Studio 2: The Bristol Sit-in: Student protest and occupation in 1968

Event Details
Date: , 2018
Time: to
With: Sue Tate, Kevin Whitston
Series: Bristol Radical History Festival 2018
Page Details
Section: Events
Subjects: Uncategorized
Posted: Modified:

In the winter of 1968 Bristol students occupied Senate House for 10 days. Their demands included greater representation for student reps on University bodies and ‘reciprocal membership’ for all students in the city which would allow access, even for lowly polytechnic students, to the wonderful facilities of the newly opened University Students Union Building.

Two participants in the sit-in, Sue Tate and Kevin Whitston, will start this session with brief presentations before opening it out to questions and discussion. Sue will talk about the events and politics of the sit ins, the role of women (pre-the watershed moment of 70/71) and how participation and organisation worked. Kevin will reflect on his own journey through 1968 via student politics, including the sit-in, and what similar experiences might have meant for the evolution of the left.


University building with student occupation banners
Occupation of the University of Bristol’s Senate House in March 2018

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1 Comment

  1. I was involved in the occupations of the Senate and SU and the Free University during the latter.
    Am I imagining this or was there during the SU occupation a Molotov cocktail thrown at the SU building by some part of the far right in Bristol?
    My recollection was that as there was little industrial activity to relate (unlike students and workers in France) internal demands were developed. Ian McIntyre tells some interesting stories about the reasons WHY the police did not evict the Senate occupation (Apparently the Uni had refused police cadets access to the SU?) and the lack of public support for the student actions from Tony Benn (ever worried about revolutions…)

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