Free Hetherington Collection

Free Hetherington Finding Aid

Reference Code

GB243 T/SOR/2


Free Hetherington

Dates of Creation




Name of Creators

Free Hetherington

Level of Description


Administrative History

The Free Hetherington began on the 1st of February 2011 when 13 University Gardens, University of Glasgow, previously the Hetherington Research Club, was occupied by students. The occupation quickly established itself as a hub for the university’s anti-cuts movement. It was widely used by a range of political groups and campaigns for meetings and social and educational events. Prior to its occupation, 13 University Gardens had been lying vacant since February 2010 when the research club had been forced to close through financial difficulties and the withdrawal of support from the university. On the 22nd of March 2011 the occupiers were asked to leave by the University. They refused and when a large crowd of supporters gathered outside the building Strathclyde Police forcibly evicted the protesters. The protesters and their supporters then moved directly to the university’s senate offices. In return for vacating the senate offices the students were allowed to return to the Hetherington and continue their occupation. Over the course of the occupation the Free Hetherington played host to many notable figures including Billy Bragg, Ken Loach, Liz Lochead, Tom Leonard, Mark Steel and David Rovics. After negotiations with university management the occupiers agreed to leave the Hetherington on the condition of the following commitments: 1. No more course cuts; 2. No compulsory redundancies; 3. A new postgraduate club, to be opened in the next year; 4. No cuts for student services, a guarantee of transparency with the SRC (Student Representative Council); 5. A public meeting with the principal Anton Muscatelli, where students and staff may address their worries; 6. No repercussions from the University for staff or students involved in the occupation; 7. An assurance that no information will be volunteered to the police about people involved. The occupation ended on the 31st of August 2011 and is believed to have been the longest running UK university occupation in history.

The Free Hetherington Collection contains a wide range of materials including: limited accounts and evidence of correspondence with the university; an array of campaign literature and posters; postcards and letters from around the world expressing solidarity with the occupation; a small collection of photographs from the occupation and related events; news cuttings relating to the Free Hetherington and the student protest movement; leaflets and posters advertising events in the Free Hetherington; and a collection of items created by those involved in the occupation including signs indicating occupation rules, wall charts with ideas for actions, rotas and information about the occupation and other ephemeral products of the occupation collected before the occupiers left the Free Hetherington.

Scope and Content

Administrative papers; Correspondence; Photographs; Ephemera; Leaflets and posters; Campaign materials; News cuttings; Digital media; Banners and placards

System of Arrangement

Items have been arranged according to record type.

Custodial History

Free Hetherington. The material was hurriedly removed the day the occupation ended before being held by one of the occupiers, Jonathan Anderson.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Jonathan Anderson.

Appraisal, Destruction, Scheduling

Appraised according to the Spirit of Revolt appraisal policy.


No further accruals expected.

Access Conditions


Copyright Reproduction

Application for reproduction should be made to the Spirit of Revolt group.

Existence of Copies

No known copies.

Finding Aids

Descriptive list available at Glasgow City Archives and on the Spirit of Revolt website.

Publication Note

No known publications.

Related collections

Other Spirit of Revolt (Ref: T/SOR) collections held at Glasgow City Archives.

Date(s) of Description

Compiled by Christopher Cassells (Project Archivist) October 2012.

1 Administrative papers 1997-2011
1 Glasgow University Hetherington Research Club Constitution READ ON LINE n.d.
2 The Free Hetherington Proposed Communications Strategy. Annotated. READ ON LINE. 2011/02/14
3 Accounts for Hetherington Research Students Club. READ ON LINE. 1997-1999
4 Format for a meeting between the Free Hetherington and members of the management of the University of Glasgow. READ ON LINE. 2011
5 Hetherington Inquiry into the events of the 22nd of March, 2011.  READ ON LINE. 2011
6 Proposed agenda for May/June event planning. READ ON LINE. 2011/04/20
7 Petition against the cuts to Slavonic languages. READ ON LINE. n.d.
8 Statement from staff on Adult Education. READ ON LINE. 2011
2 Correspondence 2011
This series consists of postcards and letters sent to the Free Hetherington from people around the world expressing solidarity with the occupation. It includes postcards from Sweden, France, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, Spain, USA, Greece and Taiwan.  READ ON LINE.
3 Photographs 2011
This series includes four photographs taken inside the Hetherington building, including one of Alasdair Gray, four photographs taken on the 15th of February 2011 Glasgow students and staff protest march, and a small number of photographs from other protests.
4 Ephemera 2011
This series consists of material which was either displayed on the walls of the Free Hetherington or was produced during the course of meetings or activities in the Free Hetherington. All of the material was produced by people involved in the occupation. Despite being ephemeral this series provides a valuable account of the activities of participants in the occupation, of its rules and regulations, and its general spirit and atmosphere.  READ ON LINE.
5 Leaflets and posters 2011
This series contains leaflets, posters, pamphlets, journals and other literature that was held in the Free Hetherington. While the material in this series was not created by the Free Hetherington and does not relate directly to the Free Hetherington it does provide an account of the political interests and activities of those involved in the occupation and the range of political views represented in the occupation. The material ranges from trade union leaflets, political literature from the Labour Party, Socialist Workers Party, Scottish Socialist Party, Anarchist Federation and others, campaign material from various campaigns including anti-cuts, animal rights, Palestinian solidarity, anti-nuclear and others, and magazines and journals published by various left groups.
6 Campaign materials 2011
Leaflets and posters relating directly to the Free Hetherington occupation, the student movement at Glasgow University or events held at the Free Hetherington.
7 News cuttings 2011
News cuttings of stories relating to the Free Hetherington, higher education cuts or related news. Includes cuttings from The Herald, The Guardian, Socialist Worker, Paisley Daily Express, Glasgow Guardian, Freedom, Morning Star, The Scotsman and Evening Times.
8 Digital media
1 Undercurrents: the alternative news video. (DVD) n.d.
2 Recovery Networks (DVD) n.d.
3 Glasgow Social Centre: The Story So Far (DVD) n.d.
9 Placards and banners c. 2011
Collection of placards and banners created by participants in student protests and occupation of the Free Hetherington Club, at Glasgow University. Read on line,   PDF and other downloads.