University of Westminster
|University of Westminster|
Arms of the University of Westminster
|Motto||The Lord is our Strength|
(The Polytechnic Institution)
(Royal Polytechnic Institution)
(Regent Street Polytechnic)
(Polytechnic of Central London)
(University of Westminster)
|Vice-Chancellor||Professor Geoffrey E Petts|
|Location||London, United Kingdom|
|Former names||Royal Polytechnic Institution
Polytechnic of Central London (PCL)
The University of Westminster (informally Westminster) is a public research university in London, United Kingdom. Its antecedent institution, the Royal Polytechnic, was founded in 1838 and was the first polytechnic in the UK. Westminster was awarded university status in 1992.
Its headquarters and original campus are in Regent Street in the Westminster area of central London, with additional campuses in Fitzrovia, Marylebone and Harrow. It operates the Westminster International University in Tashkent in Uzbekistan and a satellite campus in Paris, France through the Diplomatic Academy of London.
Westminster's academic activities are organised into seven schools, within which there are around 45 departments and 65 research centres. Westminster had an income of £164.6 million in 2010/11, of which £5.5 million was from research grants and contracts.
- 1 History
- 2 Campuses
- 3 Organisation and administration
- 4 Rankings
- 5 Student life
- 6 Public events
- 7 Notable people
- 8 Further reading
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
1838 to 1881
The Royal Polytechnic Institution opened in August 1838 to provide (in the words of its prospectus of 1837) "an institution where the Public, at little expense, may acquire practical knowledge of the various arts and branches of science connected with manufacturers, mining Operations and rural economy". The founding of the Polytechnic was in reaction to the rise of the famous Polytechnic type education in continental Europe specifically Germany Fachhochschule, and France École Polytechnique and the USA Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Sir George Cayley (1773–1857), the "father of aeronautical engineering", was the first chairman and the Polytechnic formally received a Royal charter in August 1839. The Polytechnic housed a large exhibition hall, lecture theatre and laboratories, and public attractions included working machines and models, scientific lectures, rides in a diving bell and, from 1839, demonstrations of photography. Prince Albert visited the Polytechnic in 1840, when he descended into a diving tank, and became a patron in 1841. The first public photographic portrait studio in Europe opened on the roof of the Polytechnic in 1841.
The Polytechnic had begun life as a permanent exhibition of scientific gadgets and contrivances that also gave lantern-slide lectures and ran evening classes in practical science. John Henry "Professor" Pepper, who became a director in the early 1850s, helped to establish evening classes in educational and trade subjects, and the Polytechnic organised an educational programme around the Great Exhibition of 1851.[self-published source?]
Expansion gradually gave way to financial difficulty, reflecting a long-standing tension between education and the need for profit. A fatal accident on the premises in 1859 caused the first company to be wound up and a new one formed. Various regeneration schemes were considered, but in 1879 a fire damaged the roof, precipitating the final crisis.
1881 to 1992
By 1881 the Royal Polytechnic Institution role had declined, the assets sold at auction and the building (no 309 Regent Street) put up for sale. Philanthropist Quintin Hogg (1845-1903) acquired the lease to the building at 309 Regent Street in 1881 for £15,000. His vision of 'The Polytechnic', which reopened the following year (officially as the Young Men's Christian Institute (YMCI), but always informally the Polytechnic), was to educate "mind, body and spirit". He expanded the established role in applied science and engineering to encompass arts and humanities in a full social mission. As a result, the Polytechnic became a model for technical and engineering education as a network of polytechnics across London and later the UK.
In 1886, Hogg founded the Polytechnic Day School for Boys (a voluntary aided school), which was a part of Regent Street Polytechnic. The school has had several name, such as the Poly Day School (or "Poly Boys") and "The Polytechnic Secondary School" (1919-1946). As the Polytechnic Day School for Boys, the school was organised into five divisions; the Preparatory Division, the Commercial Division, the Professional Division, the Civil Service Division, and the Technical Division, with a trimester of three terms. The School remained evacuated for the duration of the war and afterwards was unable to return to 309 Regent Street due to lack of space. The Governors were unable to provide the school with the premises required by law and the school came under the direct control of the London County Council. In 1946, The Polytechnic Secondary School was renamed the "Quintin School" after it had gained Grammar School status and returned to 309 Regent Street where it remained until moving to a new joint site at St John's Wood with the Kynaston school with which it was then combined to become the Quintin Kynaston comprehensive school. It is better known as the Quintin Kynaston Community Academy after it had been renamed the Quintin Kynaston School in 1969 after Sir Kynaston Studd OBE, a former president of the Regent Street Polytechnic, and Lord Mayor of London in 1928. The University maintains a close link with the school.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Polytechnic ran a savings bank, a labour bureau, an accommodation office and arranged holidays to Holly Hill in Hampshire. However, increasing numbers meant that small trips and holidays became impractical. Therefore in 1886, larger trips to Switzerland and Boulogne were arranged. In 1888, the boys from the Polytechnic School toured Belgium and Switzerland as part of the first educational holiday to see the mountains they were learning about in geography lessons, which led to the formation of the Polytechnic Touring Association which, in partnership with Sir Henry Lunn later became part Lunn Poly (rebranded Thomson Holidays in 2005).
The building at 309 Regent Street was rebuilt in 1910-12 to reflect the needs of a growing institution whose student members exceeded 15,000. Pioneering work in emerging professional and commercial disciplines, alongside general interest subjects was the hallmark of the institution. Alfred Waterhouse, who designed the Natural History Museum, was president of the School of Architecture and Sir Charles Parsons of the School of Engineering.[self-published source?].
After the First World War, the polytechnic offered degrees conferred by the University of London and its focus on the educational and social life of working people in London remained largely unchanged until the Second World War.
In 1924, a new school of management opened for 309 Regent Street following the Industrial League and Council presenting a series of lectures on management and industry. Courses in journalism began in 1922 and the teaching of planning started in 1934. In the 1950s the institution became known nationally and internationally as the "Regent Street Polytechnic" and became a model for applied technological education.
The Polytechnic merged with the Holborn College of Law, Languages and Commerce in 1970, forming the Polytechnic of Central London (PCL). In 1990 the Polytechnic merged with the Harrow College of Higher Education (founded in 1888), expanding its activities in the creative arts and design. Degree-awarding authority resided with the UK council for national academic awards CNAA. The CNAA governed degree education (bachelors, masters, doctorates) at the UK national level.
1992 to present
In June 1992 the Privy Council formally conferred university status with degree-awarding powers for taught courses and research degrees at PCL. A poll of 20 possible names for the new university were taken from 1,000 sixth form students as part of the decision making process. Among these were, "Quintin Hogg University", which ranked 19th. Nevertheless, "University of Westminster" proved to be most favourable in the poll. After the Privy Council agreed on PCL's name change, the newly established university was re-dedicated at Westminster Abbey as the "University of Westminster" on the 1st of December 1992.
Subsequently, Dame Mary Hogg QC (Great Granddaughter Quintin Hogg (merchant), founder of the Regent Street Polytechnic) was awarded an honorary doctorate of law (LLD) by the University of Westminster in 1995. The University's close association with the Hogg family was evident through Dame Hogg as she also became part of the court of governors at the University.
In recent years the university has established Westminster Business School, the institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, the Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Policy Studies Institute. The university operates a satellite campus in Paris through the Diplomatic Academy of London and in 2002 established the Westminster International University in Tashkent at the invitation of the government of Uzbekistan.
Nevertheless, the university has also attracted controversy for offering science degrees in subjects not widely considered as scientific. The university's Department of Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Therapy and the Department of Chinese and Complementary Therapies, both of which were based in the School of Life Sciences, offered courses in alternative medicine, and naturopathy which were criticised in the journal Nature for providing science degrees "without the science". These departments closed in 2009 and the associated courses were taken on by the Department of Complementary Medicines. The number of courses offered in these subjects has gradually been reduced, but as of 2012 the university still offers degrees in traditional chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine.
|Regent Street||309 Regent Street (SSHL Main Site)|
|Little Titchfield Street||4-12 Little Titchfield Street (School of Law, Library)|
|16 Little Titchfield Street (Education Abroad Centre)|
|32/38 Wells Street|
|Cavendish||115 New Cavendish Street (Main Site)|
|101 New Cavendish Street (Corporate Services & Westminster Exchange)|
|Marylebone||35 Marylebone Road (Main Site)|
|Harrow||Watford Road (Main Site)|
- Central London Assessment Services (CLASS)
- 70-74 Great Portland Street
- Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground (Polytechnic Stadium)
- Cavendish Road, Chiswick
- Quintin Boat Club (QBC)
- Ibis Lane, Chiswick
- Westminster University Centre for International Studies in Paris
- 115/117 Rue Notre-Dame des Champs, Paris, France
- Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT)
- 12 Istiqbol Street, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Westminster's Regent Street campus comprises a group of buildings clustered around the university's historic headquarters at 309 Regent Street. These include the Wells Street buildings and the Little Titchfield Street building which houses the library for the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages and the School of Law. Moreover, while the UK arm of the Diplomatic Academy of London (DAL) is located within the Regent Street Campus, the Centre for International Studies in Paris (a satellite campus) makes for the DAL's French arm. The now defunct "Regent Street Cinema" can also be found within the 309 Regent Street building, however the venue currently serves mainly as a lecture theatre for students. There are plans for a restoration to revive the cinema for the public as the "Regent Street Cinema" (whilst maintaining it as a lecture theatre).
Westminster's Marylebone campus is located on Marylebone Road directly opposite Madame Tussaud's and Baker Street underground station. Built in the 1960s it is home to the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Westminster Business School, the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, the Students' Union and Inter:mission bar. The P3 exhibition area, a 14,000 sq ft (1,300 m2) space located in the former concrete construction hall of the university's School of Engineering, was opened in 2008.
Westminster's Cavendish campus is a modern glass and steel building in New Cavendish Street (Fitzrovia) and adjacent to the BT Tower. It houses science, engineering and computer laboratories and the Policy Studies Institute as well as the Westminster Business Consultants (a junior enterprise established in 1995 and run by students of the University). Cavendish campus is close to Warren Street, Great Portland Street and Goodge Street underground stations.
Westminster's Harrow campus is the campus for Media, Arts and Design courses. It is also home to London Gallery West which exhibits a broad mix of contemporary media, art and design work. The nearest Tube station to the Harrow campus is Northwick Park on the Metropolitan Line.
Organisation and administration
The University of Westminster is incorporated under the Companies Act as a charity and company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. It is also an exempt charity under the Charities Act 1993.
The University's governing body is the Court of Governors. It meets five times per year and is ultimately responsible for the effective conduct of the activities of the University, including its strategic development, educational character and mission, and finances. The members of the Court of Governors are the trustees of the charity.
Schools and Faculties
Prior to 2013, Westminster was organised into seven schools; LAW (School of Law), SSHL (School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages), ECS (Electronics Engineering and Computer Science), LSS (School of Life Sciences), MAD (School of Media, Arts and Design), WBS (Westminster Business School), and ABE (School of Architecture and the Built Environment). Within the schools were 45 departments and 65 research centres. However, a new faculty system was put in place at the start of the new academic year (2013/2014). Among these, two former schools from the previous system have remained, and left unintegrated into the faculties.
- Faculty of Science & Technology (Cavendish)
- Faculty of Media, Arts & Design (Harrow)
- Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities (Regent Street)
- Faculty of Architecture & The Built Environment (Marylebone)
- School of Law (Regent Street)
- Westminster Business School (Marylebone)
In the financial year ended 31 July 2011, Westminster had a total income (including subsidiaries) of £164.63 million (2009/10 - £171.25 million) and total expenditure of £159.23 million (2009/10 - £174.69 million). Key sources of income included £74.91 million from tuition fees and support grants (2009/10 - £71.54 million), £62.78 million from funding council grants (2009/10 - £70.22 million), £5.46 million from research grants and contracts (2009/10 - £7.99 million), £0.55 million from endowment and investment income (2009/10 - £0.52 million) and £20.93 million from other income (2009/10 - £20.99 million).
At year end Westminster had reserves and endowments of £41.27 million (2009/10 - £30.04 million) and total net assets including pensions liabilities of £100.09 million (2009/10 - £89.3 million).
Coat of arms
The university's coat of arms reflects a number of key aspects of its heritage. The portcullis is the symbol of Westminster whilst the open book symbolises learning. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who agreed to continue as the Patron of the University of Westminster, is represented by the Tudor rose, one of the royal emblems. The motto of the university, "The Lord is our Strength", is influenced by Quintin Hogg and his Young Men's Christian Institute. The open book on the escutcheon contains a Latin motto which reads as "Veritas", meaning "truth".
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, Westminster was ranked 2nd for Communications, Cultural and Media Studies research, Its media research was previously awarded a 5 rating in each of the three past Research Assessment Exercises, in 1992, 1996 and 2001.[self-published source?] 6th for Art and Design research, in addition to the university performing equally strong in Architecture and the Built Environment, and Geography and Environmental studies.
In 2013, the QS World University Rankings ranked Media, Communications, and Journalism 1st (UK), 2nd (EU), 19th (World). The QS rankings are based on (i) reputation among academics and employers and (ii) citations to published works. Westminster was also ranked joint second in the UK by the Architects’ Journal in their "AJ Top 100" special issue (9. May 2013).
The Complete University Guide (CUG) ranked Art & Design within the top ten in the UK (6th) for 2014. The CUG also ranked Westminster up by 4 places in 2012. Overall, rising up by 21 places since 2011.
The Polytechnic’s management encouraged the establishment of a Student Representative Council (SRC) in 1933, to create a sense of unity and expand the social activities of its day students. The SRC was affiliated to the National Union of Students but initially restricted itself largely to social activities.
After 1945 it began to campaign on issues such as improvements to the canteen, lifting the ban on religious or political activity within the Polytechnic, and for a formal Students’ Union. The Sectarian Ban was finally lifted in 1962 and a Union granted in 1965. However, the canteen continued to be an issue throughout the 1980s.
The University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) is the defacto Students' Union for the University of Westminster. The union was founded in 1966 as The Polytechnic Students' Union. Its first President was Owen Spencer-Thomas (1966–1967). During the 1970s the number of full-time students at PCL doubled and the newly formed Polytechnic of Central London Students’ Union (PCLSU) engaged in a strategy of protest and direct action. Against a backdrop of general social unrest, PCLSU campaigned against cuts in student grants, lack of accommodation, the rise in costs for overseas students, and the perennial issues with the canteen. Students also joined the many national demonstrations marching in London.
After 1992, the SU was based primarily at the Marylebone site, where the SU served all students across 4 of its campuses. As of 2013, UWSU expanded its office to all campuses. The union also operates another bar, The Undercroft, and a night club, Area 51, located on the university's Harrow site. Prior to 2011, the Marylebone campus was also home to the union-run Inter:Mission social venue, however due to financial difficulties Inter:Mission was forced to close. During the 1950s there was no Students' Union and no student bar. Quintin Hogg, founder of the Polytechnic, was a firm believer in temperance and the Scheme of Administration of The Regent Street Polytechnic banned Poly buildings from obtaining alcohol licences. The scheme also banned dancing. The latter was lifted by 1929 but the students did not get their own bar until 1967.
Student and university media
Smoke Radio is a student-run radio station at the University of Westminster. It was founded in 2004 and broadcasts online from a studio in the university's Harrow campus. Since September 2005 the station has run a 24-hour playout system and broadcast a schedule of live programmes during the week. Smoke Radio is a member of the Student Radio Association.
Smoke TV is the student television station of the University of Westminster. Launched in September 2011 and headed by Lewis Wright, it is run by the students and targeted at students. The station produces programmes covering campus news, film reviews and sport events and showcases student productions such as short films, TV shows, documentaries and music videos. The station is associated with the National Student Television Association. Smoke TV is distributed online via the station's official website and its YouTube channel. Regular shows include the weekly Smoke News, Great Start TV, The Big Debate, Advice Services, as well as broadcast coverage of the annual UWSU elections. Sabbatical officers of UWSU make occasional appearances on Smoke TV to either take part or to deliver messages to students. Smoke TV is also available on its own YouTube channel.
Newspapers and magazines
The Polytechnic Magazine
The first magazine published at Westminster, The Polytechnic Magazine, was founded in the 19th century. Published weekly, fortnightly and then monthly, the Polytechnic Magazine formed a wide-ranging record of a unique institution at the heart of London. In 1879, Quintin Hogg began the magazine when his Young Men’s Christian Institute was based in Covent Garden. Initially called "Home News", and then "Home Tidings" from issue 2, in February 1888 it was renamed the "Polytechnic Magazine". Regular subjects included are personal news of members (births, marriages, deaths and emigrations), sports and social clubs reports, commentaries on London events and current affairs, news of the Polytechnic women’s activities and the Old Quintinians, reports from Polytechnic Touring Association holidays, examination results and prizes. There are also advertisements (commercial and small ads), religious articles, lists of library stock, and general letters to the editor. During World War One the Magazine took on an important role by enabling members to contact and keep track of one another, as well as co-ordinating relief efforts and generally boosting morale. The wartime issues include lists of men who have enrolled, photographs of those who were killed and reports from the Front. The magazine can be accessed for free via the University's archives.
During the mid 20th century, the University saw yet another student-led publication called "Student Forum". Originally a typescript newsletter, the Student Forum was later printed into newspaper as demand grew. Regular items included Rag events; postponement of Student Players' production; Debating Society reports; review of recent jazz concerts; editorial regarding attendance at general meetings; film reviews; student organisation in India; best-dressed girl in Poly; sports reports; and advertisement for the Cameo Polytechnic [cinema]. Nevertheless, most notably the Student Forum covers the formation of the University of Westminster Student Union (UWSU) which was then known as the Polytechnic Students' Union. However, the newspaper reached the end of its lifespan in 1953, lasting only 6 years.
The Smoke (Magazine) & The QH
In the early 90s, the union began expressing interest in new print media at the university. The Smoke was originally printed in 1992 as the official magazine of the University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU). Though, in 2006 The Smoke had switched to a newspaper format, initially being published fortnightly during term time. However, the newspaper format was later scrapped for a much smaller magazine format. In 2012, a growing number of students began expressing their dissatisfaction towards the quality of student media at Westminster. As a result, an independent online editorial dubbed "The Heurist" emerged from the student outcry. The name, "The Heurist" was coined by the founder, Ash Chetri, after the word "Heuristics". The definition describes The Heurist as a platform which enables a person to learn & discover something for themselves (a nod towards setting up independent student media outside the guidance of UWSU). In reaction, UWSU launched a university-wide newspaper of their own, The Quintin Hogg (informally known as "The QH" or "The Hogg") in September 2012. It is understood that the name "The QH" refers to Quintin Hogg's initials and pen name, especially in several articles for the Polytechnic Magazine, which Quintin was a frequent writer for. Initially, The QH served exclusively as a publication for the School of Social Sciences Humanities & Languages (SSHL) at the flagship Regent Street campus. However due to the surge in popularity and student participation, UWSU quickly made the decision to circulate the newspaper to all four of the university's campuses. The QH currently serves as the main student publication at the university.
Past student publications included West One (1966-1969) and McGarel (1968-1993) - examples of which are in the University of Westminster archives. The University also publishes an annual alumni magazine, Network.
Sport has always played an important part of life at the university. The athletic club, the Harriers, was established in 1883 and was for many years the largest athletics club in the country. In 1908, the polytechnic organized the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1912 London Olympic Games, also hosting a venue at The Polytechnic Stadium in Chiswick. From 1898, the polytechnic awarded the Studd Trophy, an annual trophy for the best sports performance. Over the years, the award was given to sportsmen from various disciplines, such as swimming, boxing and cycling, but the majority of awards have been given to athletes.
Noted award holders include: Willie Applegarth (1912/13), Olympic medallist sprinters Albert Hill (1919/20), Olympic gold medallist and middle-distance runner Harry Edward (1922), Olympic sprint bronze medallist Alan Pascoe (1971/72/73/74/75), hurdler
The university has grounds in Chiswick on the Thames with boat house, tennis courts, athletics track and about 12 pitches. There are sports pitches and a sports hall at the Harrow campus whilst the Regent Campus has a gym, badminton courts and offers sports, martial arts and yoga classes. The 2013 rounders university staff champions are the WBS Warriors (Westminster Business School).
Westminster has several halls of residence throughout London, including Alexander Fleming House near Old Street; Furnival House in Highgate; a hall at the university's Marylebone campus; Wigram House in Victoria; and two halls at the university's Harrow campus. In 2012 a new hall of residence in Wembley for first-year students, Student Court, was opened.
"The Polytechnic Institution in Regent Street, where an infinite variety of ingenious models are exhibited and explained, and where lectures comprising a quantity of information on many practical subjects are delivered, is a great public benefit and a wonderful place."
The University of Westminster has a rich history in public events, lectures, and seminars that dates back to its antecedent institution; "The Royal Polytechnic Institution". Often, several notable figures, authors, researchers, inventors, and leaders would take to the stage of 309 Regent Street's cinema before an audience (made of staff, students, and the general public). The theatre was built by James Thomson, the architect of the Polytechnic, at a cost of approximately £10,000-£12,000. The building was listed as Grade II in 1973, and is located within a Conservation Area.
In 1847, John Henry Pepper delivered his first lecture at the Royal Polytechnic Institution (and went on to take the role of analytical chemist and lecturer the year after). Pepper also oversaw the introduction of evening lectures at the Royal Polytechnic Institution and wrote several important science education books, one of which is regarded as a significant step towards the understanding of continental drift.
In 1862, inventor Henry Dircks developed the Dircksian Phantasmagoria, where it was seen by John Pepper later on in the year in a booth set up by Dircks at the Royal Polytechnic. Pepper first showed the effect during a scene of Charles Dickens's The Haunted Man at the Regent Street theatre to great success. However, Pepper's implementation of the effect tied his name to it permanently. Though he tried many times to give credit to Dircks, the title "Pepper's ghost" endured.
On 21 February 1896, the first performance of a moving film (Cinématographe) to a paying UK audience was delivered by the Lumière brothers at the Regent Street Theatre. For this reason the Regent Street theatre is sometimes claimed to be the "birthplace of British cinema".
The University currently hosts several inaugural lectures, an annual law review, the "Plug In Your Brain" series of talks, film screenings, art fairs, an annual science festival, and conferences which are all open to the public.
Notable faculty and staff
Notable faculty and staff of Westminster include:
- Rafik Abdessalem - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia
- Nabil Ayad, director of the Diplomatic Academy of London
- Philip Bagwell, labour and transport historian
- Richard Barbrook, political simulations and gaming
- Cherie Blair, senior barrister, wife of Tony Blair
- Derek Bryan, diplomat and lecturer in Chinese
- Hugo de Burgh, director of the China Media Centre
- Richard Burton, journalist
- Nina Fishman, industrial and labour historian
- Nicholas Garnham, emeritus professor in the field of media studies
- Andrew Groves, fashion designer
- Mayer Hillman, senior fellow emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute
- Peter H Millard, president of the UK Nosokinetics Group
- Chantal Mouffe, political theorist
- Walter Nurnberg, industrial photographer
- Charles Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine
- Ezra Pound, poet
- Martin Rowson, political cartoonist and novelist
- Jean Seaton, professor of media history
- Mitra Tabrizian, photographer
- Edmund de Waal, ceramic artist
- Alfred Waterhouse, architect and designer of Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum
- Brian Winston, Emmy award winning documentary script writer
The university has produced several notable alumni including government ministers, ambassadors, judges, a Nobel Prize winner, and alumni who have been influential in the fields of science, literature, music, sport, architecture and the visual arts.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to University of Westminster.|
- Polytechnic Touring Association
- Quintin Boat Club
- Studd Trophy
- Polytechnic F.C.
- The Polytechnic Stadium
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- City of Westminster
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