Talk:Red brick university

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Is Heriot-Watt in Scotland a red brick university or not? MacRusgail 23:00, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

No, Heriot-Watt is a Glass plate university (I think), as it gained university status in 1966. And it is mostly 70s architecture, with not much in the way of the victorian "Red brick". Vclaw 22:55, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

First Red Brick University[edit]

There seems to be a bit of a dispute within Wikipedia pages as to which city had the first Red Brick university. The Birmingham page states that "The city built its own university in 1900, The University of Birmingham, which became the first of Britain's Redbrick universities." (does this mean first in time or first in excellence? and where does this idea come from if the second is the case?). But on this page it is stated that "The civic university movement started in 1851 with Owens College, Manchester (now the University of Manchester), which became the founding college of the federal Victoria University in 1880 and attained university status when the federal university was dissolved in 1903." Does this mean that the college alone is given the status of first Red Brick University despite only being a small section of what is now Manchester University? Whatever happens there is a need for clarification of exactly what is meant by both statements. Ammi 13:36, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


"The term 'red brick' was coined by a professor of music at the University of Liverpool to describe these civic universities" - do we know who or when? The OED gives the term as coined by "Bruce Truscott" in a 1943 book, though that was a pseudonym - this page says Truscott was the Professor of Hispanic Studies at Liverpool. Hmm hmm hmm. Any ideas? Shimgray | talk | 17:40, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Also, is there a specific term other than "redbrick" for the architectural style which is being referenced? Shimgray | talk | 18:02, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Proto-red brick[edit]

Of these, only UCL and Southampton were founded on principles similar to those of the civic universities and for this reason they may be considered proto-red brick. The other two did not, until much later in their existence, grant the freedom of education to the poor and non-Anglican that was the basis of the movement.

"Proto-red brick" would mean the first or earliest, or a predecessor. This would only apply to UCL (founded 1826), which pre-dates the red-bricks by half a century. The paragraph which preceded this mentions UCL, Exeter, Newcastle, Leicester, Southampton, Dundee and Wales. This sentence then says UCL and Southampton were founded on the same lines as the proper red-bricks and "the other two" were not (Leicester certainly was, its early history is very similar to Southampton's and it had an early emphasis on providing an education for returned servicemen after the first world war). --ajn (talk) 23:57, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Hull University[edit]

Hull University is a Red Brick university having degree style similar to the Universities of Leicester and Southampton.

The University of Hull developed from University College Hull, which was opened in 1928. The university received its Royal Charter in 1954; i.e. before the Robbins Report.

Hull had a very large role to play in in World War II too. Being a port, and also the plane designed by Robert Blackburn which played a significant role in air force of UK.

Its architecture for old buildings is in victorian style, however its new buildings are in glass-plate form. (Unsigned)

So in other words, Hull is not a Red Brick university by any definition! Sorry. --Tomsega (talk) 23:42, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Reading the only one in the inter-war years[edit]

The University of Reading, founded in the late 19th century as an extension college of Oxford, was the UK's only academic establishment to be granted university status during the inter-war period,

This was removed because of Queen Mary College's 1934 charter - however QMC has never had university status. And QMC dates back from 1885. Timrollpickering 23:56, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Misleading statement on Reading University[edit]

The article contains the following statement:

The University of Reading, founded in the late 19th century as an extension college of Oxford, received its charter in 1926. Despite being the first university to be based on a self-contained campus, Reading is often classed as one of the civic universities and is therefore "Red Brick", ...

This may well be true, but it is somewhat misleading in the context of this article. The original London Road site of the university hardly qualifies as a 'self-contained campus', and is much more akin to the sort of 'edge of the city centre' sites of the other red brick 'civic' universities quoted. I suspect that the author of the above statement is actually referring to the much larger, 'edge of town', Whiteknights campus. This does qualify as a self-contained campus but wasn't acquired by the University until 1947. -- Chris j wood 13:38, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Russell Group[edit]

Is this a prerequisite in the term's use? I'm sure I remember Queen's being called a Red Brick before it joined the RG and Exeter, Hull, Leicester, Reading, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Swansea and Lampeter all aren't in the RG. Timrollpickering 22:36, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

6 civic unis[edit]

Everyone knows the term applies to the six 'civic' unis which are listed at the start of the article but can anyone actually find a citation? I can't seem to find one using google... 19:27, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Rather than adding one particular citation I've added a ref to a webpage for EACH of the six in which they refer to themselves as 'redbrick'. Perhaps there are other universities that have casually described themselves as redbrick.. in which case we must distinguish between institutions that are 'Red Brick' (or 'redbrick') and those that are only 'red in brick'!

-- Tomsega 23:49, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

I had this page moved from Red Brick universities because the capitalisation was unnecessary. In retrospect, I wonder if it would have been better to move it to Red brick university per the singular nouns naming convention. Note that Plate glass university is singular. Any thoughts? Cordless Larry (talk) 22:28, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea. — mholland (talk) 10:47, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Singular seems to read better. Shimgray | talk | 18:02, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
As no objections, done. Shimgray | talk | 12:09, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure about this. As there is clearly some confusion between 'the' Redbrick universities and universities that happen to have 'bricks that are red', as it were, I think it's appropriate to suggest either 'redbrick' (one word) or 'Red Brick' (capitals) should designate the prior. Perhaps as a compromise the page should be changed to 'Redbrick'?--Tomsega (talk) 01:48, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Recent edits/vandalism[edit]

Somebody recently changed the opening sentence to say there are "seven" redbrick universities and then accordingly added Reading to the list. Please don't edit wikipedia on what you would like to see stated. If Reading is a redbrick uni, about 10 others are as well. It didn't gain university status before WWI and is simply not. Thank you. --Tomsega (talk) 14:05, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

This has recently happened again ( (talk) 21:37, 25 August 2010 (UTC))

six? what?[edit]

What's with this talk of there being only that many red bricks? This doesnt gel with anything I've heard. Red brick usually includes a lot more than that, e.g. Newcastle, Essex, etc.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:10, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Six? "civic universities"?[edit]

I haven't read the 1943 work that coined the phrase, but I assume it specifically restricts the term "red brick university" to the six listed institutions. There are two points that need clarification:

  • The term "civic university" is used but not defined in the article. Indeed, there is no civic university article in Wikipedia.
  • Do later writers keep the same definition as Peers or not?

Just because the 1943 definition restricted the term to six specific institutions, that does not oblige all subsequent English speakers to keep the same definition; see semantic change and etymological fallacy. If many speakers use the term differently from Edgar Allison Peers, Wikipedia must not privilege Peers simply by virtue of his priority. If "civic university" has a certain meaning, it may apply to institutions beyond Peers' Original Six; if "red brick university" is used synonymously with "civic university", likewise.

I take issue with this statement by @Tomsega: above:

Rather than adding one particular citation I've added a ref to a webpage for EACH of the six in which they refer to themselves as 'redbrick'. Perhaps there are other universities that have casually described themselves as redbrick.. in which case we must distinguish between institutions that are 'Red Brick' (or 'redbrick') and those that are only 'red in brick'!

This seems to violate WP:SYN. It seems a circular argument to say that Peers' Original Six's websites "refer to themselves" (authoritatively enough for WP:VER) as 'redbrick', whereas other institutions only "casually describe themselves" as such. Who decides whether the website is being casual or not? jnestorius(talk) 12:44, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

I would recommend adding in a re-direct for this page for 'Civic university', especially as there is already a dedicated section in this article on that. I agree that the term needs to be slightly better explained in the text. It is pretty straight forward. I found this reference in Access and Equity: Comparative Perspectives by Heather Eggins (Ed.) (
The civic universities were distinguished by being non-collegiate institutions that admitted men without reference to religion and concentrated on imparting to their students ‘real-world’ skills, often linked to engineering. They owed their heritage mainly to University College of London University. The focus on technological subjects distinguished these universities from Oxford and Cambridge and from the newer University of Durham (which was established in 1832) that were collegiate institutions which concentrated on the liberal arts and imposed religious tests on staff and students.
This can be incorporated into the text quite easily.
Finally, as the book that coined the term is based on civic universities you can't expand it beyond that definition really. Obviously there are lots of universities (and editors) who would like to be in that bracket despite the fact that they are formed in entirely different ways and all after the civic movement had ended as such. Mountaincirque 14:40, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
It is quite plausible that "redbrick" was originally synonymous with "civic university" but no longer is. The idea that you can't expand it beyond the book that coined it is the epitome of etymological fallacy. The definitions in the free online dictionaries of Collins and Oxford are not so precise as Wikipedia. I imagine the OED definition is more comprehensive than the free dictionaries; if you have access to it it would be worth quoting. And "there are lots of universities who would like to be in that bracket" is a statement worth including if you have a reliable source for it :) jnestorius(talk) 21:27, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
Point taken, thanks. It might need a tweak to show that the term is more broadly used now. Here is the OED defnition:
redbrick university n. Brit. (orig. somewhat depreciative) (originally) a British university founded in the late 19th or early 20th cent. in a major provincial city, typically having buildings of red brick (as opposed to stone); (later also) any recently founded or created university; freq., esp. in early use, in contrast with Oxbridge.
The term was coined by E. Allison Peers, Professor of Spanish at the University of Liverpool, writing under the pseudonym ‘Bruce Truscot’; in the work cited in quot. 1943, he compares two fictional universities called Redbrick and Oxbridge. Mountaincirque 16:45, 27 May 2014 (UTC)