Few other institutions can match the history of Glasgow University Union.


Founded in 1885, the Union was the scene of Scotland’s last ever duel in 1899; swords were drawn and blood was spilled over the election battle for the University Rectorship!

The Union was founded by three of Glasgow University’s biggest societies: Dialectic Society, Medical Churgical Society and the Athletics Club. Together they developed a proposal for a social space, where students – soon to be members of the union – could relax, debate, eat, smoke and drink.


Time has moved on and the Union moved to its present home in 1930. It sparked constitutional chaos in 1952 when a group of nationalistic students brought back the Stone of Destiny (the stone which sits at the base of the coronation chair during the coronation of a British Monarch) from Westminster Abbey. Union members threw out several stone-shaped objects in an attempt to deceive the police. However, the stone was recovered and the Queen’s coronation went ahead as planned. In 2008 GUU was featured in a feature film about the Stone, aptly named “Stone of Destiny”. The film is a must-see for any Glasgow University student.


The union has also enjoyed many controversies, altercations – and good relations – with its rival union, the Queen Margaret Union. The differences are what make the unions unique, but the history tells many an interesting story. 


The Union’s Debating Chamber is considered the finest training ground for young politicians anywhere, GUU having won the World Debating Championships a record five times and the International Mace a record eighteen times – our nearest competitor having won the competition, four times. Former union debaters, also heavily involved in the running of the union, have included: John Smith, Sir Menzies Campbell, Lord “Jimmy” Gordon, Lord Gill, Derry Irvine, Andrew Neil, Gerry Malone, Charles Kennedy and Liam Fox.

The union has also produced many of the world’s leading businessmen, doctors, lawyers and academics – it truly is a home for every student at Glasgow University.


Every member is extremely proud of the history and success of GUU and welcomes the opportunity for others to take advantage and join Glasgow University Union.





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