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University College London: an architectural history, 1825–1939

Spencer, Amy Louise; (2021) University College London: an architectural history, 1825–1939. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines the architectural history of University College London (UCL) from its foundation to 1939. UCL traces its beginnings to 1825, when a group of radical thinkers set about establishing a secular, non-residential metropolitan university. Its first architectural expression was the grand neoclassical building constructed in 1827–9 to designs by William Wilkins. Only the central block, portico and dome of Wilkins’s scheme were completed, yet successive wing extensions gradually formed a neoclassical quadrangle in Gower Street. A hospital was built in 1833–4, securing space for clinical teaching. UCL was initially denied a charter and precluded from awarding degrees, a complication that was resolved by the creation of the University of London as a separate examining body in 1836. Over the next century, UCL and its hospital expanded in a gradual and piecemeal manner in line with advances in education, technology and healthcare. UCL’s estate became increasingly complex, with a mixture of purpose-built blocks and the adaptation of buildings in the vicinity. A wealth of archival records, along with documentary sources and field investigation, has been used to examine the historic core of UCL’s estate in Bloomsbury. Institutional identity and aspirations are analysed in concert with practical influences on building projects, such as finances and functionality. The matter of identity also arises in the attribution of buildings to specific architects, which points to a tradition of enlisting professors such as Thomas Leverton Donaldson, Thomas Hayter Lewis, Thomas Roger Smith, Frederick Moore Simpson and Albert Richardson. In practice, their work was informed by multiple voices such as committee members, academic staff, external consultants and benefactors. This research addresses significant gaps in knowledge of the buildings, planning and development of UCL, while considering issues of identity, attribution and methodology pertinent to the study of architectural history.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: University College London: an architectural history, 1825–1939
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138589
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