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Just 180 years ago, the benefits of a university education in England were restricted to men who were members of the Church of England; UCL was founded to challenge that discrimination. UCL was the first university to be established in England after Oxford and Cambridge, providing a progressive alternative to those institutions’ social exclusivity, religious restrictions and academic constraints.

The university's main building was designed by William Wilkins who went on to build the National Gallery.

Some Interesting Facts:

  • It was the first university in England to admit students of any race, class or creed, and the first to welcome women on equal terms with men.
  • Students from outside London, and from overseas were present from the off.
  • A teaching programme was established in which religious beliefs would not constrain the dissemination of knowledge and exploration of ideas.
  • Academic disciplines were introduced as required by the emerging industrial and commercial society. As a result it was the first English university to offer the systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine.

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