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Queen Margaret Union


Queen Margaret Union

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The Queen Margaret Union was founded in 1890 by students of the Queen Margaret College in the West End of Glasgow to provide an outlet for their social and cultural needs.

The QM Union originated in the basement rooms of the College until 1906, when the expansion of the College meant that the space was needed for teaching. A bazaar was held by the Board of Management (comprising elected students) to raise money to erect and furnish a Union Building to house the Union. The bazaar was held over four days and featured a number of stalls selling many different items from clothes to pieces of furniture. Although the funds were raised, a building was never created for the Union to occupy.

The QMs former home at 1 University Gardens
After a few years of trying to decide how best to spend the money, a house at 31 Buckingham Terrace was rented. In 1912, the College Club at the University of Glasgow went into liquidation and the QM Union took over the premises at 67 Ann Street (now Southpark Terrance) until 1922 when it moved across the road from the Glasgow University Union (GUU, which only admitted men) in the John McIntyre Building, to be based at 1 University Gardens (left, now part of the Department of History). During this period, the QM Union mostly provided space for its members to study, discuss, debate and eat.

In 1932, as the Mens Union grew in size and had a building built at the bottom of Gilmorehill, its previous home in the John McIntyre Building was given to the QM Union. At this time in its history the QM Union was beginning to explore, rather successfully, in the world of University Debating. Men and other delegates were allowed to attend but only as "distinguished strangers", who sat in a separate gallery. Other facilities included a library, dining room, study space, and cubicles so that members who lived at home outwith the city centre could stay over after public transport had ended.
The building quickly became inadequate to provide for the University of Glasgow’s growing female population. In 1968, a building at 22 University Gardens was built to accommodate the then so-called, "Q-Emma’s".

The women of the QMU were often strongly involved in the debating circuit and especially in Rectorial elections and campaigns at the University.

However for some years many students had questioned the division of the sexes at Glasgow, this became more marked with the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The two unions had an agreement allowing reciprocal use of much of each others facilities, but some saw the arrangement as unbalanced. The QM Union allowed men to use the bulk of its facilities with a few restrictions, but the GUU confined women to the extension, excluding them from the older half of the building. The Mixing Debate gained momentum in the mid-1970s, but neither Union seemed willing to change its stance. As the decade came to a close, several males had requested to join the QMU; it held a general meeting in 1979 and changed its constitution to allow men to become members. The GUU followed two years later.

A serious fire in 1982 shut the building for several months and sparked nearly a decade of financial problems for the Union. However, between 1989 and 1992, effective management and prudent financial control saw the Union become financially solvent once again. Brought about by the Presidents, Board of Management and General Manager of that time.



IMPORTANT : if venue information has been changed/needs updated then please contact craig@glasgowmusic.co.uk


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