Queen Margaret Union

Queen Margaret Union

:"This page is about one of the students' unions at the University of Glasgow, and not the students' union for Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh." Infobox Students Union
name = Queen Margaret Union

address = 22 University Gardens, Glasgow
established = c1890
institution = University of Glasgow
president = Alasdair Hunter
location = Glasgow, Scotland
members = c. 6,000 total

homepage = [http://www.qmu.org.uk/ www.qmu.org.uk]
The Queen Margaret Union (QMU) is one of two students' unions at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Founded in 1890 it caters for the social and cultural needs of its Glasgow student members by providing a range of services including, entertainments, catering, shop facilities, bars and games.


The Queen Margaret Union (QM 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.

QM Union originated in the basement rooms of the College until in 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 QM 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.

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 old Men’s Union to be based at 1 University Gardens. During this period, QM Union mostly provided space for its members to study, discuss, debate and eat.

As the Glasgow University Union grew in size and had a building built at the bottom of Gilmorehill, the QM Union was given the old Men’s Union building in the John MacIntyre building (1932). 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.

Although popular amongst its members, 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".

As politics took the student population by storm, the women of QM were often strongly involved in the debating circuit and especially in Rectorial elections and campaigns at the University. When the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 came into effect in the UK, many students began to question the division of the sexes at Glasgow. For a number of years throughout the 1970’s, the QM Union had allowed men into it’s various facilities throughout different periods of the day, however women were generally forbidden from all aspects of the GU Union. The 'Mixing Debate' was started in the mid-1970's, but neither Union seemed willing to change its stance. As the decade came to a close, several males had requested to join QM Union; The QM Union held a general meeting in 1979 and changed its constitution to allow males to become members. The GU Union followed suit 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.


The early 1990’s allowed QM Union to cement it’s status as one of Glasgow’s most popular live music venues. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, Garbage, and many other bands played on the Union's main stage. Since then recent acts including Biffy Clyro and Franz Ferdinand, have been hosted by the Union.

Recent developments in the Union from the late 1990s until the early 2000s have allowed the QM Union to redevelop many of it’s social areas, including all of its bars. Other recent events at QM Union have included playing a large part in the No to NUS campaign at the University of Glasgow and supporting Charles Kennedy in his campaign to become Rector.

Although there are still two Unions on campus at the University of Glasgow, students still need to choose one to join. In 2003-2004, both Unions attempted to change their Constitutions to allow for Automatic Joint Student Membership. The QM Union successfully made the required changes, but the life-membership of the GU Union voted against the change. The situation is ongoing.

As of 2008, the QM Union, with just over 5000 members, is based at the end of University Gardens, near to the rear entrance of the Boyd Orr building. The current building opened in 1967. Membership is split fairly equally among the sexes, and the QM Union has maintained high membership levels for many years. While the GU Union has more life members, the QM Union has consistently higher numbers of current students joining each year.

In June 2007, qmunicate, the QM Union's member-run fornightly publication, won the Best Magazine Award at The Herald Scottish Student Press Awards 2007. It was nominated in 2006 & 2008.

Board of Management

The QMU is run by a Board of Management annually elected by the membership. The names of the Presidents of the Union are preserved on a board in the main stairwell of the Union and photographs of each entire Board of Management are taken at the start of their term of office and displayed on the walls of the Board Room.


The QMU Board of Management is fed ideas through a committee structure. Active committees in 2008 are Events, Social, Publications, and Support and Services. Committee meetings can be attended by any member of the Union.


The QMU offers a number of facilities over four floors. Aside from general facilities such as cash machines, toilets, a laundry room, a TV room, and 24-hour study rooms, the Union's facilities include:

First Floor

* A general shop, stocking items similar to that of a standard Newsagent.

* Qudos, the Union's primary venue, used to host club nights and gigs. Qudos is an important venue within the Glasgow music scene, with a capacity of approx. 900. Nirvana played here on 30 November, 1991, as have other more recent bands surh as Biffy Clyro. It has also been used for regular film nights and large pub quizzes.

* A coffee shop with a raised seating area.

First Floor

* Jim's Bar, named after a late member of bar staff, has sofas, comfortable booths, a jukebox, and a well stocked bar. Many small Union events are run in Jim's Bar, including the Wednesday Night Pub Quiz (described by NME as the best in Glasgow), the Friday Face-Off quiz, Unplugged Open-Mic night on a Thursday, small bands, DJs and game-shows.

* A games room, with four pool tables, arcade machines, fruit machines, and a small bar.

* The Executive Office, home to the current President, Honorary Secretary, and Honorary Assistant Secretary.

econd Floor

* The Food Factory, offering a variety of cold and hot foods, most notably sandwiches and pizzas, and a rotating daily menu offering meat and vegetarian options.

* Cafe Lacuna which has comfortable seating as of September 2008. Free wireless internet access and power sockets mean this space can be used to type up coursework over lunch.

Third Floor

* Committee rooms, used by clubs and societies.

* Laundry facilities, housing two tumble dryers and washing machines.

* Study rooms, available 24 hours a day for union members.

* Administrative offices.


The archives of the Queen Margaret Union (QMU) are maintained by the Archives of the University of Glasgow (GUAS).

Important Artifacts

The Queen Margaret Union has in its possession a few important artifacts. The most famous of these is a setlist from Nirvana's 1991 concert, on the back of which is Kurt Cobain's muddy footprint. This is kept in the Presidential safe, also known as the Nighthawk. The handwriting on the front of the setlist is yet to be identified. It also currently holds the cross-campus Belt, on display in the Board Room.

External links

Official Sites

* [http://www.qmu.org.uk qmu.org.uk]
* [http://www.qmunity.co.uk qmunity.co.uk, the QMU's online forum.]


* [http://www.theherald.co.uk/search/display.var.1941788.0.union_with_many_crowns_from_cobain_to_queen.php Union With Many Crowns from Cobain to Queen] , Glasgow Herald, 04 January 2008
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/6149608.stm Students Vote on Union Membership] , BBC News, November 2006
* [http://www.gla.ac.uk:443/newsdesk/newsletter/details.cfm?id=4293&issue=279&category=catnews Presidential Summit at the QMU] , University of Glasgow Newsletter, Issue 279 October 2006
* [http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/59327.html We thought it was for the posh kids] The Herald, April 2006
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4737991.stm Uni Considers Early Smoking Ban] BBC News, August 2005

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