There have been many momentous events in UEA's history - from royal visits, to the founding of new schools of study, to student protests, to iconic gigs at the LCR.

Scroll through the timeline below to reveal some of UEA's greatest moments.


The University of East Anglia opens

The first Vice-Chancellor, Frank Thistlethwaite opened the University Village in 1963, with many of the existing buildings being built on a converted golf course. The university itself was designed by English Architect Sir Denys Lasdun, who also designed the Royal National Theatre. Biological Sciences and English Studies welcome the first student cohort to UEA.

The Village

Ziggurats Completed

Ziggurats – the iconic student residences, ingeniously designed by Denys Lasdun to recall, "vineyards in France…or a rocky outcrop on a slope" are completed. Architecturally unique, the Grade II listed terraced student residences have attracted widespread interest over the years and have led to the UEA winning a number of awards. They earned the eighth spot in the top 10 of best UK university architecture by the Architect's Journal.


Library moves to the plain

With a wealth of resources available, the UEA Library contains over 800,000 books and is spread over 6 floors. The building also houses several important collections of archives, and the Special Collections section contains almost 9,000 titles of rare, valuable or illustrated monographs and pamphlets in all subject areas.

The Square looking to Library

The Creative Writing MA is founded

The first degree of its kind in the country, the Creative Writing programme was founded in 1971 by Sir Angus Wilson and Professor Malcolm Bradbury. Notable Alumni include Trezza Azzopardi, Tracy Chevalier, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Malcolm Bradbury

Climatic Research Unit established

Climatology used to be part of Geography, not a subject in its own right. But this began to change in the 1970s. A landmark moment came when Hubert Lamb from the UK Meteorological Office established and became Director of our new Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Over the years, the CRU has led the way, pioneering world-class research across many aspects of climate science. The construction of the global temperature record. The attribution of observed warming to man’s influence. The development of simplified models to guide the development of climate policy. And major contributions to all the Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Hubert Lamb Building

Construction of University House

Union House and the Street open, along with the SU bar and LCR. Until the LCR was launched, students had enjoyed spending their evenings in ‘The Barn', by the University Village. The first shops on campus include a SPAR supermarket and Bowes & Bowes bookshop.

As well as these campus staples being established in 1973, the careers centre was launched, the university held a 10th anniversary celebration with its 3,245 students, and excavation began on the Broad.

Students Union

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts opens

Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury donated their collection of world art to the University of East Anglia in 1973 and the Sainsbury Centre first opened its doors to visitors in 1978. It was designed by world famous architect Norman Foster, who is best known for The Gherkin and Wembley Stadium, and was his first major public building.

Lord and Lady Sainsbury with Norman Foster

Law moves to Earlham Hall

The family home of famous Humanitarian Elizabeth Fry, Earlham Hall is an elegant Grade II listed building, which encapsulates the university's rich heritage, whilst providing a striking architectural contrast to the 60s concrete.

Earlham Hall

The Arthur Miller Centre opens

The Arthur Miller Centre was an initiative designed to promote further study of the United States by offering scholarships and prizes to American Studies students. The Centre hosts UEA's Literary Festival, which has welcomed writers such as Salman Rushdie, Ted Hughes, Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch and Alan Bennett.

Arthur Miller

Concrete re-launched

Concrete, the current student newspaper, was re-launched in 1992 having made its first appearance at UEA in 1973. The newspaper now has a circulation of 4,500 copies. Previous issues have included interviews with Nick Clegg, Charles Clarke, Harrison Ford, Stephen Fry and Greg James, amongst others.

Concrete magazine cover

Union starts managing The Waterfront

The Waterfront is a live music venue and nightclub in Norwich, which has been managed by the Union of UEA Students since 1993. The Waterfront, has hosted bands including Pulp, Radiohead, Nirvana, The Verve, Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, Plan B, Amy Winehouse, Stereophonics, Buzzcocks, MGMT, Travis, and Moby.

The Waterfront Venue

Official opening of Elizabeth Fry building

UEA adopted several novel techniques to achieve the environmental and energy performance of the Elizabeth Fry Building, while also ensuring that benefits in terms of occupant comfort levels, increased productivity, low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and energy cost savings were delivered.

Elizabeth Fry building

Sportspark opens

The Sportspark opens its doors to the public on 1 September 2000. The building is formally opened by Princess Anne, bringing international sporting facilities to Norwich.

UEA's £30 million Sportspark boasts a state-of-the-art Olympic-sized swimming pool, floodlit astro-pitches, athletics track and gym, as well as an extensive range of activities including archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, climbing, hockey, martial arts, squash, and trampolining.

Sportspark exterior

INTO opens

INTO is a study centre offering new and high quality preparation for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the UK. Combining UEA resources with major independent investment, INTO Centres deliver a world-class educational and cultural experience for international students, with fast, effective and assured progression to university degree courses.

INTO building

Queen's Anniversary Prize

UEA's School of International Development is awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in recognition of 40 years' sustained responses to environmental change and world poverty.

boy in a boat

UEA London opens

UEA's new London centre was established to enhance the employability of UEA graduates, raise the university's international profile and foster links with influential government and business communities in the capital.

students outside UEA London

Queen's Anniversary Prize

UEA is awarded the prestigious Queens Anniversary Prize for its contribution to creative writing. A year later, bolstered by the University's reputation in this field, Norwich wins the bid to become England's first UNESCO City of Literature.

Margaret Atwood signing books