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Our history

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Our history

Today's Royal Holloway is formed from two colleges, founded by two social pioneers, Elizabeth Jesser Reid and Thomas Holloway. They were among the first places in Britain where women could access higher education.

Bedford College, in London, opened its doors in 1849, and Royal Holloway College's stunning Founder's Building was unveiled by Queen Victoria in 1886 – it’s still the focal point of the campus.

In 1900, the colleges became part of the University of London and in 1985 they merged to form what is now known as Royal Holloway.

Our timeline

Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges combine over 150 years of historic discoveries, notable alumni and academic innovation. Our virtual timeline shows some of the milestones along the way.

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