Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Holloway, University of London
Motto Esse quam videri
Motto in English
To be, rather than to seem (to be)
Type Public research university
Established 1849: Bedford College
1879: Royal Holloway College
1900: became a constituent college of the University of London
1985: merger of Bedford College and Royal Holloway College
Endowment £75.8 million (31 July 2015)[1]
Chancellor The Princess Royal (University of London)
Principal Paul Layzell[2]
Administrative staff
Students 9,915 (2014/15)[3]
Undergraduates 7,170 (2014/15)[3]
Postgraduates 2,745 (2014/15)[3]
Location Egham, Surrey, England
Campus Suburban
Affiliations University of London, ACU, AMBA

Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), formally incorporated as Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, is a public research university and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It has three faculties, 20 academic departments and c. 9,265[4] undergraduate and postgraduate students from over 100 countries. The campus is just west of Egham, Surrey, within the Greater London Urban Area, although outside the M25 motorway and c. 19 miles (31 km) from the geographic centre of London.

The Egham campus was founded in 1879 by the Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Holloway. Royal Holloway College was officially opened in 1886 by Queen Victoria as an all-women college. It became a member of the University of London in 1900. In 1945, the college admitted male postgraduate students, and in 1965, around 100 of the first male undergraduates.[5][6] In 1985, Royal Holloway merged with Bedford College (another former all-women's college in London, which was founded in 1849 and, like Royal Holloway, joined the University of London in 1900 and became fully co-educational in 1965). The merged college was named Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (RHBNC), this remaining the official registered name of the college by Act of Parliament. The campus is dominated by the Founder's Building, a Grade I listed red-brick building modelled on the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, France.

Royal Holloway is ranked 27th in the UK and 173rd in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2016–17.[7] The guide has described Royal Holloway as "truly world class". Royal Holloway is ranked in 30th place in the world (9th in the UK) for 2016 in the category of "International Outlook", recognising its broader outlook as a global university.[8] The rankings use three separate indicators to judge "international outlook"—proportion of international staff and students, and research in terms of papers that are co-authored with at least one international partner.

Royal Holloway is highly rated for the wide-reaching impact of its research, scoring 98.9 per cent for citations (first in the UK), further cementing Royal Holloway’s status as one of the world’s premier research institutions.[7] It is particularly strong in arts and humanities. Admission into courses in English, Creative Writing, Psychology and Music are very competitive with a 9:1 applicants to place ratio.[9][10][11] Royal Holloway's degree courses in Music, Information Security, Physics, International Relations, Earth Sciences, and Media Arts are also particularly strong, frequently ranking in the top 10 of national subject rankings.[12] There are strong links and exchange programmes with leading institutions in the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong, notably Yale University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Hong Kong.[13] Royal Holloway was a member of the 1994 Group until 2013, when the group dissolved.[14]


Green plaque at Bedford Square, London

Royal Holloway College

Royal Holloway College, originally a women-only college, was founded by the Victorian entrepreneur Thomas Holloway in 1879 on the Mount Lee Estate in Egham.[15] The founding of the college was brought about after Holloway, seeking to fulfil a philanthropic gesture,[16] began a public debate through The Builder[16] regarding 'How best to spend a quarter of a million or more', at which point his wife proposed to build a college especially for women.[17] Holloway later increased his original sum of money to half a million, and today, the campus is still best known for its original 600-bed building, known as the Founder's Building, designed by William Henry Crossland and inspired by the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, France.[16][18] Sir Nikolaus Pevsner called the original college building "the most ebullient Victorian building in the Home Counties", and noted that together with its sister building the Holloway Sanatorium, it represents "the summit of High Victorian design". The Founder's Building, which is now Grade I listed,[19] was officially opened in 1886 by Queen Victoria,[15] who allowed the use of "Royal" in the college's name.[20][21] Founder's has been described by The Times as "one of Britain’s most remarkable university buildings", largely due to its elaborate architecture,[22] and according to The Sunday Times it "makes the college instantly recognisable".[18] The college also has a Chapel, completed in 1886 as one of the last parts of the university to be finished.[23] October 1887 saw the arrival of the first 28 students at Royal Holloway College.[23] It later became a constituent of the University of London in 1900, as did Bedford College, which eventually merged with Royal Holloway College.[15]

Merger of Royal Holloway College and Bedford College (1985)

Bedford College was founded by Elizabeth Jesser Reid in 1849 as a higher education college for the education of women.[17] Reid leased a house at 47 Bedford Square in the Bloomsbury area of London, and opened the Ladies College in Bedford Square. The intention was to provide a liberal and non-sectarian education for women, something no other institution in the United Kingdom provided at the time.[17] The college moved to 8 and 9 York Place (off Baker Street) in 1874, and then to Regent's Park in 1908. In 1900, the college became a constituent school of the University of London.[15] Like RHC, following its membership of the University of London, in 1965, it allowed male undergraduates to study on its premises for the first time.[17]

RHC and Bedford merged in 1985.[17] The pressure for the merger was due to a lack of government funding for higher education, and the college was named Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (RHBNC), with an inauguration being held at the College Chapel in 1986 by Elizabeth II.[17] The newest title remains the official registered name of the college, though this was changed for day-to-day use to "Royal Holloway, University of London" by the College Council in 1992.[17]

Since the merger with Bedford College, Royal Holloway has entered into collaborative discussions with Brunel University[24] and St George's, University of London. The latter project was cancelled in September 2009.[25] Royal Holloway, St George's and Kingston University continue to work together in the field of health and social care teaching and research.


Royal Holloway has forged successful academic links with other universities in the Greater London area and beyond. In 2004 Royal Holloway became a member of the WestFocus Knowledge Exchange based at Kingston University along with Brunel, Roehampton, Thames Valley Universities, University of Westminster and St George's, University of London. The WestFocus initiative was created to forge business and enterprise links between its member institutions and small to medium-size business partners in south-east England.[26] Royal Holloway's Department of Physics is a founding member of SEPnet, the south-east Physics Network, which supports collaboration between seven universities in south-east England on physics research, outreach and postgraduate teaching.[27] The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Research (JAI) is a major collaboration in the field of particle physics between Royal Holloway and the University of Oxford.[28] In the field of health and social care research, the SWan (South West London academic network) between Royal Holloway, St George's and Kingston University based at St George's in Tooting is another of Royal Holloway's major collaborative projects.[29] In 2011, Pearson, the international education company, and RHC set up a partnership. Royal Holloway is responsible for validating Pearson's new business degree. Currently, Royal Holloway awards University of London degrees but has the power to validate its own degrees, which it has not exercised so far.[30][31]



Royal Holloway
Location within Surrey
The interior of the chapel

Royal Holloway's campus is set in 135 acres (55 ha) of woodland, between Windsor and Heathrow.[22] Around 200 species of shrubs, 150 different types of tree and numerous wild flowering plants can be found in RHC's parkland.[23] The nearest station is Egham. The campus is about 40–50 minutes[32] from Waterloo station in central London about 19 miles (31 km) away,[15] and Windsor is 5 miles (8 km).[18] The campus is 2 miles (3.2 km) from M25 junction 13 and close to the M3, M4 and M40 and London Heathrow Airport.[15] RHC's worst feature is considered to be that "Egham is not known for its social scene",[18] but it has been noted that the campus's environment "offers the best of both worlds – friendly and relaxed on the one hand, dynamic and busy on the other."[15] The former principal, Stephen Hill, also commended its "superb campus environment and the close-knit nature of our community".[33] The Independent stated that the university is "Renowned for its friendly and supportive environment".[19]

Founder's Building

Main article: Founder's Building

The Founder's Building (known as Founder's), which dominates the campus, has striking north and south towers, two large quadrangles and contains a chapel, kitchen and dining hall, lecture theatre and the arts library along with student rooms and offices. Founder's has often been the centre of media attention and is a popular filming location for TV and film as a grandiose 'university' or 'public school'. Apart from ITV's 'Trinity', the 2006 film Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction starring Sharon Stone was partly filmed at the South Quad during summer 2005, the only location to be used outside London.[34] Some areas of the building were also made to look like a psychiatric institute for the film.[34] The Academy Award-winning movie Howards End had some scenes shot inside Founder's courtyard with the statue of Queen Victoria.[35] The BBC's Antiques Roadshow has used the North Quad of Founder's as a location for one of its antique filming days, and in 2002, external scenes for an episode of Midsomer Murders, ("Murder on St. Malley's Day"), featuring a fictional public school sports day, were partly shot inside the South Quad of Founder's.[35]

In autumn 2009, Founder's provided external settings for the ITV2 satirical drama, Trinity.[36] Founder's Picture Gallery and other internal rooms were also used to shoot scenes in September 2013 for ITV's Downton Abbey 2013 Christmas Special. In 2015, Royal Holloway's Founder's Building was featured in the film Avengers: Age of Ultron, the university appearing as itself.[37]

Campus redevelopment

The International Building

Between 2002 and 2008, the college underwent a £100 million investment programme and a re-development of its campus,[23] as a result of the merger with Bedford College and the sale of Bedford's site in Regent's Park.[22] A number of recent projects undertaken by Royal Holloway have included an extension to the School of Management (2005 and 2011) and the library (which holds half a million books). The biological sciences laboratories have also been renovated and the Windsor Building (opened in 2007) houses seminar rooms and a 400-seat auditorium.[38] In 2013, the Student Services Centre, which is a single point of contact for all non-academic enquiries, was opened in the Windsor Building. The Drama Department expanded its performance space with the opening of the Caryl Churchill Theatre, which seats almost 200 audience members across two levels and has a third floor for technical operation, in 2013. The department also uses the onsite 19th-century boilerhouse, which was converted into a performance space with a sprung dance floor in 2014.[39]

The International Building, opened in 2000 by HRH The Princess Royal,[21] houses the Language Centre along with the English, French, German, Italian and Hispanic Studies Departments.[40] The new developments have also been followed by the establishment of formal links with New York University, the University of Sydney, and Yale University,[22] and connections with the Royal College of Music means that music students at Royal Holloway have the opportunity to take lessons there.[22]

The size of the campus has allowed the college to develop some of the best sports facilities of any university institution in the London area,[41] and helped build the college's reputation as a sporting institution of excellence.[19] An aerobics studio, fitness suite, sports Hall, sports fields and tennis courts account for some of the sporting facilities that Royal Holloway offers.[42] The Sports Centre was refurbished in 2013 while a generous bequest by Margaret Young in 2014 enabled the college to further develop its sports facilities. New for the 2014/15 sporting season are world-class, floodlit outdoor pitches and courts, which provide all-weather playing surfaces for a wide range of sports.[43]

Situated on the campus are restaurants and cafès, a college shop, a bank, a health centre, a Chapel, a careers centre, teaching and social spaces and sports facilities.[15] As a result of an evaluation by People & Planet in 2007, Royal Holloway was ranked 60th out of 120 universities for environmental performance.[19] The university has put into place initiatives to enhance environmental performance, such as the improvement of woodland management to develop nature conservation and more recycling banks have been introduced to halls of residence.[44]

Organisation and administration


The College Council is the governing body of the college with responsibility for "financial integrity and setting the overall strategic direction of Royal Holloway."[45] There are 25 members of the council, many of which are lay members from outside Royal Holloway who are initially appointed for five years.[45] A total of 16 lay members are appointed; two from local authorities; one selected by the Privy Council; another by the University of London; two more are appointed as alumni from Royal Holloway, Bedford College or Royal Holloway College; and the rest are chosen to offer a range of skills and experience.[45] The Council's Chairman, who is appointed for five years, is also a lay member. One of The Chairman's duties is to chair a number of committees including the Remuneration Committee, which handles the pay and benefits of the senior staff.[45] The Principal is answerable to the Chairman.

The remaining members of the Council comprise three elected by non-academic members of staff, two elected by academics and one member of academic staff elected by the Academic Board. There is also one student member elected by the students.

Coat of arms

Royal Holloway's coat of arms consists of the Royal Holloway shield and its surrounding elements. There are three crescents shown on the coat of arms, which are taken from Thomas Holloway's own coat of arms.[46] Taken from the Bedford coat of arms, the field is coloured black and gold in a chequered design, with the addition of ermine spots (feather-like symbols representing ermine tails) from the Royal Holloway coat.[46] Placed between two black lozenges, there is a lamp of learning. Traditionally, the lozenge is worn on the arm of unmarried women or widows, which places significance on the coat of arms' lozenges as it acts as a reminder that the colleges were founded for women.[46] Below, the motto is displayed which is taken from the arms of Bedford College, and reads esse quam videri.[46]

The Royal Holloway shield was created following the merger of Bedford and Royal Holloway Colleges in 1985. The shield appears (in a black and white form) on legal documents and stationery for legal reasons, along with the following: "Incorporated by Act of Parliament. Royal Holloway and Bedford New College."[46]

The use of the university's identifying marks is governed by the Communications and External Relations Department.

Faculties, schools and departments

The university is made up of a number of schools and departments organised into three faculties,[47] and 20 academic departments.[22] One Dean heads each faculty, and are supported by Deputy Deans.[48] The Principal takes the role of appointing The Heads of Department, who in turn report to their faculty's Dean.[48] The faculties are as follows:

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

  • Department of Classics
  • Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance
  • Department of English
  • Department of History
  • Department of Media Arts
  • Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures
  • Department of Music
  • Department of Politics & International Relations (including Philosophy and European Studies)
  • Department of Social Work

Faculty of Management, Economics and Law

  • Law, Criminology & Sociology
  • Department of Economics
  • School of Management

Faculty of Science

  • School of Biological Sciences
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Earth Sciences
  • Department of Geography
  • Information Security Group
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Physics
  • Centre of Professional Studies
  • Department of Psychology


In the financial year ended 31 July 2013, Royal Holloway had a total income (including share of joint ventures) of £142m (2011/12 – £137m) and total expenditure of £136m (2011/12 – £129m).[49] Key sources of income included £62m from tuition fees and education contracts (2011/12 – £54m), £33m from Funding Council grants (2011/12 – £39m), £16m from research grants and contracts (2011/12 – £14m) and £1.8m from endowment and investment income (2011/12 – £3.1m).[49]

During the 2012/13 financial year Royal Holloway had a capital expenditure of £10.9m (2011/12 – £6.2m).[49] At year end Royal Holloway had endowments of £74m (31 July 2012 – £70m) and total net assets of £195m (31 July 2012 – £187m).[49]


The Main Gate

Royal Holloway employs around 2,300 members of staff, including 534 academic staff and 132 research staff.[23] The total number of undergraduate and postgraduate students is 9,915,[3] from 100 countries.[15]


In the Research Excellence Framework (REF), published on Thursday 18 December 2014, it was confirmed that Royal Holloway sits within the top 25 per cent of UK universities for 'world-leading' and 'internationally excellent' research. In the REF assessment, 81 per cent of Royal Holloway's research is rated as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*), which is an increase of over 20 per cent from RAE 2008, which is the last time an exercise on this scale was conducted.

In addition, 30 per cent of Royal Holloway's research is rated as world-leading (4*), which is an increase of more than 50 per cent on 2008 when 19 per cent of Royal Holloway's research was ranked in this category.

Twelve out of 17 departments were ranked in the top quartile for research in the 4* and 3* categories, with seven of Royal Holloway's departments rated in the top 10. Royal Holloway's Geography Department is number one in England for 4* and 3* research, while Earth Sciences is second, Psychology fourth, Mathematics fifth and Media Arts ninth in the same categories, to name just a few.

On 14 March 2014, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, were welcomed to Royal Holloway when they attended a ceremony to celebrate the Regius Professorship being bestowed on the Department of Music: the first of its kind. The Music Department was awarded the Regius Professorship by the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee. The prestigious award acknowledges the university's exceptionally high standards of music teaching and research.

The current research policy chief of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, David Sweeney and his predecessor Rama Thirunamachandran were both sourced directly from Royal Holloway.[50]


Royal Holloway runs a variety of academic degree programmes, including Single Honours and Joint Honours, with fees of £9,000 for full-time undergraduate students (2015–2016 entry) and some financial help schemes[51] The study of an undergraduate programme leads to one of five University of London degrees, which include Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science (Economics), Bachelor of Music and Master in Science.[52] Discounted fees are offered to students who stay on to complete a postgraduate degree.[22] The university also runs e-degrees in history and business management.[22]

On a competitive basis, Principal's Excellence Scholarships worth £3,000 a year are given to students who achieve AAA+ and have applied to study Maths, Physics, Modern Languages or European Studies at Royal Holloway from September 2015. Other bursaries and scholarships are also offered to students, including bursaries of £1,750 per year for undergraduate students with a family income less than £25,000.[18]

Royal Holloway is particularly strong in the arts and humanities;[22] "cultural and artistic opportunities are hard to rival with excellent theatres, high-profile student media outlets and a strong musical tradition", wrote The Sunday Times.[18] In the most recent research reviews, French, German, Earth Sciences and Music were judged to be of an international standard,[22] with 5* ratings.[19] The Guardian UK University Guide in 2005 ranked the Language Department ninth in Britain.[53]

In Biological Sciences and Psychology, teaching assessments awarded top scores to the departments, in addition to all of the sciences being rated "nationally outstanding" for research in 2001,[22] managing to obtain the highest 5 or 5* awards.[18] In the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) of 2008, Royal Holloway's School of Biological Sciences was ranked joint third achieving a proportion of 4* and 5* rankings.

The School of Management has all three of its MBA programmes accredited by AMBA, and obtained management school status in 1993.[54] At present, the school has 1,000 undergraduate students, in addition to 480 postgraduates.[54] Royal Holloway also runs the University of London MBA distance-learning programme, in 2008 the MBA in International Management was ranked as one of the world’s 40 best distance-learning MBAs by the Financial Times.[55]

The History department is traditionally one of the best in the country and many of the college's most notable academics are longstanding members of the department. The department has been recognised as a centre for research excellence and has received equally good teaching reviews. It remains the University of London's biggest History Department.[20]

An Advanced Skills Programme is also run at the university, featuring information technology, communication skills and foreign languages.[22] The 2007 Sunday Times University Guide lists all of the following subjects taught at Royal Holloway as excellent: classics and ancient history; drama, dance and cinematics; economics; geology; history; maths, statistics and operational research; organismal biosciences; physics and astronomy; and psychology.[18]

The number of students from working-class homes has seen an increase at Royal Holloway, though undergraduates from independent schools count for a quarter of the university's undergraduates,[22] and it is listed as having one of the lowest state school intakes.[56]

Study-abroad programmes

Royal Holloway has developed a variety of study-abroad programmes, allowing its students to spend a year in institutions including;[13]

Royal Holloway collaborates with Queen Mary, University of London to help run programmes at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP), a central academic body of the University of London in Paris, France.[22][57] This offers undergraduate and graduate students the chance to study University of London ratified French Studies degrees in France.[57] Students who take a degree in French, German, Italian or Hispanic Studies will all take a year abroad as an integral part of the course.[58]

Reputation and rankings

(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[64]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[65]
(2017, national)

Its graduate unemployment rate is "consistently among the very lowest", with only 3.2% of graduates unemployed.[18] Royal Holloway is 2nd out of 90 universities in England and Wales for the number of students going into graduate employment.[66] However, according to Complete University Guide 2016, the university has seen a drop in graduate employability since 2007/8 with a graduate prospect of only 62.2% ranking it 77th out of 126 universities in the UK.[67] Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of universities in the UK for overall satisfaction (89%), according to the National Student Survey 2014.[68]

The university is popular with both state-educated and privately educated students, with the latter group currently accounting for around 18% of all students.[69] In 2014–15, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings[70] ranked the college 47th in Europe and 118th in the world.

Royal Holloway was ranked 29th overall in the The Sunday Times 10-year (1998–2007) average ranking of British universities based on consistent league table performance.[71] Students graduating in 2008/9 expressed dissatisfaction at the drop in the league tables. They felt cheated that RHC's reputation had suffered so dramatically in such a short period.[72] In an interview with The London Student, one student – having been awarded three 'A's at A level – remarked that he felt as if the college had let him down. It was subsequently claimed, in an article featured in The Founder, that an administrative error had resulted in an incorrect value being submitted to league table publishers which quoted an inflated student/staff ratio of 400:1. It was said that this mistake explained the college's sudden fall in the university rankings.[72] However, in 2010 the college benefited from upgraded evaluation methods used by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[73] They ranked the college as 88th in the world,[74] and 22nd in Europe.[75] In 2016 Royal Holloway was ranked 14th in the world for Performing Arts by the QS University Rankings.

Following Imperial College London's withdrawal, Royal Holloway is now placed fourth amongst the colleges of the University of London federation, behind LSE, University College London, King's College London.[76]

Royal Holloway has a collection of important paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and watercolours from the 17th century and later. Artists include Sir John Everett Millais, Edward Burne-Jones, Christopher Nevinson, John Nash and Dame Laura Knight. The gallery is in Founder’s and is open to the public every Wednesday during the autumn and spring terms and some weekends throughout the year. At the heart of the collections are the legacies of two Victorian collectors: founder Thomas Holloway and artist Christiana Herringham (1852–1929). Their collections have been enhanced with additional acquisitions and commissions. Following the death of Herringham part of her ecletic art collection, including paintings by her and other women artists as well as Indian miniatures and Japanese woodblock prints, was given to Bedford College by her husband. Having merged with Royal Holloway, these are now part of Royal Holloway's art collection. Several items are on display on the Victorian corridor including a very personal portrait of her children. Other items can be seen by appointment.[97]

The initial plans for the college did not include a picture gallery but Holloway was inspired to start his own art collection for his students after his brother-in-law visited Vassar College, then the world’s leading college for women, which had a superb collection of art. In 1881, at the age of 81, Holloway started to buy paintings to form his collection. He amassed paintings at a fast rate and he had completed his art collection by 1883. In total he purchased 77 paintings. In most cases he bought from Christie’s auction house. In two cases he broke the record for the highest sum ever paid at auction for a contemporary artist in order to buy the pictures he desired. Highlights of the collection include Sir John Everett Millais’ ‘The Princes in the Tower’ (1878), Sir Edwin Landseer’s ‘Man Proposes, God Disposes’ (1864), Edwin Long’s ‘Babylonian Marriage Market’ (1875) and William Powell Frith’s ‘The Railway Station’ (1862).

The pieces in the Herringham collection reflect her interests in the old masters, Indian art and women’s suffrage. The collections are a teaching resource for the Victorian Studies Centre for teaching and research in Victorian art, architecture and literature, including a taught MA under the Department of English. It is also used to teach students from departments including history, geography, drama and media arts.

Between 1993 and 1995, in order to fund the maintenance of Founder's, three of the most valuable paintings were sold for a total of £21m, a Turner fetching £11m on its own.[98] [99] The principal at the time, Dorothy Wedderburn, began the sale process which was completed by her successor, Norman Gowar. The paintings were a Turner ("Van Tromp going about to please his Masters, Ships at Sea, getting a good wetting" c.1844);[100][101] a Constable ("A Sketch for View on the Stour, nr Dedham" c.1821/2)[102] and a Gainsborough ("Peasants going to Market: Early Morning" c.1770)[103] The controversial decision was made by principal Dorothy Wedderburn. The remaining paintings had a current value of £16.6 million in 2014.[23] The Turner is now in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.[100] There are no figures available for the Herringham collection.

Student life

The Students' Union building

Students' Union

The Royal Holloway Students' Union (SURHUL) actively represents and provides a service for the needs and interests of all students studying at Royal Holloway. It is claimed to have "a reputation as one of the best unions in the London area", in words of The Independent.[19] The Students' Union provides much of the on-campus entertainment, organising and sponsoring the sport clubs and special-interest societies, on top of providing welfare advice to students through the Student Advice Centre.[104]

The Students’ Union runs general meetings, which provide an opportunity to discuss issues, make student announcements and engage in lively debate. Whilst representatives are elected to sit on and run a General Meeting, any student is eligible to attend, vote and have their say. The direction and development of the Students’ Union is the responsibility of the Trustee Board, which is made up of two student trustees, one College trustee, three external trustees and four student Sabbatical Officers.

The Sabbatical Officers are elected for one year in office and work full-time either during or after completing their degree. These Officers are assisted by 13 elected Executive Officers who work as unpaid volunteers alongside their studies.

The Union also employs more than 20 permanent members of staff who oversee the administrative and commercial activities of the organisation. The main Union building on campus includes a large function hall, three bars, the Rialto food outlet and its administrative offices. Elsewhere on campus, the Union operates Medicine – a bar and games venue designed by the creators of the Ministry of Sound – and the campus pub The Stumble Inn.[105]

Student media

The Orbital is the Royal Holloway campus magazine and published by the Students' Union, covering subjects from higher education news, opinion, arts, and reviews.[106] The original official Royal Holloway student publication was in the format of a newspaper called The Egham Sun, but this was replaced with the magazine edition in the early 1990s.[106] The magazine is regularly published in print and online.

The Students' Union is also responsible for the student and community radio station Insanity Radio, established in 1998.[107] Available locally on 103.2 FM and 1287 kHz, Insanity broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with live presenters in the studio from 8am-2am daily in term time and some holiday periods.[107] The station is also available worldwide through the internet.[108] The station takes its name from the Holloway Sanitorium, founded by Thomas Holloway, along with the College that became Royal Holloway. Insanity prides itself on being non-commercial and for serving the student body and local community with chart and chat, new music, news and specialist music shows. The station has twice won the Silver Award for Best Student Radio Station at BBC Radio 1's Student Radio Awards.[107] The station was awarded a community radio station licence in early 2010, and on 7 March moved to FM, broadcasting on 103.2 MHz.

In March 2013, Royal Holloway's unique broadcasting and recording brand RhubarbTV relaunched. Run by students, for students, rhubarbTV is Royal Holloway's student television station. It offers a brand new student media experience across the campus. The station allows students to engage with numerous aspects of television production: from producing to writing, directing to acting, or filming to editing: there are ample opportunities for students to get involved, whether they want to hone in on existing skills or develop new ones they never knew they had. In June 2014, rhubarbTV was named the Royal Holloway Media Outlet of the Year at the first-ever Student Media Awards.[109]

The Founder is the independent student newspaper. Founded in 2006, 4,000 free copies are printed and distributed fortnightly across campus and locally. It gets no financial support from the college or SURHUL and advertising revenue acquired by the students on the editorial board pays for printing. This means that editorial and financial responsibility is entirely that of students. In December 2010 the newspaper became the first student publication in the UK to launch an iPhone app.

At the 2007 Guardian Student Media Awards, Christian Anthony was shortlisted for the Student critic of the year Award.[110] At the inaugural 2011 London Student Journalism Awards Kate Brook, the newspaper's Features Editor, was recognised with the Best Feature Writer award.

Halls of residence

Most halls are part of the main campus,[18] and initially allocated to first year students who firmly accept a conditional or unconditional offer.[41] Accommodation prices at the university can vary, ranging from £85-£163 per week. Halls are either self-catered or catered, with students living in the latter entitled to a 50 per cent discount off the normal price of the majority of food sold in the dining halls. Around 2,900 students live in halls of residence.[22]

The Founder's Building houses 493 students in original Victorian rooms and converted space, which underwent refurbishment in 2012. Meals for catered students are provided in Founder's dining hall.[111]

Also on campus, Gowar and Wedderburn, a construction of 570 study bedrooms in two new blocks opened in September 2004.[111] These halls were also used as accommodation for rowers at the 2012 Olympic Games.[112]

Similar accommodation blocks, named Butler, Tuke and Williamson, were completed in September 2007 to replace the ageing Athlone, Cameron and Williamson Halls.[111] Of the waste created by the demolition of Athlone, Cameron and Williamson, 98 per cent was recycled.[44] All five of these new halls were named after former principals and have been designed to be environmentally friendly, accomplished by sedum-planted roofs that change colour by season,[19] as well as being designed to improve insulation.[44] In an assessment used to distinguish the environmental performance of buildings, BREEMAN rated the Butler, Tuke and Williamson halls as "very good", as their construction was designed to reduce heat loss.[44]

Kingswood I and II are 1-mile (1.6 km) away. These halls hold over 400 students, and a free bus service operates to the campus.[111] Other accommodation includes Highfield Court (125 students), Penrose Court (200 students), Reid Hall (287 students) and Runnymede Hall (441 students), which was opened by HRH The Princess Royal in 1992.[21]


Notable alumni

Royal Holloway College, Bedford College and RHUL have about 65,000 alumni. Notable amongst them are:

Notable staff

The following is a list of notable office-holders, academics and other teachers or researchers:


In date order with years served

Royal Holloway College including the merged college

Bedford College

See also


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