Royal Holloway College, originally a women-only college, was founded by the Victorian entrepreneur Thomas Holloway in 1879 on the Mount Lee Estate in Egham. The founding of the college was brought about after Holloway, seeking to fulfil a philanthropic gesture, began a public debate through The Builder regarding 'How best to spend a quarter of a million or more', at which point his wife proposed to build a college especially for women. Holloway later increased his original sum of money to half a million, and today, the campus is still best known for its original 600-bed building, known as the Founder's Building, designed by William Henry Crossland and inspired by the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, France.
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner called the original college building "the most ebullient Victorian building in the Home Counties", and noted that together with its sister building the Holloway Sanatorium, it represents "the summit of High Victorian design".
The Founder's Building, which is now Grade I listed, was officially opened in 1886 by Queen Victoria, who allowed the use of "Royal" in the college's name. Founder's has been described by The Times as "one of Britain’s most remarkable university buildings", largely for its elaborate architecture, and according to The Sunday Times it "makes the college instantly recognisable". The college also has a Chapel, completed in 1886 as one of the last parts of the university to be finished. October 1887 saw the arrival of the first 28 students at Royal Holloway College. It later became a constituent of the University of London in 1900, as did Bedford College, which eventually merged with Royal Holloway College.
Merger of Royal Holloway College and Bedford College (1985)
Bedford College was founded by Elizabeth Jesser Reid in 1849 as a higher education college for the education of women. Reid leased a house at 47 Bedford Square in the Bloomsbury area of London, and opened the Ladies College in Bedford Square.
The intention was to provide a liberal and non-sectarian education for women, something no other institution in the United Kingdom provided at the time. The college moved to 8 and 9 York Place (off Baker Street) in 1874, and then to Regent's Park in 1908. In 1900, the college became a constituent school of the University of London. Like RHC, following its membership of the University of London, in 1965, it allowed male undergraduates to study on its premises for the first time.
RHC and Bedford merged in 1985. The pressure for the merger was due to a lack of government funding for higher education, and the college was named Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (RHBNC), with an inauguration being held at the College Chapel in 1986 by Elizabeth II. The newest title remains the official registered name of the college, though this was changed for day-to-day use to "Royal Holloway, University of London" by the College Council in 1992.
Since the merger with Bedford College, Royal Holloway has entered into collaborative discussions with Brunel University and St George's, University of London. The latter project was cancelled in September 2009. Royal Holloway, St George's and Kingston University continue to work together in the field of health and social care teaching and research.
Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), formally incorporated as Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, is a public research university and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It has three faculties, 20 academic departments and c. 9,200 undergraduate and postgraduate students from over 100 countries. The campus is located west of Egham, Surrey, 19 miles (31 km) from central London.
The Egham campus was founded in 1879 by the Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Holloway. Royal Holloway College was officially opened in 1886 by Queen Victoria as an all-women college. It became a member of the University of London in 1900. In 1945, the college admitted male postgraduate students, and in 1965, around 100 of the first male undergraduates. In 1985, Royal Holloway merged with Bedford College (another former all-women's college in London). The merged college was named Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (RHBNC), this remaining the official registered name of the college by Act of Parliament. The campus is dominated by the Founder's Building, a Grade I listed red-brick building modelled on the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, France. The annual income of the institution for 2017–18 was £173.6 million of which £13.9 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £169.4 million.
Royal Holloway is ranked joint 34th in the UK and is in the 251st-300th bracket in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2019.
There are strong links and exchange programmes with institutions in the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong, notably Yale University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Hong Kong. Royal Holloway was a member of the 1994 Group until 2013, when the group dissolved.
Today's Royal Holloway is formed from two colleges, founded by two social pioneers, Elizabeth Jesser Reid and Thomas Holloway. They were among the first places in Britain where women could access higher education.
Bedford College, in London, opened its doors in 1849, and Royal Holloway College's stunning Founder's Building was unveiled by Queen Victoria in 1886 – it’s still the focal point of the campus.
In 1900, the colleges became part of the University of London and in 1985 they merged to form what is now known as Royal Holloway.
We’re a pioneering university, steeped in history and culture, yet constantly evolving and adapting to the demands of modern higher education.
Our university was founded by two social reformers who pioneered the ideal of education and knowledge for all who could benefit. Their vision lives on today. As one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities, we are home to some of the world’s foremost authorities in the sciences, arts, business, economics and law. As teachers and researchers they change lives, expand minds and help current and future leaders understand power and responsibility. We are strengthened by diversity, and welcome students and academics who travel from all over the world to study and work here, ensuring an international and multi-cultural perspective within a close-knit and historic campus.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - we were ranked within the top 25% of universities in the UK for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent'
UK league table rankings
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 - we were ranked 24th
The Complete University Guide 2019 - we were ranked 28th
The Guardian University Guide 2018 - we were ranked 40th
Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2019 - we were ranked in the top 300 universities in the world and 34th overall in the UK. In the category of ‘International Outlook’, we were ranked 20th in the UK.
We scored 87% in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2018, 4?ove the national average and higher than 19 of the 22 Russell Group universities which appear in the survey.
We have a total of 10,615 students.
Of these, 8,432 are from the UK or European Union and 2,160 are international (outside the EU) students, 23 are from the Channel Islands & I.O.M.
We have 8,035 undergraduates, 1,803 postgraduate taught and 777 postgraduate research students.
Staff numbers We have 1,772 established members of staff working at Royal Holloway across academic, administrative and support areas.
In addition, we have visiting teachers, student interns and student staff who work across campus. (Dec 2018). Our staff widely represent countries across the world.
There are over 74,000 alumni of Bedford College, Royal Holloway College and Royal Holloway and Bedford New College worldwide.
Notable alumni include novelist George Eliot, suffragette Emily Davison, the first woman doctor in the west Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, actor Mark Strong, EU Foreign Minister Baroness Cathy Ashton, broadcaster and scientist David Bellamy and Paralympic triple gold medallist Sophie Christiansen
With our spectacular Founder’s Building and famous Picture Gallery, our campus is frequently named as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world
It’s situated in 135 acres of parkland in Egham, Surrey.
This is 19 miles from central London and seven miles from Heathrow Airport. We also have a central London base at Bedford Square in Bloomsbury.
Income and expenditure
See Financial information for details of where our money comes from and how we spend it.
Our motto and coat of arms
Our coat of arms celebrates the heritage of Bedford College, founded in 1849 by Elizabeth Jesser Reid and Royal Holloway College, founded in 1886 by Thomas Holloway The two colleges merged in 1985 to form who we are today - Royal Holloway, University of London
Our motto ‘Esse quam videri’ means 'to be rather than to seem'.