Victorian London - Education - Universities - University College

University College, situated in Gower Street, Bedford Square.-The plan of this institution comprehends public lectures, with examinations by the professors; mutual instruction among the pupils, and the aid of tutors in those parts of knowledge which most require to be minutely and repeatedly impressed upon the memory. The professors derive their income principally from the fees paid by their pupils. The course of instruction consists of languages, mathematics, physic, the mental and the moral sciences, together with the law of England, history, and political economy, and the various branches of knowledge which are the objects of medical education. The building for the university was designed by Mr. Wilkins; and, when completed, will consist of a centre and two wings, advancing at right angles from its extremities. The central part only has been erected. The interior contains four lecture-rooms, two semi-circular theatres, a chemical laboratory, museum of materia medica, museum of anatomy, museum of natural history, council-room, and two libraries. The public are allowed to view the interior.

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

laboratory.gif (101656 bytes)


from The Illustrated London News, 1846

see also Flaxman Gallery - click here

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON, on the east side of UPPER GOWER STREET. A proprietary institution, "for the general advancement of literature and science, by  affording to young men adequate opportunities for obtaining literary and scientific education at a moderate expense :" founded 1828, by the exertions of Lord Brongham, Thomas Campbell, the poet, and others, and built from the designs of W. Wilkins, R. A., the architect of the National Gallery and of St. George's Hospital at Hyde-Park-corner. The graduates of the University of London from University Collage are entitled Doctors of Laws, Masters of Arts, Bachelors of Law, Bachelors of Medicine, and Bachelors of Art. Everything is taught in the College but divinity. The school of medicine is deservedly distinguished. The Junior School, under the government of the Council of the College, is entered by a separate entrance in Upper Gower-street. The school session is divided into three terms; viz, from the26th of September to Christmas, from Christmas to Easter, from Easter to the 4th of August. The vacations are three weeks at Christmas, ten days at Easter, and seven weeks in the summer. The hours of attendance are from a quarter past 9 to three-quarters past 3; in which time one hour and a quarter is allowed for recreation. The yearly payment - for each pupil is 18l. of which 6l. are paid in advance in each term, on the first day after the vacation on which the pupil begins to attend the school. The payments are made at the office of the College. A fixed charge of 3s. 6d. a term is made for stationery. Books and drawing materials are provided for the pupils as required, and a charge is made accordingly. Boys are admitted to the school at any age under fifteen, if they - are competent to enter the lowest class. When a boy has attained his sixteenth year, he will not be allowed to remain in the school beyond the end of the current session. The subjects taught are reading, writing ; the English, Latin, Greek, French, and German languages; Ancient and English history; geography, both physical and political; arithmetic and book-keeping, the elements of mathematics and of natural philosophy, drawing, dancing, &c. The discipline of the school is maintained without corporal punishment. The extreme punishment for misconduct is the removal of the pupil from the school. Several of the Professors, and some of the masters of the Junior School, receive students to reside with them; and in the office of the College there is kept a register of parties unconnected with the College who receive boarders into their families: among these are several medical gentlemen. The Registrar will afford information as to terms, and other particulars. In the hall under the cupola of the College the original models are preserved of the principal plaster works, statues, bas- reliefs, &c., of John Flaxman, R. A., the greatest of our English sculptors. The Pastoral Apollo, the St. Michael, and some of the bas-reliefs, are amazingly fine.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850


universityhall.gif (74788 bytes)

IT is not only the working-man who is to reap the benefits of the progress of combination and association, but the very numerous classes of bachelors in all grades of society. There can be no reason why, for example, the banker's, the merchant's, the brewer's, the auctioneer's, and an immense number of other clerks, should not have the opportunity of the same comfort, economy, and safety which the Model Lodging-Houses for the labouring classes extend to their occupiers. The young artist, author, surgeon, lawyer, and, in line, all those members of society who look forward to the day when they shall belong to a club, might at once have all, and score than the advantages of those institutions. This is a theme on which much more might be said than our present space will allow, but it must be continually urged; and perhaps no more favourable proof of its practicability can be given than the recent establishment of University Hall, here illustrated. This edifice forms the centre of the west side of Gordon-square, in the rear of University College; and is intended for the reception of young men who are studying in different professions, as law, medicine, the belles lettres &c.
    With Halls, in the old days of the old Universities, as with Inns in the old days of Law, every one was familiar. Our most ancient English College,  claiming Alfred for its founder, still calls itself "the Great Hall of the Unviersity." And in various such buildings, great or small, the various and numerous students of the old times ate and lived together; with the aid of the superintending Master of Arts, perfecting themselves in the grammar, and logic, and rhetoric which they studied under University professors. But such things are obsolete. Long ago, at Oxford and Cambridge, the colleges and college tutors have subjugated the halls and professors - have silenced the latter, and exterminated the former. Only some few voices of titular professors are still heard in small exceptional consventicles; and only a few institutions - colleges all but in name - still retain the style and title of Halls.
    Meantime, in the new London University, the Professor has recovered something of his old vitality. Gower-street and the Strand, in this respect, take up the tale of Isis and the Cam. And here, too, it seems, in despite of that modern and ephemeral phenomenon of "Apartments to let," we now find, in somewhat of medieval costume, reviving, or wishing to revive, the veritable medieval Hall.
    The building, of which we give an Illustration, presents an imposing facade to form the west centre of Gordon-square. It Is already tenanted. we are informed by a Principal and Vice-Principal, and a moderate number of students of University College. To University College, through its Gothic back-door (for there is, in the rear, a private communication), students, as in old days, issue book in hand to professorial classes. Instruction there received they have opportunity of re-considering and digesting, under the care of superintending, seniors, here. And in its well-proportioned and capacious hall they breakfast and dine, as did the young men of old.
    The institution in question certainly shows the way for supplying an obvious deficiency in the new University, and for securing it many advantages without many evils - some of the attractions, free from some of the mischiefs - of the College system of Oxford and Cambridge. It is not, however, simply as a students club house or model lodging-house that University Hall has been erected. It is to be, we are told, subsidiary to University College in more ways than one. To instruction in theology and moral philosophy (which are excluded by the rules of the older institution), a local habitation will be offered in the new. With the superintendence and assistance of its council, its lecture-rooms will be available for these purposes.
    The edifice, beyond its internal claims of expanse, decoration, and apt arrangement of rooms, demands attention to its exterior, which is of the latest period of our Collegiate Gothic architecture, such as may be seen at Hampton Court; and  is a very happy adaptation of the leading features of the style to one of the greatest puzzles in architecture of our day, namely, the grouping of uniform windows in numerous stories. Another good feature is, that all the furniture of the establishment is uniform and synonymous with the design.
    The cost of the works, designed by Professor Donaldson, and executed by Mr. John Jay, did not exceed ?10,000, exclusive of the two houses intended to appear as wings, and so shown in the Engraving, one of which is intended for the dwelling of the Principal.
    Mention must be made, too, of the Duke of Bedford, who, with unexampled generosity, has, to promote the purposes of liberal education, granted permission to the founders to purchase, within a given period, the fee-simple of the property, that the building may always remain appropriated to its present intentions.

Illustrated London News, February 23, 1850

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, east side of Upper Gower-street, was designed by Wilkins, R.A.; the first stone laid by the Duke of Sussex, April 30, 1827 ; and the College opened Oct. 1, 1828. It has a bold and rich central portico of twelve Corinthian columns and a pediment, elevated on a plinth 19 feet, and approached by numerous steps, arranged with fine effect. Behind the pediment is a cupola with a lantern light, in imitation of a peripteral temple; in the Great Hall under which are the original models of the principal works of John Flaxman, R.A., presented by Miss Denman. In the vestibule is Flaxman's restoration of the Farnese Hercules; beneath time dome is his grand life-size Michael and Satan; and around the walls are his various monumental and other bas-reliefs; "in all the monumental compositions there is a touching story, and the sublimity of the poetic subjects is of a quality which the Greeks themselves have never excelled." -(Art Journal.) An adjoining room contains Flax- man's Shield of Achilles, and other works.
    The University building extends about 400 feet in length: in the ground-floor are lecture-rooms, cloisters for the exercise of the pupils, two semicircular theatres, chemical laboratory, museum of materia medica, &c. In the upper floor, on entering by the great door of the portico, the whole extent of the building is seen. Here are the great hall, museums of natural history and anatomy, two theatres, two libraries, and rooms with naturo-philosophical apparatus. The principal library is richly decorated in the Italian style; here is a marble statue of Locke. The Laboratory, completed from the plan of Prof. Donaldson, in 1845, combines all the recent improvements of our own schools with that of Professor Liebig, at Giessen.

    University College is proprietary, and was founded in 1828, principally aided by Lord Brougham, the poet Campbell, and Dr. Birkbeck, for affording "literary and scientific education at a moderate expense ;" but Divinity is riot taught. There is a Junior School. The graduates of the University of London from University College are entitled Doctors of Laws, Masters of Arts, and Bachelors of Law, Medicine, and Art. The School of Medicine is highly distinguished; and under the superintendence of its professors has been founded University College Hospital, opposite the College, in which the medical students receive improved instruction in medicine and surgery.
    Wilkins also designed the National Gallery, a far less happy work than University College, which is unfinished; the original design comprised two additional smaller cupolas. The works seem hardly to be the production of ths same architect; in the National Gallery the dome being as unsightly a feature in composition as in the College it is graceful.

In the rear of the College, on the west side of Gordon-square, is University Hall, designed by Prof. Donaldson, 1849, and built for instruction in Theology and Moral Philosophy, which are excluded by the College. The architecture is Elizabethan-Tudor, in red brick and stone; the grouping of the windows is cleverly managed. In the Great Hail the students breakfast and dine; and the establishment is a sort of students' club-house or model lodging-establishment.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867

[ ... back to main menu for this book]

University College, Gower-street.? Divided in faculties of arts and laws, and of science, including the department of engineering, the Slade School of Fine Arts, and the faculty of medicine. Students are admitted without previous examination to any class or classes that they may select. Before finally selecting their classes students are recommended to consult the professors of the subjects they propose to study. Classes in all subjects of instruction within the faculties of arts, of laws, and of science, are open to both men and women, who are taught in some classes together and in others separately. The deans and vice-deans attend in the council-room from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. on the first two days of October for the purpose of giving advice and information to students attending the college. Class examinations take place at the end of each session, when prizes and certificates of honour are awarded. For examinations for degrees, see UNIVERSITY OF LONDON. A library is open to students on week days throughout the session. University Hall, adjoining the college, is designed for the residence of students, and a register of persons who receive boarders is kept in the office of the college. A steward is appointed to provide refreshments for students at fixed prices. Separate accommodation and attendance are provided for female students in a ladies? common room. The following is a list of prizes and scholarships in the faculties of Arts, &c.
ANDREWS PRIZES.?(a) Prizes for New Students. ? Three prizes of ?20 each awarded annually upon examination, as follows: One for classics; one for any two of the three subjects, mathematics physics, chemistry; one for three languages: (a) English, (b) either Latin or Greek, (c) French, German, or Italian. The competition is limited to those who have not previously been students of the college; and no competitor can obtain more than one prize.
(b) Prizes for Students of One Year?s Standing.?At the end of each session two prizes of ?30, and one prize of ?20 will be awarded to those first-year students who shall be recommended to the council by the Faculties of Arts, and Laws, and of Science, as having distinguished themselves most by their answers at the sessional examinations of the classes, and by their good conduct during the session.
(c) Prizes for Students of Two Years? Standing? At the end of each session one prize of ?50, and one of ?40, will be awarded to those second-year students who shall in the same way have been recommended to the council by the aforesaid Faculties.
CLOTHWORKERS? COMPANY?S EXHIBITIONS FOR CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS. ?The Company have founded in University College two exhibitions of ?50 a year, tenable for two years.
FIELDEN SCHOLARSHIPS IN GERMAN AND FRENCH-?At the close of every session two scholarships, one of ?15 and one of ?10, will be given in the junior classes of German and French respectively, and one scholarship of ?25 in the senior class of each of those subjects.
HEIMANN MEDAL. ? A silver medal in memory of the late Professor Heimann, founded by his children, will be awarded annually as the first prize in the senior class of German.
HOLLIER SCHOLARSHIPS, ONE FOR GREEK AND ONE FOR HEBREW. ?Tenable for one year only, and their value is at present about ?60 each.
JEWS? COMMEMORATION SCHOLARSHIP.? ?15 a year, tenable for two years.
JOHN STUART MILL SCHOLARSHIP IN PHILOSOPHY OP MIND AND LOGIC. ?A scholarship of ?20, tenable for one year.
JOSEPH HUME SCHOLARSHIPS,? A scholarship in jurisprudence, of ?20 a year, tenable for three years; a scholarship in political economy, of ?20 a year, tenable for three years.
MALDEN MEDAL AND SCHOLARSHIP. ? For students of three years? standing.
MEYER DR ROTHSCHILD EXHIBITION.?Of the annual value of ?50, is awarded as the highest prize in the classes of pure mathematics.
RICARDO SCHOLARSHIP IN POLITICAL ECONOMY.?Of ?20 a year, tenable for three years.
SLADE SCHOLARSHIPS.? Under the will of the late Mr. Felix Slade, six scholarships of ?50 per annum each, and tenable for three years, have been founded in the college, to be awarded to students in Fine Arts not more than 19 years of age at the time of the award, for proficiency in drawing, painting, and sculpture. Two of these scholarships may be awarded every year. Ladies as well as gentlemen, not being more than 19 years of age at the date of election, are eligible. Should competitors be unable to produce evidence of having passed such an examination us general knowledge as may be deemed satisfactory by the council, they will be required to pass an examination of an elementary kind, which will be held in January each year. Prizes and medals are given to students who have attended one at least of the Slade classes during the whole session.
THE FACULTY OF MEDICINE. The dean and vice-dean attend specially to give information and advice to intending students or their friends in the last days of September and on the first Tuesday in each month during session. The, following scholarships, exhibitions, medals and prizes, are annually awarded: Three entrance exhibitions, of the respective value of ?30, ?20, and ?10 per annum, tenable for two years, are annually awarded upon examination by written papers to gentlemen who are about to commence their first winter?s attendance in a medical school.?Atkinson-Morley Surgical Scholarships, for the promotion of the study of surgery amongst the students of University College, London. The scholarship amounts to ?45 per annum, and is tenable for three years. ?Sharpey Physiological Scholarship, established by the subscribers to the Sharpey Memorial Fund, for the promotion of biological sciences especially by the encouragement of the practical study of physiology in the college. The annual income of the scholarship is about ?70.?Filliter Exhibition. A prize of ?30 awarded annually in July, founded for the encouragement of proficiency in pathological anatomy, by George Filliter, Esq., in memory of his deceased son, Dr. William Filliter, a distinguished pupil of the college. ?Clinical Medals founded by Dr. Fellowes. Dr. Fellowes?s clinical medals, one gold and one silver, with certificates of honour, are awarded at end of each winter and summer session?Medal founded in honour of the late Professor Liston. The Liston gold medals and certificates of honour will be awarded at the end of the session to the pupils who shall have most distinguished themselves by reports and observations on the surgical cases in the hospital?Alexander Bruce Gold Medal, founded by Mrs. Bruce in commemoration of her son, the late Mr. Alexander Bruce, for proficiency in pathology and surgery, is awarded at the close of the winter session.? Cluff Memorial Prize. This prize will be awarded every other year to the student who maybe deemed by the Faculty of Medicine to he the most proficient in anatomy,. physiology, and chemistry. The next award will take place in 1879. ?An Atchison Scholarship, value about ?55 per annum, tenable for two years, may be awarded annually after the close of the winter session?Gold and silver medals, or other prizes, as well as certificates of honour, are awarded, after competitive examinations, to those students who most distinguish themselves in particular branches of study in the college or hospital., Prizes to the value of ?10 will be given in the class of hygiene, on conditions stated in the programme of the class. Libraries and museums are open to students in the medical faculty.
TUFFNELL SCHOLARSHIPS.?A Tuffnell Scholarship of ?100, tenable for two years, will be
awarded annually, alternately for distinction in analytical and practical chemistry and in general chemistry.
There are many prizes and certificates, the list of which is too long to give in this place. All information may be obtained on application to the secretary at the college. NEAREST Railway Station, Gower-street (Met.); Omnibus Routes, Euston-road, Tottenham-court-road, Great Portland-street, Oxford-street; Cab Rank, Tottenham-court-road.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - University College

University College - photograph


University College is situated at the north end of Gower Street, and is a verv imposing building. Our view shows the main part, which is 400 feet long; and on each side are projecting wings. The Corinthian portico lends much dignity to the structure, and the dome is not ineffective. University College was founded in 1828 (Lord Brougham taking a prominent part in its establishment), in order to provide an educational centre free of all religious tests. There are now some forty professors, and forty times that number of students, who pay in fees not far short of ?30,000. Nearly all subjects are taught here; and the building also contains the University College School, while across the road is University College Hospital. Carefully preserved at the College are some very fine specimens of Flaxman's work.