Chronography of Universities and Collleges, UK

Page last modified 25 September 2023


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See also education � philosophers.


Click Here for 2 articles on the financialisation of university emnployment and the evolution of UK student fees.


Colour key:


University grants / fees

Expansion of HE


27 February 425, The Pandidakterion was founded in Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius II. This was effectively a very early university institution, with 31 chairs for law, philosophy, medicine, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, rhetoric and other subjects; 15 in Latin and 16 in Greek. This university existed until the 15th century.


2015, The last grants for poorer students in the UK were phased out.

2012, UK university tuition fees tripled to �9,000 a year (�10,863 at 2020 prices)

2007, Swansea University was formed. It was originally establisjed in 1920 as the University College Swansea

August 2007, The University of Cumbria opened.

1 August 2006, The University of Bedfordshire was formed, by the merger of the University of Luton and the Bedford campus of De Montfort University Leicester.

2005, The University of Northampton was established. Formerly Nene College, it became University College Northampton in 1999.

2005, The University of Winchester was formed. It was founded in 1840 as the Winchester Diocesan Training School, and became University College Winchester in 2004.

2005, Liverpool Hope University was founded. Originally the Liverpool Institute of Higher Education,established 1844.

September 2005, The University of Worcester was created.

August 2005, Bath Spa was upgraded from a university college to a university.

2004, Student fees trebled to �3,000 a year (�4,710 in 2020 prices). The graduate began repayments once salary reached �15,000 a year, at 9% of income.

2004, Roehampton University was created.

April 2004, The University of Bolton was formed. Formerly the Bolton Institute of Higher Education, it�s new title was only finally agreed in January 2005.

2003, St Stephen�s House College, Oxford, was founded.

2002, 43% of UK under 30s had experience of Higher Education. The Labour Government pledged to raise that to 50% by 2010. Tuition fees were now �1,100 (�1,800 at 2020 prices), which could be offset by low-cost loams of up to �3,905 (�6,500 at 2020 prices).

1 August 2002, London Metropolitan University was created by the merger of London Guildhall University and the University of North London. These latter two universities were both established in 1992.

2001, The University of Gloucestershire was created. It had originally been the Cheltenham MechanicaL Institute, founded 1834, and later became Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education.

25 May 2000. Oxford University was castigated for refusing a place to a Tyneside State School girl who was expecting 5 A grades at A Level. However on 26 May 2000 Oxford University offered a record number of places to State School pupils, as controversy over its entry system continued.

23 July 1997, The UK Labour government announced plans to start charging university students �1,000 (�1,860 at 2020 prices); these charges took effect from 9/1998. Grants, then worth �1,710 (�3,180 at 2020 prices) would be scrapped altogether.

1996, Lincoln and Humberside University was established.

1996, The University of Greenwich opened a campus at Chatham.

1996, University of Wales Institute Cardiff was founded. Originally the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education, founded in 1976 from the merger of four dfurther education colleges,

1993, The University of Derby was established.

1993, Abertay University Dundee was established.

1993Glasgow Caledonian University was established.

1993, The University of Luton was established; formerly a polytechnic. See 1 August 2006.

1992, De Montfort University, Leicester was establiahed (formerly Leciester Polytechnic).

1992, Liverpool John Moores University was founded. Originally Liverpool Polytechnic, established 1823.

1992, Oxford Brookes University was created. It had begun as the Oxford School of Art, founded 1865, which merged with the Oxford City Technical School in 1934 to form the Oxford School of Technology, Art and Commerce. In 1970 this in turn became Oxford Polytechnic.

1992, Bournemouth University was founded (formerly Bournemouth Polytechnic).

1992, The University of Brighton was founded (formerly Brighton Polytechnic).

1992, Sheffield Hallam University was founded (formerly Sheffield School of Design, founded 1843,which became Sheffield City Polytechnic).

1992, Thames Valley University was awarded University status.

1992, The University of Westminster was founded. Formerly the Polytechnic of Central London, it was founded in 1838 as the Royal Polytechnic Institution.

1992, Kingston University, London, was formed (formerly Kingston Polytechnic)

1992, The University of Coventry was founded (formerly Coventry Polytechnic).

1992, The University of Hertfordshire was founded.

1992, The University of East London was founded. It had originally been the North East London Polytechnic, founded 1970, and became the Polytechnic of East London.

1992, The University of Central Lancashire was formed. Formerly Lancashire Polytechnic, it can be traced back to the Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, established in Preston in 1828.

1992, The University of Portsmouth was formed (formerly Portsmouth Polytechnic).

1992, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, was founded; formerly the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology.

1992, The University of Plymouth was founded.

1992, The University of Paisley was founded.

1992, Leeds Metropolitan University was founded. It was formerly Leeds Polytechnic, formed in 1970 from Leeds College of Technology, Leeds College of Art, Leeds College of Commerce, and the Yorkshire College of Education.

1992, The University of Wolverhampton was created. It began as theHallam Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Technical College, founded 1931, becoming Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1969.

1992, Birmingham City University was created; formerly City of Birmingham Polytechnic.

1992,The University of the West of England was created.

1992, The University of Greenwich was founded, Founded 1890 as Woolwich Polytechnic

1992, Middlesex University was established. Formerly Middlesex Polytechnic, it was founded in 1973.

1992, Manchester Metropolitan University was formed (formerly Manchester Polytechnic).

1992, Northumbria University (Newcastle) was founded.

1992, Nottingham Trent University was founded.

1992, Sunderland University was founded.

1992, Teesside University was founded.

1992, The University of Huddersfield was established (formerly Huddersfield Polytechnic).

1992, The University of Central England at Perry Barr was founded (formerly Birmingham Polytechnic).

1992, The Anglia Polytechnic University, now Anglia Ruskin University, was established in Chelmsford.

1992, The UK Government restricted the subsidies given to Local Education Authorities for running Adult Education courses to work-related courses only. There were protests by the Women�s Institutes.

1992, The number of universities in the UK doubled from 45, as the former polytechnics became universities also.

27 November 1992, Bournemouth University was inaugurated.

9/1992, Staffordshire University was created; originally North Staffordshire Polytechnic, founded 1971.

6/1992, London South Bank University was established. Formerly South Bank Polytechnic, it was founded in 1892 as Borough Polytechnic.

6/1992, Napier University, Edinburgh, was founded. It opened as Napier Technical College in 1964.

20 May 1991, A UK Government White Paper proposed giving polytechnics the same status as universities, increasing participation in Higher Education.

1990, Kellogg College, Oxford, was founded.

1989, In Britain, the Education (Student Loans) Act introduced loans to supplementhigher education grants. The student grant was now �2,265 (�5,750 in 2020 prices) and could be supplemented by a loan of up to �420 (�1,066 in 2020 prices).

1989, In Britain, the Education Minister Baker called for a large increase in numbers of students in higher education.

29 January 1985, Oxford University refused to award Mrs Thatcher an honorary degree because of her policies on education.

1979, Green College, Oxford, was founded/

1977, Robinson College, Cambridge, was founded.

February 1976, University College Buckingham, Britain�s only independent university, opened.

1975, Gwent College of Higher Education was founded. In 1992 it became an affiliated institution of the University of Wales, and a University College in 1996.

23 June 1973, The first graduates from the Open University received their degrees at a ceremony at Alexandra Palace, London.

11 January 1973. The Open University awarded its first degrees. See 23 July 1969.

1972, 14% of UK school leavers went to university, but that was to fall back to 12% by 1980 as university funding was cut and Vice Chancellors maintained spending per student. The student grant rose from �380 in 1972 (�5,120 in 2020 prices) to �1,430 in 1980 (�6,266 in 2020 prices).


UK student numbers


UG students

% school leavers to


PG research students































4 (2.5 girls, 5.6 boys)

(7 to all HE)















ca. 50,000


Under 300










3 January 1971, The Open University began TV broadcasts. Regular courses commenced from Sunday 10 January 1971.

1970, In the UK,university students protested against the practice of keeping files on student�s political activities,during an era of widespread student anti-Vietnam War (see USA,Vietnam) protests.

1970, The Civil Service College was established at Sunningdale Park, Ascot, Berkshire, to train British civil servants.

1970, The City of London Polytechnic was formed, by a merger of the City of London College, the Sir John Cass College and the King Edward VII Nautical College.

1 January 1970, Manchester Polytechnic was formed from a merger of Manchester College of Art and Design, the Manchester College of Commerce and the John Dalton College of Technology.

1969, Cranfield University was founded.

1 September 1969, Portsmouth Polytechnic was established, one of the first under the UK�s 1966 White Paper, A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges.

23 July 1969. The Open University was established at Milton Keynes. See 11 January 1973.

1 October 1968, The University of Ulster, at Coleraine, opened.

1967, The University of Salford was formed (formerly the Royal Salford Technical Institute, opened in 1846).

1967, The University of Stirling was founded.

1 August 1967, The University of Dundee received its Charter.For 70 years before this, it was linked to the University of St Andrews, as University College Dundee, founded 1881.

1966, Fitzwilliam College and Clare Hall College, Cambridge, were founded.

1966, Aston University, Birmingham, was founded. It began as the Birmingham Municipal Technical School, founded 1895, and later became Birmingham College of Technology.

1966, Heriot Watt University, Edinbiurgh, was founded.

1966, The Universty of Bath was created.

1966, Brunel University was founded.

1966, City University was founded.

1966, The University of Bradford was created. Originally the Braford Institute of Technology, which began as the Mechanics Institute, founded 1832.

1966, Wolfson College, Oxford, was founded

9 September 1966, The University of Surrey, Guildford, was founded.

19 April 1966, Loughborough University of Technology became Britain�s first technological university.

1965, Wolfson College, Cambridge, was founded.

1965, Templeton College, Oxford, was founded/

1965, St Cross College, Oxford, was founded/

1965, The University of Kent, the University of Warwick, the University of Ulster, were established.

1965, There were no student loans. Fees were paid in full by the Local Education Authority, and there was also a means-tested grant of �340 (about �6,500 in 2020 prices)to cover living expenses

24 February 1965, The UK Government rejected the Robbins Commission�s recommendation for creating more new universities.

1964, Darwin College and Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, were founded.

1964, The University of Lancaster, the University of Essex (at Colchester), and the University of Strathclyde were established.

1963, The University of York was founded.

1963, The University of East Anglia was founded.

23 October 1963, In the UK, the Robbins Report called for a huge expansion of higher education; 17 new universities were created.

February 1962, The University College of North Staffordshire at Keele (established 1949) received its Charter as Keele University.

1962, St Catherine�sCollege, Oxford, was founded/

1962, Linacre College, Oxford, was founded/

1961, The University of Sussex opened in Brighton.

18 May 1961, Plans were announced for new UK universities at Canterbury, Colchester, and Coventry.

1960, Churchill College, Cambridge, was founded.

1957, Leicester University received its Charter (founded 1918 as University College, Leicester).

1955, Exeter University received its Charter. It had been founded as University College Exeter in 1922.

1954, New Hall College, Cambridge, was founded.

1954, Hull University received its Charter. It had been founded as University College Hull in 1929.

1952, St Anne�s College, Oxford, was founded/

29 April 1952, Southampton University received its Charter. It awarded its first degrees on 4 July 1953.

1950, The University College of North Staffordshire, Keele, received its first students.

1950, St Antomy�s College, Oxford, was founded/

10 July 1948, Full university status was granted to University College, Nottingham. The College was first founded in Nottingham city centre in 1881, and in 1935 it was given 35 acres of land at Highfields by Jesse Boot.

1946, Henley Management College was established in Henley on Thames; the first such College in Europe.

20 May 1946, The British Government announced plans for student grants.

1937, Nuffield College, Oxford, was founded.

1937, UK evening class technical college enrolment stood at over 1 million, compsred to 750,000 in 1911.

26 June 1933, King George laid the foundation stone of the University of London�s new Bloomsbury site.

3 January 1933, The Institute of British Geographers was created as part of the London School of Economics.

1929, St Peter�s College, Oxford, was founded/

1926, Reading University received its Royal Charter. It was originally founded in 1892.

1921, Blackfriars College, Oxford, was founded/

7 October 1920, Oxford University admitted its first 100 women, to study for full degrees.They had been permitted to sit Oxford examinations before this day.

28 May 1920. The foundation stone of the current premises of the London School of Economics was laid (opened 1922).

1916, The School of Oriental and African Studies was founded in London.

1910, Greyfriars College, Oxford, was founded/

24 May 1909, Bristol University received a Royal Charter.

1905, University College Sheffield achieved full University status.

1904, Leeds University was formally founded. It was created from a merger of Yorkshire College, the Leeds School of Medicine, and the Leeds branch of Victoria University. The Brotherton Library opened in 1936. Leeds Business School opened 1997.

1903, Royal Naval College Dartmouth was established.

6 October 1903, Manchester University formally opened. In 1902 Britain hosted just six Universities, 1) Oxford, 2) Cambridge, 3) Durham, 4) London, 5) Birmingham, and 6) the Federated Victoria University (see 1884), which had campuses at Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. In 1903 the Victoria Federation split into its constituent city universities.

17 January 1903, Quintin Hogg, polytechnic founder, died.

29 May 1902. The London School of Economics and Political Sciences was opened by Lord Rosebery.

28 June 1901, The British Academy was founded, for the promotion of studies of moral and political sciences.

1900, Birmingham University was founded, largely through the efforts of Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, aged 64. In 1901 he became Chancellor of the new University.

1900, Cambridge University now hosted 3,000 students, as against 400 in 1800. In December 2015 the university had 20,015 students.

1899, Ruskin College Oxford,was founded.

1899, The West of Scotland Agricultural College was established.

1897, St benet�s Hall College, Oxford, was founded/

1896, St Edmunds College, Cambridge, was founded.

1896, Campion Hall College, Oxford, was founded/

1896, The City University was founded, as Northampton Polytechnic, sited on Northampton Square, London EC1`. It became a University in 1966.

1895, The London School of Economics and Political Sciences was founded by Fabian socialists.

1892, St Hilda�s Hall, Oxford, was founded for former pupils of Cheltenham Ladies College, with the assistance of Dorothea Beale (1831-1906), a strong proponent of women�s education.

27 February 1892, Anne Clough, promoter of women�s adult education, died (born 20 January 1820).

30 November 1893, The University of Wales was established and took its first students. It was formed from an amalgamation of colleges at Bangor, Cardiff and Aberystwyth.

17 June 1887, Mark Hopkins, US philosopher, died in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

1886, Mansfield College, Oxford, was founded/

1886, St Hugh�s College, Oxford, was founded/

30 June 1886, Queen Victoria opened the buildings of the Royal Holloway College, Egham, Surrey.

1885, Hughes Hall College, Cambridge, was founded.

1884, Owens College Manchester joined with other colleges in Liverpool and Leeds to form the Victoria University, see 6 October 1903.

October 1884, The University College of North Wales opened in Bangor, see 1893.

24 October 1883, The University College of South Wales and Monmouth opened in Cardiff.

7 May 1883, The Prince of Wales opened the Royal College of Music, Kensington, London.

1882, Selwyn College, Cambridge, was founded.

1882, Bradford (Yorkshire) Technical College, Bradford University from 1962, was founded.

1881, University College Liverpool was founded.

1879, University College Sheffield weas founded by Mark Firth, a local steel manufacturer.

1879, Somerville College, Oxford, was founded/

1878, Lady Margaret Hall College, Oxford, was founded/

1877, Wycliffe Hall College, Oxford, was founded/

1876, Bristol University College was founded.

1874, Hertford College, Oxford, founded.

15 October 1872. University College of Wales was founded at Aberystwyth.

1871, Newnham College, Cambridge, was founded.

1870, Keble College, Oxford, founded.

1869, Girton College, Cambridge, was founded.

15 October 1862, The Hartley Institute, Southampton, was opened. Founded by Sir Henry Robinson Hartley, it became Southampton University on 29 April 1952.

1860, Modern day Aberdeen University was formed by the union of Kings College (founded 1494) and Marischal College (founded 1593).

1854, The Working Men�s College, London, was founded by F D Maurice.

1852, The Royal Commission on Oxford University estimated the annual cost of attendance at this institution, with university holidays spent at home, to be �600. This included both living costs and fees. This equates to around �60,000 in 2017 prices. This level of costs ensured that only the offspring of the very wealthy could afford to attend Oxford University. However it was possible to attend with around �500 to spend (�50,000, 2017 prices), and obtain credit from tradesmen for the balance.

1852, Newcastle on Tyne University was founded.

1851, Herefordshire College of Arts was founded.

9 March 1851, The University of Manchester was founded, as Owens College, Manchester.

1850, The School of Mines was established in London, later becoming the College of Science and Technology. Queens University Belfast was founded, as a �Queen�s College�; the other two Queens Colleges were at Cork and Galway. It had originally been a non-denominational college, founded in 1845. Belfast attained University status in 1908, and in 1951/2 had 2,686 students.

1849, Bedford College, London, was founded.

9/1845, The Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester was established, and granted its Charter by Queen Victoria. It was the first agricultural college in an English-speaking country. It became a university in 2013.

1843,TheRothamsted agricultural research station was founded in Hertfordshire.

1 December 1841, George Birkbeck (born 1776), co-founder of University College London, died.

1840, Glasgow University established the UK�s first Chair of Engineering. A second such Chair ewas established in 1841 at University College London.

1840, the Winchester Diocesan Training School opened. It became the University of Winchester in 2005.

1839, Chester Diocesan Training College was founded as one of the earliest dedicated teacher training colleges. In 2005 it became the University of Chester.

1836, The University of London was founded by Royal Charter. In 1951/2 theere vwere 15,630 f/t students here, 4,256 of whom were female.

1832, Durham University was founded.

11 February 1826, University College London was founded, as London University.

1824, UMIST was founded.

2 December 1823. Birkbeck College, University of London, was founded.

1822, The Royal Academy of Music was founded by Lord Burghersh (granted Royal Charter by King George IV in 1830).

1822, St David�s College, Lampeter, Wales, was founded.

20 January 1820, Anne Clough, promoter of women�s adult education, was born (died 27 February 1892).

1819, Oxford University appointed its first Professor of Geology, William Buckland (1784-1856). His pupil, Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was Professor of Geology at Kings College London from 1831 to 1833. Christians were alarmed at possible discrepancies between Genesis and the fossil record.

1810 Regents Park College, Oxford, was founded.

1805, Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, was established to train agents for the East India Company.

1800, Downing College, Cambridge, founded.

1872, The University College of Wales was founded in Aberystwyth.

1786, Harris Manchester College, Oxford, was founded/

1768, Homerton College, Cambridge, was founded.

10 January 1776, George Birkbeck, Professor of natural philosophy, was born in Settle, North Yorkshire. He gave unpaid lectures to working class men, and founded the London Mechanics Institue, now known as Birkbeck College, in 1824.

1714, Worcester College, Oxford, founded.

6 August 1679, John Snell, philanthropist to Oxford University, died in Oxford (born 1629 in Ayrshire)

1624, Pembroke College, Oxford, founded.

1612, Wadham College, Oxford, founded.

1604, The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were granted UK Parliamentary representation (withdrawn 1948).

8 November 1602, The Bodleian Library, Oxford, opened this day.

1596, Gresham College, London, founded.

1 February 1590, Lawrence Humphrey, President of Magdalen College Oxford, died.

1589, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, founded.

1584, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, founded.

1582, Edinburgh University was founded. It opened to students in October 1853.

1571, Jesus College Oxford was founded by Hugh Price.

1570, The revised Cambridge Statutes gave oligarchical powert toa sdmall group comprising the Vice Chancellor and College heads. These people dominated the elections to the �caput�, a body of six members empowered to approve all legislative proposals submitted to the Senate, and the cionvocation of Regents and non-Regents. The purpose of this policy was to limit academic democracy and entrench conservatism, at a atime when radical Puritans wanted to subvert the recent Anglican settlement,

29 January 1559, Sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity College Oxford, died in Clerkenwell, London.

1557, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, was re-founded.

1555, St John�s College, Oxford, founded.

1554, Trinity College Oxford founded.

1546, Trinity College, Cambridge, founded.

4 November 1546, Christ Church College, Oxford, founded by Thomas Wolsey.

1540, King Henry VIII of England founded Regius Professorships in Greek, Hebrew, Divinity, Civil Law and Physics at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

1519, Magdalene College, Cambridge, founded.

1516, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, founded.

25 October 1514, William Elphinstone, founder of the University of Aberdeen in 1498, died (born 1431).

1511, St Johns College, Cambridge, founded.

6 October 1510, John Caius, founder of Caius College Cambridge, was born.

1509, Brasenose College, Oxford, was founded.

1505, Christ�s College Cambridge was founded by Margaret, Countess of Richmond and Derby.

1497, Lincoln College, Oxford, founded.

1496, Jesus College, Cambridge, founded.

1495, The original Aberdeen University was founded.

1473, St Catherines College, Cambridge, was founded.

12 June 1458. Magdalen College, Oxford, was founded.

7 January 1451, Glasgow University was founded.

1448, Queens College, Cambridge, was founded.

1441, Kings College Cambridge was founded.

1437, All Souls College, Oxford, was founded.

1427, Lincoln College, Oxford, was founded.

28 February 1413, St Andrews University was founded. This was the first university in Scotland.

26 November 1379, New College, Oxford, was founded.

5 March 1379, The foundation stone of New College, Oxford, founded by William of Wykeham, was laid.

10 February 1355, The St Scholastica Day riot in Oxford. Opposing members of �town� and �gown� fought for three days.

1352, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, founded.

1350, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, was founded.

1348, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, was founded; see 1557.

1347, Pembroke College, Cambridge, was founded.

1340, Queen�s College Oxford founded.

1326, Oriel College, Oxford, and Clare College, Cambridge, were founded.

1314, Exeter College, Oxford, founded.

1284, Peterhouse College, Cambridge, was founded.

1278, St Edmund Hall, Oxford, founded.

7 January 1264, Merton College, Oxford, was founded by Walter de Merton

1263, Balliol College, Oxford, founded.

1260, A university was established at Northampton, but it was shut down soon afterwards.

1257, St Peters College, Cambridge, was founded.

1249, University College Oxford founded.

1231, King Henry III issued a command that all students at Oxford and Cambridge universities had to be registered on the roll (matricula) of a particular master � a move to eliminate impostor teachers.

20 June 1214, The University of Oxford received its charter (founded 1167, or 1096, which earlier date would make it the world�s fourth-oldest university.

1209, Cambridge University founded. The world�s eighth-oldest university. University students typically wore monk-like clothes, and many would be working for the Church. They had t9o get up at 5am for Mass, with lunch at 10am and evening meal at 6pm. Discipline was strict with games and music often banned.


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