The Equiano Centre


The World of UCL 1828-1948

This pilot project explored the diversity of the student base at UCL in its early years, 1828-1948.

Looking beyond well-known international links, such as the Japanese noblemen who studied here in the 1860s, this project investigated the presence of African and Asian students at UCL, as well as Black British students. The project establishes the extent and content of the evidence for this type of research within the College Archives, with a view to establishing a methodology for future study of the archives.

Tracing the history of students from BME communities at UCL is complex. Information on ethnicity was not collected in student registers in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and individual photographs were not taken systematically at registration or graduation. How then might we trace the Black presence in our institution and give an historical depth to the legacy of diversity at UCL? Gemma Romain's research of the Slade School students evidence through year photographs and student registration forms has highlighted the presence of Indian students. How widely can this be replicated for other subjects?

Student Biographies

For some student biographies from the project, follow this link: Student Biographies

The College Archive is rich in materials that could, potentially, yield materials of interest, including:

  • Correspondence to College officials, from 1825
  • Student journals
  • Photographs of departments, sports teams, associations
  • Annual Reports
  • Annual Prize Lists
  • Fees books
  • Student registers
  • UCL Student Magazines such as Phineas

This project was funded by a UCL Grand Challenge grant, awarded to Caroline Bressey and Anne Welsh. The research was undertaken and student biographies written by Gemma Romain.