The History of Brunel

This timeline celebrates 50 years of Brunel University London's unique history.

Brunel University London is a world-class university based in Uxbridge, West London, and was established in 1966. Our mission has always been to combine academic rigour with the practical, entrepreneurial and imaginative approach pioneered by our namesake Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


Brunel University London celebrates its 50th anniversary since being rewarded the Royal Charter in 1966.


2006 marks the 200th anniversary of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s birth, and the 40th anniversary of the award of Brunel University’s Royal Charter.


Ballet Rambert school is formed within the West London Institute of Higher Education.


Osterley campus closes, and Health and Social Care move to the new Mary Seacole Building at Uxbridge. For the first time in 25 years the University is based on one campus.


Joseph Lancaster opens a school in Borough Road for poor boys living in his neighbourhood in Southwark. This is the forerunner of Borough Road College which is established in Southwark in 1817 but moves to Osterley (the University’s former Osterley campus) in 1889.


Maria Grey College is founded in Bishopsgate, London ‘to raise teaching to a profession as honourable and honoured for women as for men.’ The college moves to Twickenham (the University’s former Twickenham campus) in 1969.


Pupil-teacher Centre is established to offer training courses in handicraft teaching. This becomes Shoreditch Technical Institute and moves to Englefield Green (the University’s former Runnymede campus) in 1951. The college is later renamed the Shoreditch Training College then Shoreditch College of Education.


Acton Technical College is established when Middlesex County Council transferred its Junior Technical School, founded in Chiswick in 1910, to Acton in west London.


Acton Technical College is divided into two, creating the new institution, Brunel College of Technology. The new college focuses on the education of technologists and, in particular, it pioneers the concept of the ‘sandwich’ courses, working with local employers to establish the best model.


Brunel College is designated a College of Advanced Technology. It was agreed that a completely new college should be erected on a separate site. The site chosen was a 170-acre plot in Uxbridge, formerly the Lowe and Shawyer nursery and market garden. Building work begins at Uxbridge in 1965.

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