Imperial College London history

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Imperial College London history

History

The Imperial Institute

Imperial College London history

The Great Exhibition

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 culture and education for everyone. Its founder, Prince Albert, envisioned a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Imperial Institute.[13][14] His vision built 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.[15][16] Several royal colleges and the Imperial Institute merged to form what is now Imperial College London.

Royal College of Chemistry

The Royal College of Chemistry was established by private subscription in 1845 as there was a growing awareness that practical aspects of the experimental sciences were not well taught and that in the United Kingdom the teaching of chemistry in particular had fallen behind that in Germany. As a result of a movement earlier in the decade, many politicians donated funds to establish the college, including Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone and Robert Peel. It was also supported by Prince Albert, who persuaded August Wilhelm von Hofmann to be the first professor.

William Henry Perkin studied and worked at the college under von Hofmann, but resigned his position after discovering the first synthetic dye, mauveine, in 1856. Perkin’s discovery was prompted by his work with von Hofmann on the substance aniline, derived from coal tar, and it was this breakthrough which sparked the synthetic dye industry, a boom which some historians have labelled the second chemical revolution.[19] His contribution led to the creation of the Perkin Medal, an award given annually by the Society of Chemical Industry to a scientist residing in the United States for an “innovation in applied chemistry resulting in outstanding commercial development”. It is considered the highest honour given in the industrial chemical industry.

Imperial College London history

Royal School of Mines

The Royal School of Mines

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.[15] He created a school which laid the foundations for the teaching of science in the country, and which has its legacy today at Imperial. 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, 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.[15]

Royal College of Science[edit]

The Royal College of Science

The Royal College of Science, established in 1881, was a higher education institution located in South Kensington; it was a constituent college of Imperial College London from 1907 until it was wholly absorbed by Imperial in 2002. Alumni include H. G. Wells and Brian May and are distinguishable by the letters ARCS (Associate of the Royal College of Science) after their name. Organisations linked with the college include the Royal College of Science Union and the Royal College of Science Association. The main objective was to support the training of science teachers and to develop teaching in other science subjects alongside the Royal School of Mines earth sciences specialities.[15]

Imperial College London history

20th century – City and Guilds College[edit]

In 1907, the newly established Board of Education found that greater capacity for higher technical education was needed and a proposal to merge the Royal School of Mines, the Royal College of Science, and City and Guilds College, was approved and passed, creating The Imperial College of Science and Technology as a constituent college of the University of London. Imperial’s Royal Charter, granted by Edward VII, was officially signed on 8 July 1907. The main campus of Imperial College was constructed beside the buildings of the Imperial Institute in South Kensington.