Liverpool Guild of Students
Liverpool Guild of Students (LGoS) is the students' union of the University of Liverpool (not to be confused with the Liverpool Students' Union which represents Liverpool John Moores University). Liverpool Guild of Students was the first student union in the UK, the first students' union to elect a Lady President in 1892 (36 years before women were able to vote) and in 1960, became the first students' union to elect a black President.
The Guild's mission is "Listen, Lobby, Lead" - which encompasses its devolved approach to representation. Unusually, the Guild elects a team of largely non-portfolio sabbaticals officers who steer the organisational priorities. The staff team manage and develop day to day and the long term aspects of the Guild in three directorates - Membership Services, Central Services and Social Enterprise.
The title also refers to the Guild of Students building, which is the centre point of activity in student life at the University and is run by the four sabbatical officers. It contains various bars and cafes as well as administrative offices, meeting rooms, training facilities and the Athletics Union. It also hosts live music, theatre and comedy in its four main venues - Mountford Hall, the Stanley Theatre, James E Brown Room and the Courtyard.
The building was built in three stages, evident from the difference in architecture. The original building, housing the Gilmour Hall (originally the debating chamber) was built in 1911. The middle section was built in the 1930s and the largest part, housing the Mountford Hall and the Courtyard was opened in 1966. Originally the Courtyard was open to the elements, before being covered in the 1990s.
The current Chief Executive of the Guild is Tricia O'Neill.
In 1889 the University College’s Senate agreed to the formation of a Students’ Union "for the provision of magazines and periodicals and the promotion of good fellowship among the students", and provided a Reading Room in the College’s principal building (a converted lunatic asylum) for students to use for the purpose. The ﬁrst seeds of The Guild were sown.
When the Victoria Building opened in 1892, the Students’ Union found a more comfortable home with a reading room and common room for male students on the ground ﬂoor and similar accommodation for women on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. Later that year, two Students’ Representative Councils (SRCs), one for men and one for women were formed, making Liverpool the ﬁrst English University to give its students the opportunity to inﬂuence the running of their institution.The two SRCs were replaced in 1904 by a Guild of Undergraduates featuring a President and Lady President as its ofﬁcers. Men and women students continued to be segregated, even when The Guild was ﬁnally given its own building in 1911. According to one personal account from the time: “Male students were not permitted to enter the women’s’ Union, women students were not allowed into the men’s Union except for Saturday dances in the library and by invitation for tea on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”Despite the original statutes of 1882 decreeing ‘no smoking in the precincts of the college’, one of the most popular social events for students in the 1880s was the regular ‘Smoker’ during which, according to the student magazine, The Sphinx, in 1893, “the Arts Theatre ﬁlled with harmony and smoke” with students enjoying a night of tobacco and music.
Physical segregation ﬁnally ended in 1935 when an extension was added to accommodate the increasing student numbers after the First World War which effectively removed the partitions. The Guild was extended again in 1965 making it the largest Students’ Union in Europe. The new extension introduced the Mountford Hall which seated 1,200 people and is still one of Liverpool’s major entertainment venues, now accommodating up to 2,500 people.
Another notable ﬁrst for the Guild was the election of George ET Brancker (known as Theo) in 1960, the ﬁrst black president of a students’ union in the UK. He graduated in Law and rose to become a highly respected Clerk of Parliament in Barbados, passing away in 2002. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Guild became more politicised, reﬂecting a widespread spirit of revolt among young people, particularly students, which resulted in some bitter and violent confrontations across the western world. This manifested itself in Liverpool in a series of protests, mostly harmless, against either internal matters (the lecture system, student representation, etc) or external issues such as apartheid, nuclear testing or US policy in Vietnam.Things became more serious in 1970 culminating with the resignation of The Guild Executive and the now infamous Senate House ‘sit-in’. Around 300 students occupied the building, preventing staff, including the Vice- Chancellor and the Registrar, from entering, and paralysing the administration of the University. The protesters had a number of grievances including alleged University participation in preparations for chemical and biological warfare, investment in South Africa and secret ﬁles on the political views of staff and students.The authorities reacted quickly but quietly, securing alternative accommodation for the displaced staff, and leaving the students to their protest without involving the police or law courts. Ten days after the occupation began; the University announced that ten of the ringleaders were to appear before the Board of Discipline. The following day the remaining 150 protesters marched out, ending the occupation. One of those disciplined was broadcaster Jon Snow who was suspended and never resumed his studies in Liverpool, but received an honorary degree with grace in 2011.
LSMedia, LSRadio and LSFilmmakers
LGoS used to publish the Liverpool Student newspaper, which was a joint publication with Liverpool Students' Union and Liverpool Hope Students' Union, until it closed down in May 2007 because of increasing costs and declining advertising revenues. Shortly after, in 2007 LGoS produced its own official publication, Sphinx magazine, referring to the original student publication of the Guild in the early 1900s. Sphinx itself folded by the start of September 2008 due to rising costs and a lack of advertising revenue.
Although not officially organised by LGoS, Sphinx magazine was replaced with the web based venture LSMedia (Liverpool Student Media) The site launched on October 23, 2008. In 2011, under editor Matt Healy, LSMedia was shortlisted for a Guardian Student Media award under the category "Website of the Year". Following on from this success the LSMedia site underwent a layout change, under new editor Dani Telford. The site also was listed on popular news search engine Google News.
The Guild is also home to a student run, internet radio station, LSRadio. Founded in 1961 as radio enthusiast group, Liverpool Amateur Radio Society, the station has gone under many different names including XSLive in the 90s, ICON Radio between 2002 and 2011, before rebranding as LSRadio in 2011. Notable LSRadio alumni include BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw and Tulip Mazumdar. LSRadio is a member of the Student Radio Association.
The third Guild media society is LSFilmmakers (often abbreviated as LSFilm). They work with the Guild, LSMedia and LSRadio to produce student relevant content on YouTube and Vimeo, as well as live streaming through sites such as UStream.
Guild Live was the name of the entertainments provision at the Guild up until 2008. The Mountford Hall is the largest hall, accommodating around 2,500 people. There is also the Stanley Theatre, commonly used for gigs and theatre performances, the James E. Brown room and the Courtyard which are also used for various events.
LGoS now works in collaboration with the Academy Music Group regularly hosting gigs and concerts on their behalf in Mountford Hall and the Stanley Theatre. Recent appearances include Dizzy Rascal, Elbow, the Manic Street Preachers, Noah & the Whale, Calvin Harris, Example and Skrillex.