As students head back to classes for the new academic year, MAXINE GORDON looks back at the early days of the University of York

THOUSANDS of students are returning to York this week for the start of the new academic term.

But back in 1963 when the university first opened, there were just 216 undergraduates, 14 postgraduate students and 28 academic and administrative staff.

The new university only had six departments: Economics, Education, English, History, Mathematics, Politics.

As for buildings, the university consisted of mainly the historic King's Manor in the city centre and Heslington Hall, on the edge of the city by Heslington village. The following year, work began on purpose-built structures on the Heslington campus, which now forms the main part of the university.

Over the next few years, the university as we know it today began to take shape. By the end of the decade, five colleges, three laboratory-based buildings, Central Hall, the library, the sports hall, music centre and the Jack Lyons Concert Hall had been completed.

Our pictures today take us back to the 1960s and the early days of the university.

One shows an aerial view of the city taken in 1962 with the proposed university campus chalked out in white. The image shows Heslington and its historic hall as well as the site for the first three phases of the University of York development. The dotted lines correspond to the perimeter of the work on these stages.

Other images show construction of the campus, including a shot of some early building work being carried out by Shepherd on the university library in 1962.

Today's photograph dating from August 1967 shows construction work on college buildings at Heslington, seen across the lake from the site for the university's concert hall.

Another picture from 1967 illustrates the multi-purpose Central Hall rising from the Heslington lakeside. The hall cost £275,000 and provided seating for 1,200 and was designed to accommodate large gatherings.

There are some other photos from 1967 too: one of the central boiler house at the University of York and another showing first year students getting their bearings at Heslington Hall.

Two years earlier, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh paid a visit to York and its university, where they met various dignitaries and officially opened Derwent and Langwith colleges.

Don't miss next week's Yesterday Once More for more images from the Queen's royal visit to York in 1965