friend and guide, assisting major projects, especially in the liberal arts and the study of the rich traditional culture of the region.

Alexander's many outside commitments left him with less time for research and publication than he would have liked, although his considerable knowledge and networks served to stimulate and encourage his staff and students, who both consulted him and incorporated his scholarship into their publications throughout his life. A recipient of eight honorary degrees, his publications included The Economist in Business (1967), Productivity Bargaining and the Reform of Industrial Relations (1969), and, with C. L. Jenkins, Fairfields: a Study of Industrial Change (1971). He was particularly proud of the Alexander report (1973) on adult education in Scotland, which became the guiding light for community learning in Scotland.

Alexander went from being a member of the Communist Party (until the 1956 Hungarian uprising) to becoming a pillar of the Scottish establishment, yet he never lost his ability to set anyone at ease. A tall, handsome man, utterly lacking in pomposity, he could light up a room with his presence alone, leaving all who spoke to him (always as Ken) with the feeling that he was a lifelong friend. Sociable and generous, patient and approachable, he could be firm and determined, giving himself fully to any enterprise he took on. His first action as Aberdeen's chancellor was typical: to award (in mangled Latin—his sole failing) an honorary doctorate to Jessie Kesson, the workhouse-born slum child who had slogged her way to literary success. An agnostic, his quiet courage enabled him to fight a long, private battle against cancer, while fulfilling his many commitments to the very end. He died at 11 West Park Road, Cupar, Fife (his daughter Elly's house), on 27 March 2001, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was cremated in Dundee crematorium on the 30th, and his ashes were scattered over Sanna in Ardnamurchan. He was survived by his wife, Angela, and their five children.

Ian A. Olson
J. Laidlaw, Aberdeen University Review, 51 (1985–6) [LLD laureation address], 345–7 • J. Hargreaves, interview, 17 July 1999, U. Aberdeen L., special libraries and archives, oral history archive, no. 104 • The Scotsman (29 March 2001) • The Times (30 March 2001) • The Guardian (30 March 2001) • The Scotsman (4 April 2001) • The Independent (5 April 2001) • The Independent (17 April 2001) • Daily Telegraph (19 April 2001) • I. A. Olson, Review of Scottish Culture, 14 (2001–2), viii–x • WW (2000) • personal knowledge (2005) • private information (2005) • b. cert. • m. cert. • d. cert.

Andrew Stewart Hall reception and social area


ANDREW STEWART (1832-1901), founder of the engineering firm of Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd, one of the major subscribers to the university appeal fund.


Stewart, Andrew (1832–1901), iron and steel manufacturer, was born in the small textile and engineering town of Johnstone, Renfrewshire, the elder son of John Graham Stewart, a coal merchant, and his wife, Andrina (Annie) Orr. Andrew and his brother James moved with their parents from Johnstone to Glasgow in 1839. Stewart's early upbringing is unknown, but in 1849 he was apprenticed as a trainee engineer to a Glasgow tube-making firm, Messrs Chrichton and Eadie, with whom he worked for the next twelve years. He married Jane Cuthbert; they had four sons and a daughter.

Stewart's training and early industrial experience were acquired in a decade of rapidly expanding demand for pipes and tubing for gas and water supplies as Glasgow's urban population grew swiftly, and for boiler tubing as the Clyde became Britain's leading centre for marine engineering and iron shipbuilding. Consequently in 1861, with modest savings of £400 and another £800 subscribed by friends and family, the young Stewart branched out on his own as a small-scale manufacturer of iron tubes. He set up his Clyde Tube Works in St Enoch's Wynd, Glasgow, close to the river and the engineering works thronging its banks from the Broomielaw downriver to Govan. Six years later, when the Glasgow and South Western Railway bridged the Clyde and began acquiring property to build its St Enoch's railway terminal, Stewart sold up and moved out of Glasgow to the heart of Scotland's iron districts in the Monklands, 10 miles east of the city. There he re-established the Clyde Tube Works in Coatbridge, taking his brother James into partnership. Where he had previously been close to his immediate market, he was now establishing his firm, A. and J. Stewart, close to supplies of raw materials and in the middle of Scotland's complex of cast- and wrought-iron foundries.

The Coatbridge area was Scotland's centre of tube making, its great rival in Britain being the Birmingham district. The industry was characterized by a large number of small manufacturers, and A. and J. Stewart was fairly typical, its premises covering about an acre and providing employment for about 150 men. Growth and success came only slowly and as a consequence of hard work and close attention to detail on the part of the Stewart brothers. A. and J. Stewart became distinguished by its concentration on higher-quality tubing; it was an early developer of lap- and butt-welded pipes and took out a number of patents for special and high-pressure joints. Its products found ready customers locally, in England, and increasingly as exports overseas to Europe and the USA, where it confronted severe competition.

Coping with such competition prompted the Stewarts to increase the range of their products and extend the scale of their operations. After fifteen years of steady development of the Clyde Tube Works, they gambled on a larger scale, and in 1882 converted their partnership to private limited company status capitalized at £150,000. Over half the shares of £10 denomination were held by the brothers, with each holding 3000 and their senior manager, James Wotherspoon, held another 2000. The other 3000 shares were held by senior management and other family members. This step inaugurated a new strategy of growth by acquisition and merger. In 1882 A. and J. Stewart acquired the Sun Tube Works in Coatbridge and the Clyde Pipe Foundry in Glasgow, both adding much needed capacity.

The push for growth might have been quickly stalled in 1886 when James Stewart died suddenly at the early age of fifty; but in response Wotherspoon took on extra responsibilities and Andrew Stewart's two eldest sons, Andrew Graham Stewart and Thomas Cuthbert Stewart, were brought into the business. Soon after, with the management reinforced, further acquisitions were made. In 1889 the British Tube Works was acquired and operated as Stewart Brothers under the management of Andrew Stewart's two sons. Quickly thereafter, in 1890, a much larger addition was achieved with the negotiation of a merger with the Clydesdale Iron and Steel Company. This company operated works at Mossend, near Coatbridge, and in 1884 had added new steelmaking capacity to the earlier iron-making facilities. The Clydesdale Iron and Steel Company was controlled by Dugald and Duncan McCorkindale and Andrew Bain; both Bain and Dugald McCorkindale joined the board of the merged enterprise, which now took the name A. and J. Stewart and Clydesdale Ltd and was registered as a public limited company in 1890, capitalized at £700,000. At the same time Andrew Stewart brought Stewart Brothers into the new company and his two sons joined the board, which also included Sir William Arrol, Stewart's close friend and long-time customer.

The 1880s was a period of remarkable expansion for Stewart, who effectively increased the scale of his operations fivefold and transformed his company into the largest operator in the Scottish tube trade. He had through his acquisitions and mergers created a large, vertically integrated combine controlling its own supplies of iron and steel and performing all the stages of manufacture, from raw materials to finished products. The company then manufactured a very wide range of products, including all types of tubes and pipes, but had also diversified into angle and boilerplate manufacture. Stewart invested heavily in improving plant and machinery and indeed redesigned and built most of his own requirements. On taking over the Clydesdale works these were effectively reconstructed, the old hammer and tilting machinery being replaced by three new rolling mills.

Stewart and his family resided in Glasgow in a fine town house at 17 Park Terrace, but they also enjoyed country living at their Kingsmeadows estate near Peebles. Stewart was an active churchman and member of Park parish church in Glasgow, and through that was also active in the management of many Glasgow hospitals and benevolent societies. He was a director of the Glasgow Maternity Hospital and of the Glasgow Old Man's Society. Like his fellow industrialists and Scots Sir William Arrol and Andrew Carnegie, with whom he was friends, Stewart was a regular benefactor of many institutions and societies. His patronage ranged widely, including in London the Royal Caledonian Asylum and the Royal Scottish Hospital. Like Carnegie he was also a promoter of education, and in 1891 he provided funds to Glasgow University to endow the Adam Smith chair of political economy. The university recognized this, and his wider contributions, with the award of an honorary LLD in 1900.

After his sons joined the business, Stewart became less active in the daily conduct of affairs. By the mid-1880s he effectively controlled the Scottish tube trade and was able to minimize the pressures of competition, at least in the local market. But by the end of the decade these pressures were again increasing, and in 1898 he made a further acquisition, taking over the Phoenix Tube Works of James Menzies & Co. in Rutherglen. This company had pioneered the process of manufacturing solid drawn-steel tubes, and the merger kept Stewart in the forefront of technological developments. He paralleled this by further extending his Coatbridge operations, and in 1900 constructed the Imperial Tube Works there, and on an adjacent site established the Climax Engineering Works to manufacture his company's requirement of machines and tools. By then the Stewart companies, now renamed A. J. Stewart and Menzies, produced 36,000 tons of tube per year—about 70 per cent for export—and their only real rival was the Birmingham firm of Lloyd and Lloyd.

With the formation of A. J. Stewart and Menzies the company was now capitalized in excess of £1 million. Stewart's company then controlled nine large works, the establishment covering 85 acres and employing some six thousand men. His products covered every aspect of demand, from gas to water and general industry, and he had also moved into the complex naval market for water tube boilers. He had acquired a large portion of shares in Babcock and Wilcox and had become chairman of the company, holding the patent for the Babcock high-pressure boiler. Stewart was then aged sixty-eight and had been in ill health for some time; he died on 16 August 1901 at his country residence, Kingsmeadows, near Peebles; he was survived by his wife. His philosophy of mergers for market control was followed by his sons, who in 1903 joined with their rivals in Birmingham to establish the great firm of Stewarts and Lloyds, a union which effectively covered the British tube market.

Anthony Slaven
A. Slaven, ‘Stewart, Andrew’, DSBB • T. R. Miller, The Monkland tradition (1958) • memorandum and articles of association of Andrew and James Stewart Ltd, Mitchell L., Glas., MS 121/1 • Andrew Stewart trust book, inventory of estate, Mitchell L., Glas., Strathclyde regional archives, T–MS 258 • Andrew Stewart: trust disposition of settlement, NA Scot., SC/36/51/129 • Transactions of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, 44 (1900–01), 346 • d. cert.



Mr Harry Donnelly was the first Secretary of the University of Stirling.

Educated at Hillhead High School, Glasgow, he graduated MA with Honours in History from Glasgow University in 1931 and LLB with Distinction from Edinburgh University in 1937.

After a period in the Historical Department of H.M. Register House, he was transferred in 1940 to administrative duties in the Scottish Home Department.

In 1944 he was appointed Principal Private Secretary to The Right Hon. Tom Johnston, Secretary of State for Scotland, followed by a similar post to the Right Hon. Lord Rosebry, and finally with the late Right Hon. Joseph Westwood.

In 1947, he was transferred as Assistant Secretary to the Scottish Education Department, becoming Under-Secretary in 1957, and Deputy Secretary in 1959. During this time he was Chairman of many committees and working parties, one of particular importance dealing with the provision of a pension scheme for teachers widows. He was also Assessor from the Department on The Robbins Committee on Higher Education.

He was honoured by the Queen with the CB in 1963.

Mr Donnelly drew on his wide experience in educational matters in the formative years of the University which owes a very great debt to him for the time, energy and background knowledge he gave so freely and willingly in the difficult years of setting up the University of Stirling.

Mr Donnelly died on 15 June 1969



Hugh Fraser, 1st Baron Fraser of Allander, was a Scot of the very highest distinction.

Among his many appointments were Chairman and Managing Director of the House of Fraser Ltd, Chairman George Outram & Co Ltd, John Barker & Co Ltd, Harrods Ltd, Associated Fisheries Ltd, Highland Tourist Development Co Ltd, Scottish and Universal Investments Ltd, National Treasurer Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

Educated at Glasgow Academy, he became a DL in 1953 and LLD in 1962. He had many outside interests including Honorary Treasurer of the Automobile Association, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Westbourne School for Girls, Glasgow, and a member of the National Export Council.

The Fraser of Allander Trust set up by Lord Fraser gave generously to the Foundation Appeal of the University of Stirling, thereby enabling one of the first residence buildings to be built at a time when residential accommodation was vital to the progress of the University

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