Institute of Education


The Impact of the First World War on UCL

13 November 2018, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

UCL historical picture

The First World War had a significant impact on life at UCL, as at other universities in the UK. Over 2,600 members and former members of the College served during the war. The UCL community experienced an intense sense of rupture.

Event Information

Open to





Kimberly Hemming


Darwin Lecture Theatre
B40, Darwin Building, Gower Street
United Kingdom

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KghCjGxeAhM


Part of the College was requisitioned as a military hospital, while the research activities of many academic departments were directed to the war effort. Student numbers halved, but UCL also welcomed and supported several hundred Belgian refugee students and military personnel taking evening courses.

Women formed a majority of the much-reduced student body, playing a leading role in College life. They set up UCL’s Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), which maintained an Ambulance Squad in St Pancras and sent students to nurse in military hospitals in France. At the end of the war, the first government scholarship scheme for ex-service students helped produced a more socially diverse student body, while the fallen were commemorated around the UCL campus.

This event is open and free to all; however booking is required. The lecture will be recorded and live streamed.


About the Speaker

Dr Georgina Brewis

at UCL Institute of Education

Dr Georgina Brewis, is Associate Professor in the History of Education at UCL Institute of Education, where she works on the history of higher education, youth and voluntary action. She is the author of the revised and updated edition of The World of UCL (UCL Press, 2018) and her talk also draws on an AHRC First World War Engagement Centre-funded project on British students and the rebuilding of Europe, 1919-1926.