The UK is well known for having a diverse and quirky history, and this translates directly to it’s universities, which are some of the oldest in the world. We’ve put together six historical facts about universities in the UK to share with you:
1. University of Edinburgh’s The Student is Europe’s oldest student newspaper
The Student was started in 1887 by Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde.
2. 19th century poet Lord Byron kept a pet bear during his time at the University of Cambridge
In protest for not being allowed to keep a pet dog on campus, Byron acquired a bear from a travelling menagerie. The university could not argue against this as there was no explicit rule barring bears at Trinity College. The bear stayed within his lodgings and he was often seen walking it round campus on a chain.
3. UCL was the first HEI to allow female undergraduates to study on the same campus as their male counterparts in 1878
Although this was a big milestone in the history of gender equality, women were only permitted to enrol for Arts, Law and Science, and were still barred from Engineering and Medicine for several more years.
4. Led Zeppelin made their first public performance in the Great Hall at the original site of Surrey University in 1968
The band played as the New Yardbirds a few days before at Liverpool University, but their debut show under the new name of Led Zeppelin took place at the University of Surrey on 25 October 1968.
5. Senate House, University of London survived 5 bombs in one night during WW2
At 210ft Senate House was one of London’s first skyscrapers and one for the most distinctive buildings in the city in the 1930s. There were rumours that Hitler planned to set up his UK Headquarters in Senate House.
6. Pendle College at Lancaster University is named after the infamous haunt of witches in medieval folklore
The trial of the Pendle Witches in the 17th century was perhaps the most notorious in British history, with 12 people accused of witchcraft and only one found not guilty. Six of the accused came from one of two rival families. In tribute to these trials, Pendle College’s logo is a witch silhouetted against a yellow moon.