1984 – The Student’s perspective

Posted on October 3, 2014 | in Featured, Research & Learning Services | by


Which iconic university building was described by a young student journalist in 1984 as a place “where students go to recover from hangovers”? What did students of the 1980s do when they got hold of their first grant cheque? Which Edinburgh venue hosted gigs by bands as diverse as Kiss, Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen and Big Country?

The Library bookworms rest 535x267

The answers, and much more, are revealed today as part of a new pilot project to digitise microfilmed copies of The Student newspaper from the academic year 1984/85. Copies will be made available in real time at https://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/thestudent, starting with the 3 October 1984 edition, which is released today, exactly thirty years after it was first published. The papers will then become available on our site on a weekly basis, with the next one due on Friday 10 October.

The papers offer a fascinating insight into what life was like at the University during the 1980s. While the pages are dominated by discussions of the key issues of the day, such as the Miners’ Strike, ‘The Troubles’ in Ireland and the privatisation of state assets, there is still room for topics more directly relevant to students at the University during this period.

The first issue is a Fresher’s Week special which offers students a light-hearted introduction to the various buildings on campus including King’s Buildings (a “distant, exotic, [and] mysterious … land to the south”) and Pollock Halls (“a pretty ordinary sort of place”).

There is also a comprehensive review and listing of the best places for students to eat, drink and let their hair down, both on and off campus. An outline of the capital’s drinking establishments warns unwitting Freshers that they might have to pay as much as 70p for a pint in some of the city’s more expensive locations while the section on nightclubs recommends old favourites Cinderella Rockerfellas, the Hoochie Coochie club and Coasters Roller Disco.

If you were a student in the 1980s, we would love to hear from you about your experiences. You can comment on individual articles on the website https://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/thestudent or continue the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #thestudent84.

Please contact Gavin Willshaw, Digital Curator, at gavin.willshaw@ed.ac.uk for more information or to be added to the project mailing list.

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