Royal Holloway College
Its history, grounds and buildings
Royal Holloway College was founded in 1879 by the Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Thomas Holloway (at the suggestion of his wife, Jane) as a means of investing some of the profits his business had made through the sale of pills and ointments. Jane persuaded Thomas to realise a grand vision - a college to educate women. It was controversial at the time but the concept made a strong statement to the world and the architecture of its principal building (The Founder's Building) made an equally strong statement. It was built in 135 acres of woodland on Egham Hill. The College was officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1886 and in 1900 it became part of the University of London. Until 1965 it remained a women's only college with very little additional building done on its campus beyond a few more buildings to house science laboratories. Each student had rooms in the Founders building with most of the educational, administrative and social activities also being undertaken in other parts of the same building.
With the admission of male undergraduates in 1965 additional accommodation was provided (about a mile away) to house men and additional properties across the road from the campus acquired to support more educational facilities. The annual intake of student also rose with the student population growing from about 300 students in the early 60s to around 1200 over the next 20 years. In 1985 Royal Holloway College merged with Bedford College and numbers have now grown to over 10,000 students. But this website is focused on the 20 year period between 1965 and 1985.
This section of the site is broken down into five areas, these are:
- The College and its history: covering more background to the College with links to other sources that provide a lot more detail.
- The campus and its grounds: covering its evolution from woodland and pasture space to the environment it is today.
and then three further sections covering the buildings and developments that have taken place:
- The Founder's Building: The primary focus and heart of the campus - the building that can still take your breath away on first sight.
- Halls of Residence: Of primary interest to those that lived in them and the memories that people hold of them from the 60s, 70s and early 80s
- The other buildings: covering a timeline of the buildings that have come and gone over the life of the college with particular emphasis of the period between 1965 and 1985.
Each can be accessed through the links below.
This section provides more information on the establishment of the College by Thomas and Jane Holloway, through to the current time. The main emphasis is on the period between 1965 and 1985. There are references to other sources of information which are publicly accessible.
The Campus Grounds
The growth and development of the campus from the initial woodland and park that made the original campus to the acquisition of substantial new houses with grounds 'over the road' and the building that has continued apace since 1965.
The Founders Building
One of the most beautiful university buildings in the world and the heart of the Royal Holloway campus. It was home to most students up until the early 60s when other halls of residence were built. With its own Picture Gallery and Chapel it remains a wonderful place to explore.
Halls of Residence
Until 1965 almost all students (all girls) had rooms in the Founders Building, but with the admission of men new halls were required and the subsequent growth in numbers has led to the building of many more halls - all with rich memories for all those that lived there. This area can only be accessed by registered alumni.
The other buildings
A tour of other buildings that are part of the College, organised as a timeline of buildings that have been built (and demolished) and associated maps of the campus as it has evolved. The focus is on the 1965 - 1985 period but also summarises all that was there prior to that period and the changes that have happened since.