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  • Click on for interesting items/locations about women students
  • Click on for those about the religious minorities
  • And for the ethnic minorities please go for


11. College Hall


12. University Hall/Dr. William's Library


13. The North West Wing/ Former Pearson Building

10. The Wilkins Terrace

3. Special Collection

6. UCL Art Museum7. Main Quad8. The Cruciform

1. IOE2. Student Centre

4. The Flaxman Gallery5. Bloomsbury Theatre

The Flaxman Gallery

A place of surprise under the Portico Dome

The Main Library’s Flaxman Gallery, located beneath the Portico dome, is the most ornate gallery in UCL. As the largest collection of John Flaxman’s work, the Gallery is not only highly valuable, it also reflects the founding, anti-Anglican, ideology of college in its artistic disposition. The lack of Anglican religious iconography, the large painting of Jeremy Bentham (a professed anti-Anglican and atheist) and the numerous Grecian statues demonstrate the University’s central commitment to Christian plurality and ideological function.

There are also sculptures of Hindu and Muslim religious figures in the gallery, ultimately demonstrating the institution’s broader commitment to representing religious minorities beyond the Christian faith. The fact that the Flaxman Gallery, with its religiously diverse and Anti-Anglican depictions and statues, is in the most central part of the College points to centrality of religious plurality to the University’s identity.

Click to view all pictures in full screen!

The Bust at UCL Art Museum

The portrait and the bust prortray an English political radical and classical historian who was also one of the founders of UCL and, at 33, became the youngest member of the original Council. But his connection with UCL was broken by the appointment of John Hoppus, a religious minister, to the Chair of Philosophy, and he was re-elected to the Council in 1849. He opposed James Martineau, who was regarded as a preeminent Unitarian divine, to succeed John Hoppus after his resignation and introduced a resolution prohibiting ministers of any denomination from holding the Chair of Philosophy of Thought and Logic. He always insisted on establishing a university with a universal instruction system independent of all religious education. He made his last donation to UCL at the time of his death on the condition that he would not donate any money if the Council appointed any minister of religion to the Professorship of Mind and Logic. He consistently adhered to and implemented the notion of following the rules of UCL religious neutrality.

Things you can't miss on your way to the Main Library:

Take a glimpse into the life of our first women students from the two artefacts in the Special Collection

1887: Students in Professor Lankester’s Zoology Lab in UCL Special Collections.

London’s Ladies Educational Association Prospectus. 1873-1874.

It is undeniable that UCL was the first university in England to admit female students, yet the claim of it being the pioneer of co-education is somehow dubious. As shown by the timetable for women students in 1873-74, all of their classes were scheduled half an hour later to avoid 'awkward encounter' with their male counterparts on their way to lectures.

But things gradually picked up. In 1878, the University of London decided to award women formal degrees and admit women on fully equal terms as men in all faculties except Medicine. The photo on the left taken in 1887 also captured the moment at which women students sat in the same classroom and absorbed the same knowledge as men.

Click on the pictures to view them in full screen!

UniVersIty Hall

The First Hall of Residence at UCL

The initial design of the University Hall

Later converted into the Dr Williams Library, the way it looks now:

University Hall, also known as Dr Williams's Library in Gordon Square, was UCL's first Hall of residence from 1848 to 1849. The Hall was built by the Unitarians in commemoration of the Dissenters' Chapels Act of 1844, 'the first recognition by the legislature', as an inscription on an interior wall originally proclaimed, 'of the principle of unlimited religious liberty'.

College Hall

The First Female Residence in UCL

College Hall opened 1882 for women students studying at UCL or School of Medicine. Elanor Grove and Rosa Morison (see from the picture on the left) were the eminent founders as well as the first principal and vice principal of the hall.

Click on the picture to see the interior of the College Hall nowadays!

Rosa Morison, Lady Superintendent of Women Students at UCL for nearly 30 years (standing). She is photographed with her close friend and companion Eleanor Grove (seated), Principal of College Hall

The internal deco of the room may imply UCL was not as disruptive as it could have been. On one hand, the accommodation signifies conforming to the arguably misogynistic standards held to women at the time, and the hostility towards gender equality in higher education, which is being upheld rather than disrupted via this decor. However, it may also be seen as an unfortunate necessity in order to allow the truly disruptive admission of women to the institution, still providing opportunities regardless of gender without excess retaliation from the public.

Japanese garden

One space at UCL to commemorate the Asian pioneers

Click on the picture to get a closer look at the monument, the statue, and how UCL students interact with the space nowadays!

Among the five young men (the 'Choshu Five') in the picture were:

If a current UCL student were asked to pick a spot on campus that most directly reflects upon the life of their non-white alumni, it would very likely to be the Japanse Garden. Judging by its name, it's pretty easy to tell that this space is dedicated to the commemoration of our Japanese pioneers, who arrived in UCL as the very first batch of students from Asia after traveling across half the world.

  • Hirobumi Ito, Japan’s first Prime Minister and ‘the Father of the Japanese Constitution’.
  • Kaoru Inoue, who became Japan’s first Foreign Minister, also known as ‘the Father of modern Japanese diplomacy’.
  • Yozo Yamao, ‘the Father of Japanese engineering’.
  • Masaru Inoue, ‘the Father of Japanese railways’.
  • Kinsuke Endo, ‘the Father of the modern Japanese mint’.

Following the footsteps of the 'Choshu Five', another group of 19 Japanese students arrived at UCL in 1865. By 2017, UCL has become the second biggest recruiter of Japanese students in the UK. UCL's intimate collaboration with Japan continues up until now, as demonstrated by the beautiful statue near the entrence to the student centre.

The names of the 'Choshu Five' and their 19 followers are inscribed in Japanese on the one side of the monument. Be sure to walk to the back to see if you can find the name of Japan's first PM in English!Also check the sides of the monument, see if you can find the beautiful inscription that reads:はるばるとこころつどいてはなさかる When distant minds come together, cherries blossom.

Inspired by the 'Choshu Five', Bouke de Vires designed this beautiful piece of art in 2021. The pannel of introduction for this statue needs to be carefully located since it is half hidden by the pillars of the student centre. From the introduction you'll find the correct answers to the questions!

The Japanese Garden for current students is more than a static space for commemorating the 'Choshu Five' who greatly diversified the student community of UCL in its early days. Check out this video to see how students' fondness for the Japanse Garden as a nice space for relaxation and socializing infuses it with dynamism:

Click on this bubble to make some educated guesses about the design and the meaning of this statue!

The Renamed Architectures in UCL

Pearson Building and UCL's Dishonourable Legacy

  • Who is Karl Pearson

Karl Pearson was the appointed successor of Francis Galton, who coined the term ‘eugenics’ and endowed UCL with the post of ‘Galton Professor of Eugenics’. Pearson is one of the former UCL staff that receives the most denunciation nowadays. Not only did he dedicate his time at UCL to developing the pseudo-science of eugenics that was later intstrumentalized for justifying some of the most appalling crimes in human history, he also openly proclaimed at the dinner party for his retirement that the future for eugenics lies with ‘Hitler and his proposals to regenerate the German people’, insinuating a sense of appreciation for the Nazi theory of ‘racial hygiene and purification’.

  • Why to dename the Pearson Building in 2020?

Click the image to see if you can find out how the map for the same area of UCL cmpus changed from 2010 to 2020!

Conserving an architecture named after a eugenicist is not only contradictory with the institutional nature of UCL (which now accepts students from over 150 countries around the world), but also, according to Professor Arthur, suggests that UCL celebrates eugenic ideas or the figures behind them, therefore creating an unwelcoming environment for many in our community. Permanently obliterating the name ‘Pearson’ from UCL’s map is definitely something that all UCL staff and students should be ‘delighted’ about.

Click to read more about Pearson's attitude towards Nazism.