ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting the Main Building of University College London: Classical Hub of a Great, World Centre of Learning

Updated on July 6, 2019
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
University College London
University College London | Source
"The London University" as drawn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd and published in 1827/28.
"The London University" as drawn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd and published in 1827/28. | Source

Pillared magnificence by William Wilkins at a leading, scholarly institution

The striking and monumental Corinthian portico by William Wilkins (1778-1839)(1) at what is now University College London dates from 1827. What was originally founded as London University in 1826 was incorporated together with King's College into the University of London in 1836, and known as University College.

Wilkins worked in partnership with J.P. Gandy-Deering. The exisiting dome, T.L. Donaldson set back from the top the portico, dates from 1848, an earlier dome having been replaced. The portico resembles another of Wilkins's later creatons, the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.

The historic portico, facing Gower Street, is a hub for students and staff.

The College is often referred to as UCL.

Visitors may gain a good view of the portico from the Gower Street entrance, although those wishing to enter the quadrangle are advised to ask permission at the porter's lodge.

Rabindranath Tagore, 1909
Rabindranath Tagore, 1909 | Source
Sir William Ramsay
Sir William Ramsay | Source
Map location of London, England
Map location of London, England | Source

Nobel Prizewinners; and friendly rivalries

Among the College's 26 Nobel Prizewinners have been Rabindranath Tagore (in Literature, 1913), Sir William Ramsay (in Chemistry, 1904) and Otto Hahn (in Chemistry, 1944).

At an informal level, and historically, University College London was a great rival of King's College, London. Some of the reason for this may have disappeared in the mists of time. But part of this may have related to the fact that while King's was an Anglican foundation, University College was secular (2).

Punctuation convention

To be precise, officially there is no comma within the phrase 'University College London', the name for the College, a constituent institution of the Federal University of London.


(1) Interestingly, while Wilkins was known for his emphasis on Classical Revival style in architecture, he also worked in Gothic; various structures at Cambridge reflect the latter style, including the Gatehouse at King's College.

(2) At times, University College took its secularism so seriously that when in the 19th century moves were made to appoint an ordained Unitarian minister to a Professorship, albeit not to teach theology, there were those in the College leadership who successfully objected! (The seeds here, perhaps, of some contemporary opinion which interprets 'freedom of religion' to be 'freedom from religion', a rather different concept.)

Also worth seeing

London , England, has so many visitor attractions and historic buildings that it would be impossible to give an adequate summary of them here; but a very few of these include:

Trafalgar Square, with the National Gallery (also designed by William Wilkins — see above) and Canada House; Buckingham Palace; Westminster Abbey; St Paul's Cathedral; the Houses of Parliament. The University of London's Senate House is another fine, monumental structure.

Oxford (distance: 95 kilometres) an outstanding university city, with fine architecture; the Bridge of Sighs, the Radcliffe Camera and the Shedonian Theatre are, among many other fine structures, worth seeing.

Cambridge (distance: 95 kilometres), another outstanding university city; among its architectural treasures are Senate House and King's College Chapel. The Backs on the Cam River are especially picturesque.


How to get there

United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Underground and train services link Heathrow Airport with Central London. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)