In his inaugural speech Professor Cannadine did not mention, let alone propose, a new "University of Bloomsbury". However, Birkbeck would oppose any proposal that ignores the transformation of the University of London from a massive, clumsy, centralised system to a flourishing federation. The best way to strengthen our excellence in the humanities and in other areas is to build upon our ability to offer joint London degrees and create even more research alliances between the colleges. The history of successful US institutions, such as MIT or Harvard, provides no evidence for arbitrarily merging physically proximate institutions.
TIMOTHY M M O'SHEA
Master, Birkbeck College
University of London
Lucy Hodges replies:
The version of the speech that Professor Cannadine gave 'The Independent' included a radical proposal to reorganise the University of London. The Education section went to press before the speech was delivered.