University of Westminster

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Baker Street campus
Baker Street campus

The University of Westminster is a British university in London, formed in 1992 as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992, which allowed the London Polytechnic (Polytechnic of Central London or PCL ) to rename itself as a university. The London Polytechnic itself was formed from the merger of the Holborn College of Law, Languages and Commerce and the Regent Street Polytechnic in 1971.



Its headquarters are on Regent Street in the West End of London. It has evolved over 150 years from the first institution in the UK to provide post-school education for working people. The University teaches more than 23,800 students, from 132 countries undertaking degrees, Masters, research, professional programmes and short courses. Many study part-time during the day or evening.


There had been an attempt to establish a polytechnic in Regent Street in 1838, but the Regent Street Polytechnic that became such a formative influence in English education and sport was founded in 1881.

The founder was Quintin Hogg who is described in a memorial plaque in the rebuilt Polytechnic building (1911) as an "Education and Christian Benefactor", who "expanded his work by founding the Polytechnic in 1881-2". In Portland Place, amidst the traffic, is a statue of Quintin Hogg which is a memorial to him, but also to those from the nearby Polytechnic who died during the First World War. The imagery of Hogg's statue conveys the values and priorities of his Polytechnic, because he is depicted giving equal value to book learning and sporting activity. In essence, it reflects the ethos of "Muscular Christianity" which was part of his education. Inside the Polytechnic building, now the Fyvie Hall of Westminster University, another plaque explains that the reconstruction in 1911 was a memorial to the late Edward VII and it refers to the commitment of the Polytechnic to the "physical and moral development of youthful subjects".

This twin commitment is further revealed by a double set of honours boards which reveal that, from 1898 until the establishment of what was to become the University of Westminster, it awarded an annual trophy for the best educational achievement and the best "athletic" performance, thereby by confirming the message of the nearby statue. The latter was the Studd Trophy. Over the years, the awards has been given to sportsmen from various disciplines, such as swimming, boxing and cycling, but it is clear that the majority of awards have been given to athletes. Six names stand out: Willie Applegarth (1912/13), Olympic medallist and the greatest of the pre-First World War sprinters; Albert Hill (1919/20), Olympic gold medallist and the greatest middle-distance runner of his time; Harry Edward (1922), Olympic sprint bronze medallist; McDonald Bailey (1950), the greatest sprinter of the immediate post-Second World War years; Colin Campbell (1968 and 1970), a great quarter miler; and Alan Pascoe (1971/72/73/74/75), one of the greatest hurdlers of all time.

This roll of honour explains why, of the many sports clubs that arose from the Regent's Street Polytechnic, the Polytechnic Harriers were the most remembered and celebrated. The Polytechnic Harriers became associated with the Chiswick track, but their name confirmed that they were connected to this important educational and sporting institution. However, the Polytechnic's Kinnaird and Sward Trophies are now no more, and the Polytechnic Marathon, founded after the London Olympic Marathon of 1908, has also ceased. Indeed, even the Polytechnic Harriers have been subsumed into another club. Nevertheless, the achievements of this unique establishment, especially in athletics, still stand the test of comparison with modern activities and clubs.

The other two sports with which the Polytechnic has a strong association are cycling and water polo, producing many internationals over a number of years.

Degrees offered

The University offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees via its departments:

School of Architecture and the Built Environment

School of Biosciences

School of Law

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages

School of Media, Arts and Design

School of Integrated Health

Cavendish School of Computer Science

Harrow Business School

Harrow School of Computer Science

Westminster Business School

Campuses and halls

This University is divided into four campuses; three of these are in central London and the fourth is in Harrow. The nearest tube station of the Harrow Campus is Northwick Park, on the Metropolitan Line, which takes 20 minutes from Baker Street. The campus includes the Business School, Computer School and Media School. Each campus contains a set of architecturally distinctive buildings and has its own library, IT and catering facilities.

The Regent campus has an inexpensive cafeteria.

The English language section has 14 classes and 200 students who come from every part of the world (Japan, China, France etc...). There is also a Learning Advice Centre in the library.

There are several Halls of Residence. Some of them are in central London, and one is based at the Harrow campus.

It was announced in February, 2005, that the University would cease all future enrolment on the German and Russian degree courses, following Italian the previous year. This meant that the Languages department would be left with just Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish.

List of Lecturers and Alumni

Notable Lecturers

Cherie Blair, wife of Tony Blair

Notable Alumni

External links

de:University of Westminster


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