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University of Westminster

University of Westminster


1 History
2 Campus
3 Academics
4 Student life
5 Notable alumni and academics

The University of Westminster (informally Westminster) is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom.

Founded in 1838 as the Royal Polytechnic Institution, Westminster is one of Britain's oldest higher education institutions and was the first polytechnic to open in the UK.

Westminster currently serves more than 20,000 students from 150 countries and offers more than five hundred course offerings and a broad range of research study options. These range from more than 150 Bachelor's degree combinations, and one-year intensively taught Master's degrees. MPhil and PhD degrees are also available in every academic department.

The Polytechnic Institution opened in August 1838 to provide (in the words of its first prospectus) “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”. Sir George Cayley (1773–1857), the 'father of aeronautical engineering', became chairman of the provisional committee and later of the directors. The Polytechnic Institution received its charter of incorporation in 1839. Its gallery housed a large exhibition hall, lecture theatre and laboratories. Public attractions included exhibitions, working machines and models, scientific lectures, rides in a diving bell—a major attraction—and, from 1839, demonstrations of photography.[2] Early visitors included Prince Albert, under whose patronage the name of the Institution changed to the Royal Polytechnic Institution in 1841.

Professor Pepper, who became a director in the early 1850s, helped to establish a series of evening classes in educational and trade subjects. The Polytechnic organised an educational programme around the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the combination of education and entertainment captured the Victorian imagination.[citation needed]

In 1881 Quintin Hogg acquired the building at 309 Regent Street. His vision of The Polytechnic which reopened the following year, 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 "Regent Street Poly" developed an international reputation and became a model for technical and engineering education in London. 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.
Foyer at the Regent Street campus

Hogg saw international awareness as an important part of the development of the individual. 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 was the flagship of the post-war polytechnic movement and in 1970 amalgamated with the Holborn College of Law, Languages and Commerce to form the Polytechnic of Central London, followed in 1990 by integration with the Harrow College of Higher Education and its programmes in the creative arts and design. Degree-awarding authority resided with the UK council for national academic awards CNAA.

In June 1992 the Privy Council formally conferred university status with degree-awarding powers for taught courses and research degrees on the Polytechnic, whose name was changed to the University of Westminster. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II agreed to continue as the Patron of the University of Westminster.

The Marylebone campus
The entrance to the Regent Street Campus.

Westminster's headquarters are situated at 309 Regent Street in the West End of London where it has served as a centre for public education for over 170 years. It opened the first photographic studio in Europe, and was the first to show moving pictures to a paying British public.[3][self-published source?]

Westminster has recently completed a ten-year £130 million investment in its teaching and residential buildings. The University has four main campuses, three in central London: Regent Street, New Cavendish Street and Marylebone and the fourth in Harrow.

The Regent Street campus is the centre of the University and comprises a group of buildings clustered around the historic headquarters of 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.

The Marylebone campus is a striking white 1960's building on Marylebone Road directly opposite Madame Tussaud's and Baker Street underground station. The multi-million pound refurbishment of the campus has seen the creation of additional teaching and conference facilities, the expansion of the Hogg lecture theatre and the creation of the Inter:mission and P3 exhibition areas. The location of the Marylebone Campus is easily accessible by public transport and is adjacent to Paddington Gardens and a few minutes' walk from Regent's Park.

The Cavendish campus is a modern glass and steel building in New Cavendish Street (Fitzrovia) and situated adjacent to the BT Tower. It houses science, engineering and computer laboratories and is home to the Policy Studies Institute. It is close to Warren Street, Great Portland Street and Goodge Street underground stations and is a short walk away from University College London and SOAS.

The Harrow Campus includes a Business School, Computer School and Media School. It is also home to London Gallery West which exhibits a broad, exciting and controversial mix of contemporary media, art and design work. The nearest Tube station to the Harrow site is Northwick Park on the Metropolitan Line which takes 18 minutes from Baker Street.

P3 is a 14,000 sq ft (1,300 m2) space constructed in 2008 from the vast former concrete construction hall at the Marylebone campus. Having hosted London Fashion Week 2009, the Topshop Unique catwalk 2009 and the Diesel: U Music World Tour Party the venue is dedicated to innovation, experimentation and learning. P3 operates as a laboratory and meeting place for practitioners, industry and academia, aimed at both specialist and general public enthusiasm for architecture, design, media, fashion and visual and performing arts.

P3 works with a stable of distinctive international artists to support the development of their practice critically and in the field of research.

Westminster has more than 23,800 full-time and part-time students from London, other European countries and the global communities across the world. Its mission is that of “educating for professional life”.

Westminster operates the largest scholarship programme of its kind in the UK, with £4.8 million awarded annually to over 500 students and the University having won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.
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