University of Westminster
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The University of Westminster is a public research university in London, United Kingdom.
Its antecedent institution, the Royal Polytechnic Institution, was founded in 1838 and was
the first polytechnic institution in the UK. Westminster was awarded university status in
1992 meaning it could award its own degrees.
University of Westminster
Its headquarters and original campus are in Regent Street in the City of Westminster area of
central London, with additional campuses in Fitzrovia, Marylebone and Harrow. It operates
the Westminster International University in Tashkent in Uzbekistan.
Westminster's academic activities are organised into seven faculties and schools, within
which there are around 45 departments. The University has numerous centres of research
excellence across all the faculties, including the Communication and Media Research
Institute, whose research is ranked in the Global Top 40 by the QS World University
Rankings. Westminster had an income of £170.4 million in 2012/13, of which £4.5 million
was from research grants and contracts.
Westminster is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the
Association of MBAs, EFMD, the European University Association and Universities UK.
1.1 1837 to 1861
1.2 1881 to 1992
1.3 1992 to present
Arms of the University of Westminster
Royal Polytechnic Institution
Polytechnic Regent Street
Polytechnic of Central London
The Lord is our Strength
(Royal Polytechnic Institution)
(The Polytechnic Regent Street)
(Polytechnic of Central London)
3 Organisation and administration
3.1 Schools and Faculties
(University of Westminster)
3.3 Coat of arms
£ 0.96 million (2013)
5 Student life
ViceChancellor Geoffrey E Petts
5.1 Students' Union
5.2 Student and university media
7.1 Notable faculty and staff
7.2 Notable alumni
8 Further reading
9 See also
11 External links
1837 to 1861
The Royal Polytechnic Institution opened at 309 Regent Street on 6 August 1838 to provide (in the words of its prospectus of 1837) “an
institution where the Public, at little expense, may acquire practical knowledge of the various arts and branches of science connected with
manufacturers, mining operations and rural economy.” 
Sir George Cayley (1773–1857), the "father of aeronautical engineering", was the first chairman and the Polytechnic formally received a
Royal charter in August 1839. The Polytechnic housed a large exhibition hall, lecture theatre and laboratories, and public attractions
included working machines and models, scientific lectures and demonstrations, rides in a diving bell and, from 1839, demonstrations of
photography. Prince Albert visited the institution in 1840, when he descended in the diving bell, and
became a patron in 1841. The first public photographic portrait studio in Europe opened on the roof of
the Polytechnic in March 1841.
In 1848, a theatre was added to the building, purposebuilt to accommodate the growing audiences for
the Polytechnic’s optical shows. These combined magic lantern images with live performances, music,
ghosts and spectres, illuminated fountains and fireworks in increasingly sophisticated displays,
spreading the fame of what was arguably the world’s first permanent projection theatre.
The interior of the Polytechnic in
‘Professor’ John Henry Pepper joined the Polytechnic in the 1840s. Probably best known today for his
1847, as drawn by G.F. Sargeant
illusion ‘Pepper’s Ghost’, his contribution to education deserves recognition. Pepper established
evening classes in engineering, applied science and technical subjects for young working Londoners,
beginning the tradition of widening access to education continued by the University of Westminster today.
Expansion gradually gave way to financial difficulty, reflecting a longstanding tension between education and the need to run a successful
business. A fatal accident on the premises in 1859 caused the first institution to be wound up and a new one formed. Various regeneration
schemes were considered, but in 1879 a fire damaged the roof, precipitating the final crisis.
1881 to 1992
In September 1881, the Royal Polytechnic Institution closed making a transition to new ownership and a new era of educational development.
Philanthropist Quintin Hogg (1845–1903) acquired the lease to the building in December 1881 for £15,000. Hogg had already established a
Ragged School and Boys Home in the Covent Garden area of London to provide a basic education for some of London’s poorest children. In
1873, he established the Youths’ Christian Institute and Reading Rooms to provide educational, sporting and social opportunities for young
working men. Membership fees paid for free use of a library, social rooms, gymnasium and entertainments for members; a small additional fee
was required from students for technical classes which included Science and Art classes from 1878.
The Institute moved to Long Acre in 1878 and was renamed the Young Men’s Christian Institute (YMCI). Following Hogg’s purchase of 309
Regent Street, the YMCI moved into the new premises, reopening on 25 September 1882. About 6,000 members and students – three times
the anticipated number – attended during the first 1882/3 session. The institute gradually adopted the name the Polytechnic Young Men’s
Christian Institute, or simply, the Polytechnic, for short.
From 1882 an expanded programme of classes began, including science, engineering and art classes held in conjunction with the Science and
Art Department (of the Board of Trade), and a scheme of technical and trade education, related to the City and Guilds of London Institute of
Technical Instruction and to the London Trades Council. The building housed classrooms, a swimming bath, gymnasium, and a refreshment
room. Activities included Parliamentary debating, a Reading Circle, music and drama societies and several sports clubs.
By 1888 membership was 4,200, in addition to 7,300 students, and over 200 classes were held weekly as well as concerts, lectures, and an
annual industrial exhibition. Membership was open to those aged between 16 and 25. A Young Women's Branch, housed in separate premises
in Langham Place, was also established.
In the early 1880s the Institute attracted much favourable attention from the technical education lobby. Following the City of London Parochial
Charities Act in 1883, it became clear that funds would be available to endow the Polytechnic and to found and support institutions on the
same model across London. A public appeal was launched in 1888 to raise the required matching funding. The Scheme was finalised under the
auspices of the Charity Commissioners in 1891, when the Institute was reconstituted as Regent Street Polytechnic, managed by a newly
created governing body.
In 1886, Hogg founded the Polytechnic Day School for Boys. The school has had several names,
including the Polytechnic Intermediate Day School, Polytechnic Middle Class School and Polytechnic
Secondary School. The first official name was conferred in 1946 when it was rechristened the Quintin
School. From 1892 the school divided into two virtually separate schools – a Technical Division
under Charles Mitchell and a Commercial Division under David Woodhall, with a separate Preparatory
Division under Hobart Pritchard. The school only came together for prayers and ceremonial occasions,
with the rivalry between the two divisions culminating in the annual sports day each year when it took
place at Chiswick. During the interwar period the two divisions were reunited and under the headship
The Quintin School in 1956
of P. A. Abbott it became rigorously academic on the grammar school model, with particular strengths
in science and maths. During World War Two the school was evacuated to Minehead in Somerset
under the capable headship of Dr Bernard Worsnop. The school remained evacuated for the duration of the war and afterwards was unable to
return to 309 Regent Street due to the lack of space. Space problems, together with the 1944 Education Act, meant that change was inevitable
and discussions began which eventually led to the transfer of governance of the school from the Polytechnic to the London County Council. As
part of the transfer, the school was renamed the Quintin School and in 1956 it relocated to St John’s Wood. In 1969, the school merged with its
neighbour Kynaston Technical School, becoming the Quintin Kynaston School. In 2001 the school became a Specialist Technology College
and in November 2011, it became an Academy, changing its name to Quintin Kynaston Community Academy.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Polytechnic ran a savings bank, a labour bureau, a school, and arranged holidays for members to
coastal resorts and the countryside of the UK. In 1888, the boys from the Polytechnic Secondary School toured Belgium and Switzerland as
part of the first educational holiday to see the mountains they were learning about in geography lessons, which led to the formation of the
Polytechnic Touring Association (PTA). By 1895 the PTA had itineraries to Ireland, Scotland, Paris and Madeira as well as chalets in
Switzerland and a steam yacht which toured the Norwegian fjords. The travel company pioneered package holidays to Europe, including the
first escorted air tour to Switzerland in 1932. The travel company was acquired by Sir Henry Lunn Ltd. in 1962 and became Lunn Poly
(sold to Thomson Travel International SA in 2000).
The building at 309 Regent Street was rebuilt in 1910–1912 to reflect the needs of a growing institution
whose student members exceeded 15,000. Pioneering work in emerging professional and commercial
disciplines, alongside general interest subjects, was the hallmark of the institution. When Hogg died in
1903, he was succeeded as President by Sir Kynaston Studd (1858–1944), who remained in office until
his death in 1944, and did much to continue the traditions of the founder. Two major appeals were
launched to support expansion, the first for the rebuilding of 309 Regent Street in 1910–1912, and the
second to build the Polytechnic Extension building for the Women’s Institute in Little Titchfield Street,
which was formally opened in 1929. Both buildings continued to provide sporting and social facilities
for members of the Institute as well as workshops and classrooms for students of the Education
The visit of King George V, Queen
Mary, and their son Edward, Prince
of Wales after the rebuilding of the
The Education Department provided a wide range of courses, with a rapid expansion of commercial
subjects alongside the original trade and technical classes. Courses ranged from postelementary school
entry for craft and technical training at 13 to preparation for University of London external degrees.
Most teaching was in the evening and parttime, though day classes increased throughout the period. Following World War Two there was a
rapid growth in the demand for further education and training, which was reorganised following the White Paper on Technical Education in
The variety of levels of work at Regent Street meant that it was designated a regional college rather than a college of advanced technology,
after which the governors decided to reduce the proportion of lower level work. Following the establishment of the Council for National
Academic Awards (CNAA) in 1964, a number of degree courses were approved and became operational; including Engineering (Mechanical,
Electrical, Civil, Building), Photography (1966), Arts Administration (1967) and Media Studies (1975).
In 1960 the London County Council announced a plan to turn Regent Street into a tripartite federal college by adding a new College of
Architecture and Advanced Building Technology (CAABT) and also a College of Engineering and Science (CES). The existing commercial
subjects would remain centred on no 309 Regent Street. CAABT was allocated the Luxborough Lodge site in Marylebone Road and CES a site
in New Cavendish Street. Both schemes suffered prolonged delays and the new buildings were not finished until 1970. Holborn College of
Law, Languages and Commerce was merged with Regent Street Polytechnic to form the Polytechnic of Central London (PCL). At a
ceremony on 21 May 1971, the Lord Chancellor Lord Hailsham, grandson and namesake of Hogg, opened the new buildings and designated
the new institution. In 1990, Harrow College of Higher Education became part of PCL.
1992 to present
PCL was redesignated as the University of Westminster following the Higher and Further
Education Act (1992), which created a single funding council, the Higher Education Funding
Council, for England and abolished the remaining distinctions between polytechnics and
universities. The newly established university was rededicated at Westminster Abbey as the
University of Westminster on 1 December 1992. As a university, Westminster gained the power to
grant its own degrees.
Dame Mary Hogg QC (greatgranddaughter of Quintin Hogg, founder of the Regent Street
Polytechnic) was awarded an honorary doctorate of law (LLD) by the University of Westminster in
1995. Dame Mary also became part of the court of governors at the University, thus continuing
the University's close association with the Hogg family.
Westminster's efforts in overseas expansion resulted in the University being awarded the Queen's
Award for Enterprise in 2000, and again in 2005.
The foyer of the Westminster campus on
In recent years the university has established Westminster Business School, the institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, the Centre for
the Study of Democracy and the Policy Studies Institute. The University operates a satellite campus in Paris through the Diplomatic Academy
of London and in 2002 established the Westminster International University in Tashkent at the invitation of the government of Uzbekistan.
The University has attracted controversy for offering science degrees in subjects not widely considered as scientific. The university's
Department of Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Therapy and the Department of Chinese and Complementary Therapies, both of which were
based in the School of Life Sciences, offered courses in alternative medicine, and naturopathy which were criticised in the journal Nature for
providing science degrees "without the science". These departments closed in 2009 and the associated courses were taken on by the
Department of Complementary Medicines. The number of courses offered in these subjects has gradually been reduced, but as of 2012 the
university still offers degrees in traditional chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine.
In 2013 the University celebrated 175 years of worldleading research, pioneering teaching, and providing education for all, regardless of
background or financial status. Students, staff, alumni, University supporters and the public joined in with a series of events and occasions to
mark this memorable moment in the University's history. Special events were organised both at campuses in the UK, and with their teams
around the world. Celebrations included an interfaith service at Westminster Abbey on 30 January 2013. During the service, which
highlighted the role of the University past, present and future, there were words for reflection from world faith traditions, as well as talks by
current students and alumni.
Westminster has four main campuses, three of which are in central London.
309 Regent Street
4–12 Little Titchfield Street (Westminster Law School,
16 Little Titchfield Street (Education Abroad Centre)
32/38 Wells Street
115 New Cavendish Street
The main entrance to Westminster's Regent
101 New Cavendish Street (Corporate Services)
35 Marylebone Road
Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground (Polytechnic Stadium)
Cavendish Road, Chiswick
Quintin Boat Club (QBC)
Ibis Lane, Chiswick
Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT)
12 Istiqbol Street, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
WIUT main building in Summer
The University's Regent Campus comprises a group of buildings clustered around its historic
headquarters at 309 Regent Street. These include the Wells Street buildings and the Little Titchfield
Street building which houses the library for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, including the Westminster Law School. The former
Regent Street Cinema lies within the 309 Regent Street building, and now serves principally as a lecture theatre for students. There are plans
restoring it as a public cinema, while also maintaining its use as a lecture theatre.
The University's Marylebone Campus is located on Marylebone Road directly opposite Madame Tussaud's and Baker Street underground
station. Built in the 1960s it is home to the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Westminster Business School and the Policy
Studies Institute. The P3 exhibition area, a 14,000 sq ft (1,300 m2) space located in the former concrete construction hall of the University's
School of Engineering, was opened in 2008.
The University's Cavendish Campus is a modern glass and steel building in New Cavendish Street
(Fitzrovia), close to the BT Tower. It houses science, engineering and computer laboratories.
Cavendish campus is close to Warren Street, Great Portland Street and Goodge Street underground
The University's Harrow Campus is the base for Media, Arts and Design courses. It is also home to
London Gallery West which exhibits a broad mix of contemporary media, art and design work. The
nearest Tube station to the Harrow campus is Northwick Park on the Metropolitan line.
The university's official flag in royal
blue above 309 Regent Street
Organisation and administration
The University of Westminster is incorporated under the Companies Act as a charity and company limited by guarantee and not having a share
capital. It is also an exempt charity under the Charities Act 1993.
The University's governing body is the Court of Governors. It meets five times per year and is ultimately responsible for the effective conduct
of the activities of the University, including its strategic development, educational character and mission, and finances. The members of the
Court of Governors are the trustees of the charity.
Schools and Faculties
Prior to 2013, Westminster was organised into seven schools; Law (School of Law), SSHL
(School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages), ECS (Electronics Engineering and
Computer Science), LSS (School of Life Sciences), MAD (School of Media, Arts and Design),
WBS (Westminster Business School), and ABE (School of Architecture and the Built
Environment). Within the schools were 45 departments and 65 research centres. However, a new
faculty system was put in place at the start of the new academic year (2013/2014). Among these,
two former schools from the previous system have remained, and left unintegrated into the
Faculty of Science and Technology (Cavendish)
Faculty of Media, Arts and Design (Harrow)
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (Regent)
The main entrance to Westminster's
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (Marylebone)
Westminster Law School (Regent)
Westminster Business School (Marylebone)
In the financial year ended 31 July 2013, Westminster had a total income (including subsidiaries) of £170.44 million (2011/12 – £165.42
million) and total expenditure of £159.34 million (2011/12 – £155.13 million). Key sources of income included £98.73 million from tuition
fees and support grants (2011/12 – £81.16 million), £43.12 million from funding council grants (2011/12 – £56.24 million), £4.51 million from
research grants and contracts (2011/12 – £4.95 million), £0.66 million from endowment and investment income (2011/12 – £0.73 million) and
£23.42 million from other income (2011/12 – £22.34 million).
At year end Westminster had reserves and endowments of £56.14 million (2011/12 – £46.02 million) and total net assets including pensions
liabilities of £112.96 million (2011/12 – £103.8 million).
Coat of arms
The University's coat of arms reflects a number of key aspects of its heritage. The portcullis is the symbol of Westminster whilst the open book
symbolises learning. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who agreed to continue as the Patron of the University of Westminster, is represented by
the Tudor rose, one of the royal emblems. The motto of the university, "The Lord is our Strength", is influenced by Quintin Hogg and his
Young Men's Christian Institute. The open book on the escutcheon contains a Latin motto which reads as "Veritas", meaning "truth".
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, Westminster was ranked 2nd for Communications,
Cultural and Media Studies research, Its media research was previously awarded a 5 rating in
each of the three past Research Assessment Exercises, in 1992, 1996 and 2001. 6th for Art and
Design research, in addition to the university performing strongly in Architecture and the Built
Environment, and Geography and Environmental studies.
The RAE2008 confirmed Westminster’s position as a leading modern University with an outstanding record of achievement in research.
Almost 80% of the University's submitted research across 20 subject areas was judged to be of international quality. The University achieved
world leading and internationally excellent status for most of their work in Media and Communication; Art and Design; and Architecture and
the Built Environment. In Law; Life and Health Sciences; Computing; Business and Management; Town and Country Planning;
Environmental Studies, the majority of their submissions were found to be of internationally recognised quality. The standing of the
University's leading researchers is evidenced through many markers of esteem, for example membership of the prestigious RAE subject panels
where, in RAE2008, the University was represented in Psychology, Architecture and Asian Studies.
In 2013, the QS World University Rankings ranked Media, Communications, and Journalism 1st (UK), 2nd (EU), 19th (World). The QS
rankings are based on (i) reputation among academics and employers and (ii) citations to published works. Westminster was also ranked joint
second in the UK by the Architects’ Journal in their "AJ Top 100" special issue (9. May 2013).
The Complete University Guide (CUG) ranked Art & Design within the top ten in the UK (6th) for 2014. The CUG also ranked
Westminster up by 4 places in 2012. Overall, rising up by 21 places since 2011.
The Polytechnic’s management encouraged the establishment of a Student Representative Council (SRC) in 1933, to create a sense of unity
and expand the social activities of its day students. The SRC was affiliated to the National Union of Students but initially restricted itself
largely to social activities.
After 1945 it began to campaign on issues such as improvements to the canteen, lifting the ban on religious or political activity within the
Polytechnic, and for a formal Students’ Union. The Sectarian Ban was finally lifted in 1962 and a Union granted in 1965. However, the
canteen continued to be an issue throughout the 1980s.
The University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) is the Students' Union for the University of Westminster. The union was founded
in 1966 as The Polytechnic Students' Union. Its first President was Owen SpencerThomas (1966–1967). During the 1970s the number of
fulltime students at PCL doubled and the newly formed Polytechnic of Central London Students’ Union (PCLSU) engaged in a strategy of
protest and direct action. Against a backdrop of general social unrest, PCLSU campaigned against cuts in student grants, lack of
accommodation, the rise in costs for overseas students, and the perennial issues with the canteen. Students also joined the many national
demonstrations marching in London.
After 1992, the SU was based primarily at the Marylebone site, where the SU served all students across 4 of its campuses. As of 2013, UWSU
expanded its office to all campuses. The union also operates another bar, The Undercroft, and a night club, Area 51, located on the university's
Harrow site. Prior to 2011, the Marylebone campus was also home to the unionrun Inter:Mission social venue, however due to financial
difficulties Inter:Mission was forced to close. During the 1950s there was no Students' Union and no student bar. Quintin Hogg, founder of the
Polytechnic, was a firm believer in temperance and the Scheme of Administration of The Regent Street Polytechnic banned Poly buildings
from obtaining alcohol licences. The scheme also banned dancing. The latter was lifted by 1929 but the students did not get their own bar until
The union has hosted to numerous musical events and gigs including Fleetwood Mac, and most notably
the first and only encounter between Cream and Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.
Student and university media
Smoke Radio is a studentrun radio station at the University of Westminster. It was founded in 2004 and
broadcasts online from a studio in the university's Harrow campus. Since September 2005 the station has
run a 24hour playout system and broadcast a schedule of live programmes during the week. Smoke Radio
is a member of the Student Radio Association.
The old logo of the University of
Westminster Students' Union
adjacent to the new (2013) logo.
Smoke TV is the student television station of the University of Westminster. Launched in September 2011
and headed by Lewis Wright, it is run by the students and targeted at students. The station produces
programmes covering campus news, film reviews and sport events and showcases student productions such as short films, TV shows,
documentaries and music videos. The station is associated with the National Student Television Association. Smoke TV is distributed
online via the station's official website and its YouTube channel. Regular shows include the weekly Smoke News, Great Start TV, The Big
Debate, Advice Services, as well as broadcast coverage of the annual UWSU elections. Sabbatical officers of UWSU make occasional
appearances on Smoke TV to either take part or to deliver messages to students. Smoke TV is also available on its own YouTube channel.
Newspapers and magazines
The Polytechnic Magazine (1935–1971)
The first magazine published at Westminster, The Polytechnic Magazine, was founded in the 19th century. Published weekly, fortnightly and
then monthly, the Polytechnic Magazine formed a wideranging record of a unique institution at the heart of London. In 1879, Quintin Hogg
began the magazine when his Young Men’s Christian Institute was based in Covent Garden. Initially called "Home News", and then "Home
Tidings" from issue 2, in February 1888 it was renamed the "Polytechnic Magazine". Regular subjects included are personal news of members
(births, marriages, deaths and emigrations), sports and social clubs reports, commentaries on London events and current affairs, news of the
Polytechnic women’s activities and the Old Quintinians, reports from Polytechnic Touring Association holidays, examination results and
prizes. There are also advertisements (commercial and small ads), religious articles, lists of library stock, and general letters to the editor.
During World War One the Magazine took on an important role by enabling members to contact and keep track of one another, as well as co
ordinating relief efforts and generally boosting morale. The wartime issues include lists of men who have enrolled, photographs of those who
were killed and reports from the Front. The magazine can be accessed for free via the University's archives. we only read left wing
Student Forum (1949–1953)
During the mid 20th century, the University saw yet another studentled publication called "Student Forum". Originally a typescript newsletter,
the Student Forum was later printed into newspaper as demand grew. Regular items included Rag events; postponement of Student Players'
production; Debating Society reports; review of recent jazz concerts; editorial regarding attendance at general meetings; film reviews; student
organisation in India; bestdressed girl in Poly; sports reports; and advertisement for the Cameo Polytechnic [cinema]. Nevertheless, most
notably the Student Forum covers the formation of the University of Westminster Student Union (UWSU) which was then known as the
Polytechnic Students' Union. However, the newspaper reached the end of its lifespan in 1953, lasting only 6 years.
The Smoke (Magazine) & The QH (1993–Present)
In the early 90s, the union began expressing interest in new print media at the university. The Smoke was originally printed in 1992 as the
official magazine of the University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU). Though, in 2006 The Smoke had switched to a newspaper
format, initially being published fortnightly during term time. However, the newspaper format was later scrapped for a much smaller magazine
format. In 2012, a growing number of students began expressing their dissatisfaction towards the quality of student media at Westminster. As a
result, an independent online editorial dubbed "The Heurist" emerged from the student outcry. The name, "The Heurist" was coined by the
founder, Ash Chetri, after the word "Heuristics". The definition describes The Heurist as a platform which enables a person to learn &
discover something for themselves (a nod towards setting up independent student media outside the guidance of UWSU). In reaction, UWSU
launched a universitywide newspaper of their own, The Quintin Hogg (informally known as "The QH" or "The Hogg") in September 2012. It
is understood that the abbreviation "QH" refers to Quintin Hogg's initials and pen name, especially in several articles for the Polytechnic
Magazine, which Quintin was a frequent writer for. Initially, The QH served exclusively as a publication for the School of Social Sciences
Humanities & Languages (SSHL) at the flagship Regent Street campus. However due to the surge in popularity and student participation,
UWSU quickly made the decision to circulate the newspaper to all four of the university's campuses. The QH currently serves as the main
student publication at the university.
Past student publications included Polyhoo (1938–1939), The Poly Tribune (1946), Publicity Committee News (1946), the Journal of the
Maths and Physics Department (1945–1946), New Chameleon (1962), Polygon (1963), Polygen (1964), West One (1966–1969), McGarel
(1968–1993), and Gen (1970). Examples of which are in the University of Westminster archives
(http://archivesearch.westminster.ac.uk/CalmView/default.aspx). The university also publishes an annual alumni magazine, Network, as well
as several academic student journals such as the Law Review and Wells Street Journal.
Sport has always played an important part of life at the university. The athletic club, the Harriers, was established in 1883 and was for many
years the largest athletics club in the country. In 1908, the polytechnic organized the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1912 London
Olympic Games, also hosting a venue at The Polytechnic Stadium in Chiswick. From 1898, the polytechnic awarded the Studd Trophy, an
annual trophy for the best sports performance. Over the years, the award was given to sportsmen from various disciplines, such as swimming,
boxing and cycling, but the majority of awards have been given to athletes.
Noted award holders include: Willie Applegarth (1912/13), Olympic medallist sprinters Albert Hill (1919/20), Olympic gold medallist and
middledistance runner Harry Edward (1922), Olympic sprint bronze medallist Alan Pascoe (1971/72/73/74/75), hurdler
The University has grounds in Chiswick on the Thames with boat house, tennis courts, athletics track and about 12 pitches. There are sports
pitches and a sports hall at the Harrow campus whilst the Regent Campus has a gym, badminton courts and offers sports, martial arts and yoga
classes. The 2013 rounders university staff champions are the WBS Warriors (Westminster Business School).
The University of Westminster has six Halls of Residence – four in central London and two in Harrow and Wembley – and all provide easy
access to appropriate campuses. These are Alexander Fleming Hall (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/student
accommodation/hallsofresidence/alexanderfleminghouse), Harrow Hall (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/student
accommodation/hallsofresidence/harrowhall), International House (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/student
accommodation/hallsofresidence/internationalhouse), Marylebone Hall (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/student
accommodation/hallsofresidence/marylebonehall) and Wigram House (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/student
accommodation/hallsofresidence/wigramhouse). In 2012 the new hall of residence Student Court at Wembley
(http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/studentaccommodation/hallsofresidence/studentcourt) was opened for firstyear
students. During term time rooms are available for fulltime undergraduate and postgraduate students. The University also has nomination
agreements with other private providers to increase the number of bed spaces available to their students. In 2014 the University added Depot
Point (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/studentaccommodation/hallsofresidence/depotpoint) and Victoria Halls at
Wembley (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/prospectivestudents/studentaccommodation/hallsofresidence/victoriahallswembley) to
their list of student halls increasing the total number of bed spaces to two thousand and sixty.
"The Polytechnic Institution in Regent Street, where an infinite variety of ingenious models are exhibited and explained, and
where lectures comprising a quantity of information on many practical subjects are delivered, is a great public benefit and a
—Charles Dickens, Household Words, 1850.
The University of Westminster has a rich history in public events, lectures, and seminars that dates back to its antecedent institution; "The
Royal Polytechnic Institution". Often, several notable figures, authors, researchers, inventors, and leaders would take to the stage of 309
Regent Street's cinema before an audience (made of staff, students, and the general public). The theatre was built by James Thomson, the
architect of the Polytechnic, at a cost of approximately £10,000£12,000. The building was listed as Grade II in 1973, and is located within a
In 1847, John Henry Pepper delivered his first lecture at the Royal Polytechnic Institution (and went on to take the role of analytical chemist
and lecturer the year after). Pepper also oversaw the introduction of evening lectures at the Royal Polytechnic Institution and wrote several
important science education books, one of which is regarded as a significant step towards the understanding of continental drift.
In 1862, inventor Henry Dircks developed the Dircksian Phantasmagoria, where it was seen by John Pepper later on in the year in a booth set
up by Dircks at the Royal Polytechnic. Pepper first showed the effect during a scene of Charles Dickens's The Haunted Man at the Regent
Street theatre to great success. However, Pepper's implementation of the effect tied his name to it permanently. Though he tried many times to
give credit to Dircks, the title "Pepper's ghost" endured.
On 21 February 1896, the first performance of a moving film (Cinématographe) to a paying UK audience was delivered by the Lumière
brothers at the Regent Street Theatre. For this reason the Regent Street theatre is sometimes claimed to be the "birthplace of British cinema".
The University currently hosts several inaugural and alumni lectures as well as an annual law review, the "Plug In Your Brain" series of talks,
film screenings, art fairs and exhibitions, an annual science festival, and conferences which are all open to the public.
Notable faculty and staff
Notable faculty and staff of Westminster include:
Rafik Abdessalem – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia
Tom Ang – photographer and BBC presenter
Nabil Ayad, director of the Diplomatic Academy of London
Philip Bagwell, labour and transport historian
Richard Barbrook, political simulations and gaming
Cherie Blair, senior barrister, wife of Tony Blair
Derek Bryan, diplomat and lecturer in Chinese
Richard Burton, journalist
Nina Fishman, industrial and labour historian
Mont Follick – former Labour Party MP for Loughborough
Nicholas Garnham, emeritus professor in the field of media studies
Andrew Groves, fashion designer
Mayer Hillman, senior fellow emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute
Peter H Millard, president of the UK Nosokinetics Group
Chantal Mouffe, political theorist
Walter Nurnberg, industrial photographer
Joshua Oppenheimer, Oscar nominated filmmaker
Charles Parsons, Engineer – inventor of the steam turbine
Ezra Pound, poet
Martin Rowson, political cartoonist and novelist
Jean Seaton, professor of media history
Mitra Tabrizian, photographer
Edmund de Waal, ceramic artist
Alfred Waterhouse, architect and designer of Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum
Brian Winston, Emmy award winning documentary script writer
The University has produced notable alumni in many fields and including government ministers, ambassadors, judges, and a Nobel Prize
The Education of the Eye: History of the Royal Polytechnic Institution 1838–1881 Granta Editions
(November 2008) ISBN 1857570979.
An Education in Sport : Competition, Communities and Identities at the University of Westminster since
1864 Granta Editions (March 2012) ISBN 1857571088
Educating Mind, Body and Spirit: The legacy of Quintin Hogg and the Polytechnic, 1864–1992 Granta
Editions (April 2013) ISBN 1857571177
160 Years of Innovation: the Polytechnic Institution to the University of Westminster 1838–1998 (1998).
The Quintin School 1886–1956: a brief history by L C B Seaman (1957).
Quintin Hogg, a Biography by Ethel Mary Wood (June 2012)
Polytechnic Touring Association
Quintin Boat Club
Wikimedia Commons has
media related to University
The Polytechnic Stadium
Education in London
City of Westminster
University of London
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First Public Film Show in London (http://www.talkingpix.co.uk/ArticleFilmHistoryLondon.html)
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