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Less Cambridge, More York. ‘Leavis at York’ University of York 16 th October 2010 Steven Cranfield London South Bank University. Langwith College late 1960s. Langwith College late 1960s.

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less cambridge more york

Less Cambridge, More York

‘Leavis at York’University of York16th October 2010

Steven CranfieldLondon South Bank University


Here, bearing the name of the historic city, ancient second capital of England, is the convincing evidence of modern skill, modern and humane architectural intelligence, and modern resources, seeming, on its beautifully landscaped site, to grow in its modernity out of the old Hall, the old lakeside lawns and gardens of the old timbered grounds. It is easy to see that the architects have been guided by an idea that kept them in living touch with true and highly conscious academic foresight, and that the idea of the university as I have been insisting on it isn’t merely mine.

NSMS (1972), p.193



‘... it should be collegiate in character, it should deliberately aim to limit the range of subjects, and that much of the teaching should be by tutorials and seminars’

Lord James of Rusholme (1963)


I had thought when we were designing the development plan for York that we were breaking new ground. I hadn’t realised that we were (or at any rate I was) unconsciously reflecting not only the growing concern in the States to make student well-being the central focus of university education, but also the precedent of the liberal arts college in breaking down boundaries between subjects and insisting on student residence as an essential prerequisite of university life.

Derbyshire (2001)