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In 2014, the Library ran a pilot project to digitise copies of The Student newspaper from the academic year 1984 / 1985. The papers were released in real-time, exactly 30 years after they were first published, and provided an interesting insight into life as a student in Edinburgh in the mid 1980s. Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Alumni Innovation Initiative, the Library is able to continue the project, and has recruited a student intern to work part-time on it for six months. We will start where we left off, in the summer of 1985, and aim to upload issues on a weekly basis, starting with October 1985.

As before, we’d be really keen to hear from you about your experiences of living in Edinburgh and studying or working at the University in the 1980s. We’ll be posting on the Centre for Research Collections’ Facebook page and tweeting from its Twitter account using the hashtag #studentarchive. Please join in!

For further information, or to be added to the project’s mailing list, please email Gavin Willshaw, Digital Curator at the University Library.

24 Comments to About

  1. Hi Great to see this (I’m on the cover!). In fact, I have just retrieved my copies from that era from my parents’ attic after three decades. And what a star-studded staff list eg (screenwriter) John Hodge, (Daily Mail senior exec) Ian McGregor etc.
    Just one point – it was called Student back then, not The Student.
    regards, Alastair

  2. Thanks for getting in touch, Alastair. Who else is on the front cover with you? Thanks for the tip regarding the name!

  3. Hi Gavin –

    An excellent project! Like Alastair Dalton, I wrote for that 03.10.84 issue (and many of the 84/85 and 85/86 issues). I had, perhaps understandably, completely forgotten about my attempt to be entertaining about The King’s Buildings. What I’m surprised about is that it isn’t as bad as I might have imagined from here in 2014. I think it was me that hand-lettered the speech bubbles on the photograph that accompanied the article, which would explain their sketchiness. I look forward to seeing the run as it is posted …!


    – Mark P

    • Hi Mark. Thanks for getting in touch about the project. I thought the description of KB as a ‘distant and exotic land to the south’ was very amusing!

      Look out for the next edition – released this Friday

  4. I was the editor of that issue and the ones that immediately followed. When I look at the images, I can almost smell the glue that we used to put the paper together. Alastair is joined on the cover by Jane McNeil, Katrina Philip and Iain McGregor – now the editor of the Sunday Telegraph. This is great fun. Looking forward to reading and cringing through the remaining issues this semester.

  5. Hi, I was one of the editors of the paper that year – when we won an award, believe it or not! Hope you don’t mind, but some of us who were there back then have taken the opportunity to use your online publication as a catalyst for re-connecting with each other, via a Facebook page linked to your site, under the title Student84. Anyone who was associated with the paper as a writer/photographer/cartoonist/contributor/victim is welcome to reminisce with us there!

    • Thanks for this Melissa, and for linking to the blog on your post. The Student archive is an absolute treasure trove!

  6. This is a great idea! I used to love buying the paper when I was a student (graduated in 2000) – it’s beginning to feel like an eternity ago. Happy days, happy memories!

    • Glad you like the project, Catherine! Latest edition online now. I hadn’t realised that they charged for the paper as recently as the late 1990s – how much did it cost? It’s all free now.

  7. Fun to see this archive… how about digging a bit further back into the past? I’d love to see my Student (of the early 80s) but more interesting still would be the Gordon Brown news-edited editions of the 70s! Well done.

    • Hi Nigel. This is only a pilot project but we’d love to delve further back into the past if there’s enough demand! In the meaintime, if you are interested in seeing the physical items, please get in touch with the Centre for Research Collections (

      Best wishes

  8. Hi folks. I happened to notice that the edition published online last Friday (16 Jan) actually shows the date on the front cover as 24/1/85, rather than 17/1/85. No big deal, obviously – just thought you might want to know.

  9. I was a student from 1982-6 and am absolutely addicted to these back issues. Please do consider going on through 1986 issues and back to the past also. The pre-digital age is so inaccessible these days and this is just an invigorating breath of fresh air. Plus – it makes me decades younger once more! Thank you for bringing this all back to us.

    • Thank you for your comments Caroline! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading the back issues and will definitely take your views into account – I hope to have news in the next month or so about how we take the project forward.

  10. It has been hugely enjoyable to watch the year unfold through the pages of Student, thank you! It looks as though you are not publishing the EUSA Election pull-out section. That’s a shame. Some of the politicos have gone on to play on the UK national stage, and I wanted to cringe at the addresses made by myself and friends as we fought for votes on polling day! Thirty years have flown by…

    • Hello Don – thanks for your feedback about the project! We have the EUSA pull-out but have had a few complications with the scanning process for it – we hope to have it up in the next couple of weeks and I’ll let you know.

  11. What a great project and a lovely step back in time. I was just reminiscing with an old EU pal this summer about our time at Student. If you happen to get as far as 1987/88 and 1988/89 (when I was editor) you will see some more familiar names among the bylines: Andrew Sparrow (The Guardian), Emma Simpson (BBC), Tom Bradby (ITN), Craig McLean (freelance), Graeme Wilson (Downing Street press office). And me 🙂 Apparently Student was a pretty good training ground. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Gillian – thanks for getting in touch! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading the back copies of Student – we are hoping to be able to develop the project further and will let you know when I have some news!

      Best wishes


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