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University College London
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University College London

University College London, commonly known as UCL, is one of the colleges that make up the University of London. It is a member of the Russell Group of Universities and the third oldest higher education institution in England.

The main part of the college is located in Bloomsbury, central London, on Gower Street. The nearest stations on the London Underground are Euston, Euston Square, and Warren Street.

The philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832) is often credited with founding the college, but this is not true. However, his remains are still kept within the college in accordance with his wishes: a large glass-fronted box displays his clothed skeleton, topped with a wax model of his head. A college rumour states that the box containing his remains is wheeled into senior college meetings, and that he is then listed in minutes as 'present but not voting'.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Notable Professors
3 External links


UCL was founded in 1826 under the name "University of London" as an alternative to the strictly religious universities of Oxford and Cambridge. However it was not until 1836, when the University of London was established, that the college was legally recognised and granted the power to award degrees of the University of London. Its legal status as a university-level institution thus postdates that of Durham (founded 1832); however because it was actually founded in 1826 it is sometimes claimed to be the third oldest university in England, after Oxford and Cambridge. UCL is not actually a university in its own right, but can claim to be the third oldest higher education institution. It has also been said that, since the charter of King's College London (granted in 1829) predates that of UCL by five years, UCL should not even be regarded as the oldest college in the University of London.

The college was the first UK higher education institution to accept students of any race or religious or political belief. It was possibly the first to accept women on equal terms with men (the University of Bristol also makes this claim - as both were admitted students to University of London degrees at the time, it is quite possible that this was a simultaneous action), the first in England to establish a student union (although men and women had separate unions until 1945), and the first to have professorships in chemical engineering, chemistry, Egyptology, English, French, geography, German, Italian, papyrology, phonetics, psychology, and zoology.

In 1907 the University of London was reconstituted and many of the colleges, including UCL, lost their separate legal existence. This continued until 1977 when a new charter restored UCL's independence. In 1985 the main Gower Street building was finally finished - 158 years after the foundations were laid.

Even today UCL retains its strict secular position, and unlike most other UK universities has no Christian chaplaincy or Muslim prayer rooms. Due to this policy UCL has also been known as "the godless institution of Gower Street".

The UCL Library is famous in its own right, its collection including a first edition of Newton's Principia.

In October 2002, a plan to merge UCL with Imperial College London was announced by the universities. The merger was seen as a de facto takeover of UCL by Imperial College and was opposed by both staff and UCL Union, the students' union. One month later after a vigorous campaign the merger was called off.

Famous Alumni

Notable Professors

External links

Recognized bodies of the University of London
Birkbeck | Goldsmiths | Heythrop | Imperial | Institute of Cancer Research | Institute of Education; | King's | London Business School; | LSE | London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; | Queen Mary | Royal Academy of Music; | Royal Holloway; | Royal Veterinary College; | St George's; | SOAS | School of Pharmacy; | UCL
Listed bodies
British Institute in Paris | Courtauld Institute of Art | School of Advanced Study | University Marine Biological Station, Millport