UCL Events


Lunch Hour Lecture: The beginnings of UCL in Bloomsbury: some parallels with UCL East

21 May 2019, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

UCL East campus

This Lunch Hour Lecture is hosted in collaboration with UCL East

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






Emma Hart


Darwin Lecture Theatre
Darwin Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

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About the Lecture
This lecture considers the early history of UCL’s campus in Bloomsbury, emphasizing aspects relevant to the establishment of a new campus at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. The research is based on a study of the architectural history of UCL from 1825 to 1939, which will form the backbone of a Survey of London monograph. Based at the Bartlett School of Architecture, the Survey produces detailed architectural and topographical studies of London districts. UCL was the capital’s first university, established on secular lines by a group of radical thinkers in 1825. The university acquired a piece of waste ground in Bloomsbury, then a middle-class residential district, and organized a limited architectural competition for its first building. The successful entry by William Wilkins was severely restricted due to financial limitations, and only the east wing and portico were built. The eventual success of the university propelled its expansion into a mixture of purpose-built blocks and converted buildings, forming a large and complicated campus. The story of UCL’s campus in Bloomsbury navigates a mixture of themes that bear relevance to the creation of a new campus in Stratford, from the renewal of a disused urban site to collaboration and tensions between architects and clients, and the translation of institutional aspirations into built form.

About Urban Room and Memory Workshop
The Urban Room and Memory Workshop at UCL East will open up access to UCL’s public and oral history collections. As part of the Future Living Institute, it will explore the impact of industry, globalisation and gentrification on the six Olympic Park Boroughs and their people. It will be a practice-based space dedicated to debate and engagement around key questions of Future Living. It will also provide a centre for new digital collecting, in dialogue with local community partners.

About UCL East
UCL East is the largest ever single expansion of UCL since we were founded nearly 200 years ago.
UCL East will be a world-class campus on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, bringing together researchers, students, communities and partners to collaborate on solutions to the biggest, and most fundamental, challenges facing humanity – both today and in the future.

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About the Speaker

Amy Smith

Doctoral student and Research Assistant in the Survey of London at Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Amy Smith is a doctoral student and research assistant in the Survey of London, part of the Bartlett School of Architecture. She studied English Literature at Durham University and History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and subsequently completed a placement in the Architectural Investigation team at English Heritage. In 2015 Amy joined the Survey of London, where she has researched the Royal London Hospital and its estate for the current study of Whitechapel. The focus of her doctoral research is the architectural history of University College London, including its teaching hospital. Amy's study will contribute to a forthcoming Survey of London monograph.