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.

1798-06-01 00:00:00

1798

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.

1878-09-10 10:30:26

1878

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.

1902-09-10 10:30:26

1902

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.

1928-09-10 10:30:26

1928

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

1957-09-10 10:30:26

1957

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.

1962-09-10 10:30:26

1962

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.

1966-09-10 10:30:26

1966

Brunel College is awarded a Royal Charter on 9 June (signed on 6 July), allowing it to become Brunel University. The first students move to Uxbridge in 1967. The transfer of all departments from Acton to Uxbridge is completed in 1971.

1966-09-10 10:30:26

1966

3rd Earl of Halsbury becomes Chancellor of the University.

1968-09-10 10:30:26

1968

The University is officially opened by Lord Beeching.

1976-09-10 10:30:26

1976

The West London Institute is created from the merger between Borough Road College, Chiswick Polytechnic and Maria Grey College.

1980-09-10 10:30:26

1980

Brunel merges with Shoreditch College of Education, one of the leading teacher training colleges in the field of craft, design and technology, which becomes Brunel’s Runnymede campus. London School of Occupational Therapy join the West London Institute. Brunel establishes a joint Postgraduate Research Centre with Hillingdon Hospital.

1981-09-10 10:30:26

1981

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

1983-09-10 10:30:26

1983

Brunel Institute for Bioengineering is established with Professor Heinz Wolff as director.

1986-09-10 10:30:26

1986

Brunel establishes the first University Science Park. West Middlesex University Hospital School of Physiotherapy joins West London Institute.

1991-09-10 10:30:26

1991

South Middlesex Hospital School of Physiotherapy joins West London Institute.

1995-09-10 10:30:26

1995

West London Institute of Higher Education becomes Brunel University College, which merges with the University two years later. Until now, Brunel’s traditional fields remained engineering, science, technology, social science, education and management, but the merger added expertise in new subject areas and innovative modes of study with performing arts, humanities, geography, health, social work, sport sciences and business.

1997-09-10 10:30:26

1997

The Rt Hon The Lord Wakeham becomes Chancellor of the University.

2003-09-10 10:30:26

2003

Ballet Rambert decides to establish its independence from the University.

2004-09-10 10:30:26

2004

Design leaves the Runnymede campus to join the Engineering departments at Uxbridge. The £6 million outdoor athletics centre is opened by David Moorcroft.

2005-09-10 10:30:26

2005

Twickenham campus is closed and Education moves to Uxbridge. The £7 million indoor athletics and netball centre is opened.

2006-01-01 21:00:20

2006

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

2006-09-10 10:30:26

2006

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.

2007-09-10 10:30:26

2007

Brunel sells its Runnymede campus.

2009-09-10 10:30:26

2009

The Magna Carta Institute is established, as an interdisciplinary institute, it brings together leading academics in the fields of politics, economics, media, communications, ethics and leadership.

2011-09-10 10:30:26

2011

The Institute of the Environment wins the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education for their research revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health.

2012-09-10 10:30:26

2012

Brunel hosts the Korean Olympic Team and the Canadian Paralympic Team for London 2012.

2012-09-10 10:30:26

2012

Professor Julia Buckingham becomes Brunel’s first female Vice-Chancellor and Sir Richard Sykes is appointed as Chancellor.

2014-09-10 10:30:26

2014

Brunel undergoes a major internal reorganisation, becoming Brunel University London following Royal assent of its new charter.

2016-01-01 15:53:43

2016

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

The History of Brunel

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