Our history: the 1970s

The 1970s was the decade in which college social life began to blossom.

Central Hall was the venue for the Who, The Kinks, Fairport Convention, John Martyn, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Hot Chocolate, Humphrey Littleton, Acker Bilk, Paul Tortelier, Julian Bream, John Williams and others.

Paul McCartney and Linda appeared one day out of the blue with their new band "Wings" and performed a concert in Goodricke College Dining Room.

Races, Roses and Rosencrantz

Clubs and societies thrived, including the Winnie the Pooh Society, and the "Turf Club" which met regularly to go to the races. And despite the fact that sports facilities consisted of just two playing fields, two squash courts and the sports hall, the annual "Roses" event with Lancaster attracted hundreds of spectators. 

Up to 600 students competed at the inter-college sports day. The Drama society was prolific and at a festival in June 1972 produced six plays in one month: Much Ado About Nothing; Shakespeare's Farewell; The Bacchae, Uncle Vanya, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern and Private Lives.

In 1973 the University provided a computerisation results service for the RAC Rally. It placed a fast printing terminal and a VDU in the Rally Headquarters at the Royal Station Hotel. Results were sent to the Rally HQ via PO lines and then to the Rally control points to give both competitors and spectators the latest news of the event.

Photos from the 1970s

Oral history: York’s first full-time Student Union president

John Randall went on to be president of the NUS. "York taught me to think on my feet and express an argument," he says, "and also gave me a life-long love of classical music."

Listen to the full interview



Lord James

1960 - 1973
Lord James

Dr Morris Carstairs

1973 - 1978
Dr Morris Carstairs

Professor Berrick Saul

1979 - 1993
Professor Berrick Saul


Sir Kenneth Clark

1967 - 1978
Sir Kenneth Clark

Lord Swann

1979 - 1990
Lord Swann

Students' Union Presidents

1969/70 John Randall
Nigel Strange
1971/72 Kevin Heymann
1972/73 Steve Sheppard
1973 /74 Mike Mosley
1974/75 Paul Hodges
1975/76 John Roberts
1976/77 Richard Burden
1977/78 Phil Harris
1978/79 Andy Lovelady
1979/80 Mike Barnes