Today, the 25th February, is a very special day. It is the day we turn 80. So, to help celebrate this occasion, let us take you back to the 25th February 1936, to the very first article of the very first issue of Wessex News. Since this day 80 years ago, we have charted the history of the University of Southampton – both in its development and the students that inhabit it – as well as the history of the world from the unique viewpoint of the nation. So, here it is; from 1936, our first ever article.
Vox Principis, 25/02/1936
I have very willingly responded to the request of the President of the Students’ Union to write a few words for the first number of the ‘Wessex News’, the more so as I should like to take this opportunity of congratulating the Students’ Council, and the whole student body on the courage and enterprise which has induced them to launch this venture. I am quite certain that, if this publication is carried out on the lines which have been outlined to me, it will be of great advantage to the whole College. Very often it had been borne in upon me how difficult it is for various members of the College to know what is going on in departments of activity with which they are not intimately associated, and, indeed, I think very few have any appreciation of the large amount of valuable and interesting work that is done on behalf of the College as a whole, and the student body in particular, and of the extent and range of these activities which have all played their part in building up a sound esprit de corps, and a real basis for university life. I hope very much that from week to week “Wessex News” will be read by all those who are taking part in the activities of the College, and, further, as time goes one, by those who are interested in the College, but not closely associated with its work; it should bring home to them how many and various are the aspects of its life.
From the more practical point of view, I am certain that the publication of facts with regard to what is taking place, and, perhaps more particularly, to what is going to take place, will do much towards easing the organisation work of those who are responsible for various College activities, Very often difficulties have arisen owing to the fact that separate activities have been organised on parallel lines, and have resulted in difficulties because neither side knew what the other was doing. I am sure that the pooling of information will do much to simplify and to improve our corporate life.
I hope very much that all connected with the College, staff and students alike, will make it a point of honour not only to buy, but to read the ‘Wessex News’, because I conceive that in a very short time it will be possible to get a picture of the various activities of the College far more clearly than is possible at the present time. From time to time I have been greatly struck by the fact that projects and developments which have been in the air for some considerable time, and which have even reached concrete from, are quite unknown to people whom one would expect to be most likely to have been brought into contact with them. How much more is this true of the large majority of the members of the College who are not likely to have been even in distant contact with those who are planning these matters. I feel that, if this publication is a success, it will be a great instrument into welding the idea, the projects and the ambitions of each individual member of the college into one corporate plan.
I have only written in generalities as this does no seem to be the occasion to talk of any particular interest, but I can assure the Students’ Council that I shall be always very ready to help in the provision of material for news, and in any other encouragement that I can give to this venture, and to assure it that, so far as it is possible, all those connected with the College and its administration will do their best to help.