The University College London was founded in 1826 to open up higher education in England to those who had been excluded from it. UCL was the first university institution to be founded in London and the first in England to be established on an entirely secular basis, to admit students regardless of their religion and to admit women on equal terms with men (1878).
The University of London was founded by Royal Charter on 28 November 1836 and is the third oldest university in England. The two founding Colleges of the University, UCL (founded 1826) and King’s College London (founded 1829), both predate the University, as do many other of the University’s constituent institutions. For example, St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School (now part of Queen Mary) and St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School (now part of King’s College London) both have twelfth-century origins. More information available at A Brief History of the University of London.
Jeremy Bentham is often credited with being one of the founders of the University of London, the forerunner of today’s University College London. This is not, in fact, true. However, the myth of his participation has been perpetuated in a mural by Henry Tonks (1862-1937), in the dome above the Flaxman gallery in the main UCL library. Yet although Bentham played no direct part in the establishment of UCL, he still deserves to be considered as its spiritual father. Many of the founders, particularly James Mill (1773-1836) and Henry Brougham (1778-1868), held him in high esteem, and their project embodied many of his ideas on education and society. Read more at Bentham and UCL.
Senate House Library is the central Library of the University of London and the School of Advanced Study. It has a rich history at the heart of the University and London’s student and research community.
The Library moved to its current location at Senate House, the home of the University, in 1937.