Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. Its founder, Prince Albert, envisioned an area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Imperial Institute. His wife, Queen Victoria, laid the foundation stone for the Imperial Institute in 1888. Imperial College London was granted royal charter in 1907. In the same year, the college joined the University of London, before leaving it a century later. Through merging with several historic medical schools, the curriculum expanded to include medicine. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.
The main campus is located in South Kensington, with an innovation campus in White City. Imperial is organised through faculties of science, engineering, medicine, and business. The university’s emphasis is on technology and its practical application.
The Great Exhibition in 1851 was organised by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Fuller and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. The Great Exhibition made a surplus of £186,000 used in creating an area in the South of Kensington encouraging art and science for everyone. Prince Albert’s vision developed a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Geological Museum, Royal College of Science, Royal College of Art, Royal School of Mines, Royal College of Music, Royal College of Organists, Royal School of Needlework, Royal Geographical Society, Institute of Recorded Sound, Royal Horticultural Gardens, Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial Institute. Several royal colleges and the Imperial Institute merged to form what is now Imperial College London.
The Royal College of Chemistry was established in 1845 by subscription as a necessary national resource for industrial and technical development. Royal patronage came from Prince Albert, who was President of the Council. The founders, John Lloyd Bullock and John Gardner appointed August Wilhelm Hofmann as the first Professor. He held the post until returning to Germany in 1865.
The Royal School of Mines was established by Sir Henry de la Beche in 1851, developing from the Museum of Economic Geology, a collection of minerals, maps and mining equipment. De la Beche created a school which laid the foundations for the teaching of science in Britain. Prince Albert was a patron and supporter of the later developments in science teaching, which led to the Royal College of Chemistry becoming part of the Royal School of Mines, and to the creation of the Royal College of Science and eventually to these institutions becoming part of his plan for South Kensington being an educational region.
The Imperial Institute was created in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee to promote research in support of industry throughout the British Empire. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1888 and opened the building in 1893. It was administered by a Governing body with the then Prince of Wales as President. The Imperial Institute was designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt in the neo-renaissance style. It was 700 feet long with a central tower (the Queen’s Tower). It contained a library, laboratories, conference rooms and exhibition galleries with gardens at the rear.
Imperial’s main campus is located in the South Kensington area of central London.
South Kensington is home to a high concentration of cultural institutions: Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Albert Hall. Its location is also next to attractions: Kensington Palace and Gardens, National Art Library, Harrods Mall, and the Brompton Oratory.
The Imperial Institute was created in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee with the intention of it being a scientific research institution exploring and developing the raw materials of the Empire countries. The building was constructed in South Kensington between 1888 and 1893. The expansion of the South Kensington campus in the 1950s & 1960s absorbed the former Imperial Institute, designed by Thomas Collcutt, of which only the Queen’s Tower remains among the more modern buildings.
A second major campus is under construction in the White City area of London. The White City Campus innovation hub will house new research facilities, space for spin-off entrepreneurial companies as well as student accommodation.
In addition to its original South Kensington campus, Imperial has six other campuses across London and a campus in the village of Sunninghill near Ascot:
Charing Cross Campus, Hammersmith
A medical teaching and research campus based around Charing Cross Hospital. Facilities include a campus library, cafe and fitness gym.
Chelsea and Westminster Campus
A medical teaching and research campus based around Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Facilities include a campus library.
Hammersmith Campus, East Acton
A medical teaching and research campus based around Hammersmith Hospital. Facilities include a campus library, catering outlets and sports facilities.
Royal Brompton Campus, Chelsea
A medical teaching and research campus based around the Royal Brompton Hospital. Facilities include a campus library.
St Mary’s Campus, Paddington
A medical teaching and research campus based around St. Mary’s Hospital. Facilities include a campus library and sports facilities.
A postgraduate campus of Imperial located in the village of Sunninghill near Ascot in Berkshire. The Silwood Park campus includes a centre for research and teaching in ecology, evolution, and conservation set in 100 ha of parkland where ecological field experiments are conducted.