Royal Holloway College has been around for some time. 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. Royal Holloway College became a member of the University of London in 1900. In 1945, the college began admitting male postgraduate students, and in 1965, male undergraduates. In 1985, Royal Holloway College merged with Bedford College (another formerly all-women's college in London which was founded in 1849 and, like Royal Holloway College, joined the University of London in 1900 and became fully co-educational in 1965). 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.
Thomas Holloway was the founder of the College. In 1871, Holloway had initiated a public debate through the pages of The Builder, inviting suggestions as to `How best to spend a quarter of a million or more', a sum of money that he very soon doubled. In fact, it was his wife who was to suggest a college for women as the means by which Holloway's money might effect what, in his own words, he wanted to achieve: `the greatest public good'.
The architect of the College, William Henry Crossland, had been selected by competition to design Holloway's first great philanthropic enterprise — the Sanatorium at Virginia Water, begun in 1873 and opened in 1885. Holloway was much involved in determining the style of the new College, finally settling for a flamboyant interpretation of the French Renaissance. Inspired largely by the early 16th Century Château of Chambord in the Loire Valley, the College is built around two very large quadrangles. It impresses as much by its bulk as the exuberance of the roof-line, the whole building much enlivened by the contrast of white Portland stone with the predominant red brick. As solid as it is extravagant, it stands now as a monument to the wealth, optimism and spirit of philanthropy which so characterized the Victorian age.
Royal Holloway's campus in Egham is set in 135 acres (55 ha) of woodland, between Windsor and Heathrow. Around 200 species of shrubs, 150 different types of tree and numerous wild flowering plants can be found in Royal Holloway's parkland.