As we come to the end of Freshers’ Week 2013, Archive Services has been reflecting on what the freshers of yesteryear experienced as they started at the University of Glasgow.
For a large part of the twentieth century freshers, or ‘freshmen’ as they were sometimes called, were sent away from Glasgow to the banks of Loch Lomond. The idea was to provide activities to get to know one another as well as giving them various talks to introduce them to student life. The archive holds some of the programmes which give an indication of the kind of activities were on offer. The 1968 programme of events (reference: DC157/6/5/1) reveals a positively military approach to proceedings with reveille at 07.15 sharp and a morning of “duties” and prayers.
Not to say that the freshers weren’t allowed to enjoy themselves; the programme also shows that several student societies put on concerts and there were also dances and barbeques. Indeed, the Glasgow University Guardian reveals that in some people’s eyes there was too much fun. In 1960 there were rumours that the camps were nothing more than “a necking and drinking orgy” (http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/archives/guardian/fullsize/?page_id=501). The Guardian was quick to dispel these rumours despite the “certain amount of pairing off” it describes.
In some ways the camps were similar to the freshers weeks we have all experienced. Societies anxiously tried to entice freshers, new students raced to get to know one another and there was a variety of talks to familiarise the new students with university life. However today these camps seem like quite an odd idea, taking students away from the very place they were attempting to introduce the students to!
If you want to see more about the freshers’ camps on Flickr we have some photos from the camps of 1949 and 1950, taken from the papers of former student, Donald Macmillan (DC382/5/1/4) which you can view here.
Categories: Archive Services