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The Spike [or Victoria University College Review 1961]



The history of our Student Union building from its initial conception to its final completion is largely a story of student foresight and endeavour. As early as 1929 the Students' Association formed a building committee and advised the University Council of £670 in hand towards a Union Building Fund. Even then the 'old gym', which continued to house the Association activities until 1958, was entirely inadequate to cater for the social and general College activities.

Over the next ten years Association building committees worked with continuing enthusiasm. Fund raising went on, until in 1937 over £1,600 was in hand, with an estimated target of £40,000. The committees made numerous requests and suggestions to Council in connection with fund raising and planning — an art union, a deputation to the Minister of Education, an approach to Government for a subsidy, and draft plans for a three-storey building. It appears that the Council was unable to act on these at this stage.

In 1946 the Minister of Education was able to advise the Association of a £2 for £1 subsidy up to £40,000. As we had over £9,000 in hand, this grant proved the turning point of progress, and detailed planning went ahead.

The next twelve years, until 1958, when construction commenced, saw a vigorous planning stage. An appeal now known as the Dixon Appeal (after the late George page 7 Dixon) was launched, sketch plans and possible sites were exhaustively considered, and finally further Government subsidy money was promised. This grant was realized largely by the student initiative in levying all students £1 per head per annum, and by the progress made in fund raising. By then the total cost of the completed project had risen to £282,000, and of this the students of the past thirty years have provided over £100,000.