The first object in this series is the Royal Charter of the University of Bradford. The Charter was signed in October 1966, transforming the Bradford Institute of Technology into the University of Bradford.
The Charter brought the parent organisation of Special Collections into being. For that reason alone, it is one of our most important documents. However, it is the first of the 100 for another reason.
Clause no. 2 of the Charter, the “objects clause”, contains standard wording for University charters: “The object of the University shall be the advancement of learning and knowledge”. Ted Edwards, Principal of the BIT and then the first Vice Chancellor of the University, decided that this was not enough. He added an extra clause, “and the application of knowledge to human welfare”.
Ted Edwards believed that the University could help solve the problems facing society: “the Bomb and the hungry world”. The clause made this commitment part of the core mission of the University. Thanks to this commitment, the original scientific and technological studies of the Institute were supplemented by innovative departments dealing with these problems: The School of Peace Studies, and the Project Planning Centre for Development Studies. Both continue to thrive. The University still works to apply knowledge to problems, as proclaimed in the strapline to the corporate identity: “Making knowledge work”. The Ecoversity project takes Dr Edwards’ concerns into the 21st century in tackling the new threat of climate change.
Ted Edwards also created the University’s distinctive arts commitment, and championed students. You can find out more about him and the University’s long history (traceable back to 1832 and embedded in Bradford’s industrial past) on the relevant Archive webpages.
The Charter and Grant of Arms are now (October 2011) back in their usual home in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, after spending some time in the J.B. Priestley Library for safekeeping during building work.