Treasure of the month

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The Appointed Day (or 50 going on 179) - August 2013

Thursday 1st August 1963 was the "Appointed Day". In 1908 the federal University of Durham was set up by an Act of Parliament when the existing colleges of the University of Durham were formed into two divisions - the colleges located in Durham became the Durham Division and the College of Medicine (founded in 1834) and Armstrong College (founded as the College of Physical Sciences in 1871) in Newcastle, the Newcastle Division. In 1937 Durham College of Medicine and Armstrong College were amalgamated to form King's College in the University of Durham. With two centres 15 miles (24 kilometres) apart there were several strains in the relationship between the two divisions over the years, and this led to several calls for the establishment of a University, or University College, in Newcastle, none of which came to fruition. However on 29th January 1960 the Academic Board of the Newcastle Division at an Extraordinary General Meeting passed the following motion: “That this Board is of the opinion that the healthy development of this Division of the University makes desirable the establishment of a University of Newcastle in place of King's College.”

First meeing of Newcastle University Senate, 1st August 1963
Surprisingly there was little real opposition, in either division, to the proposal and eventually a Bill was presented to Parliament which became the Universities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne Act 1963. As the “Appointed Day” dawned the newly created University of Newcastle upon Tyne came into existence. However as E.M. Bettenson remarks in The University of Newcastle upon Tyne: Historical Introduction:
1st August 1963, The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Alderman Harry Simm and The Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, Dr. C.I.C.Bosanquet holding the Lindisfarne silver salver presented to the University by the City
“Apart from changes in the notepaper headings and signs on the buildings it was difficult to tell that anything had happened… No member of staff found his conditions of service altered, no student whether graduate or undergraduate varied his studies, degree regulations and instructions to examiners remained the same.” The only events of note on this the “Appointed Day” were a visit to the new University by Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Alderman Harry Simm, accompanied by the Sheriff and the Town Clerk ; and the formal meetings of the Court, Council and Senate of the new University. During his visit the Lord Mayor presented the University with a “noble salver of Lindisfarne silver”.
Dr. C.I.C. Bosanquet, Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University (left) and Dr. D.G. Christopherson, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University with the gifts exchanged between the two Universities.
At the final meeting of the Court of the federal University of Durham on 29th July 1963 gifts were exchanged between the old and the new universities.