The south quadrangle at Royal Holloway

Ten things you didn’t know about Royal Holloway

A lot of our visitors, conference delegates and wedding guests aren’t familiar with our rich history, but are always interested to find out more. To kick start the new year, we’ve put together a few interesting facts about Royal Holloway so that next time you visit, you’ll be able to share some of this knowledge with other visitors.

  1. Royal Holloway was founded by self-made millionaire Thomas Holloway, as a “£600,000 gift to the nation”. Holloway made his fortune in patent medicines, selling Holloway’s pills and ointments. His statue, alongside his wife Jane, stands today in the centre of the south quadrangle.
  2. Jane Holloway suggested building a college for women’s education as a means to spending some of her husband’s huge fortune. The first 28 women began their studies at Royal Holloway in 1887.
  3. The imposing Grade 1 Listed Founder’s Building, with its turrets, towers and 700 chimneys, was inspired by the sixteenth-century Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, France. The first brick was laid in 1879 by George Martin Holloway, Thomas Holloway’s brother-in-law.
  4. The Founder’s Building was designed by architect William Henry Crossland, after which our Crossland’s Bar, which leads out into the south quadrangle, is named.
  5. On 30 June 1886 the college was opened as a college for women, by Queen Victoria who graciously permitted the use of “Royal” in the name by Royal mandate. Her statue remains to this day in the centre of the north quadrangle.
  6. Royal Holloway was admitted as a School of the University of London in 1900. Male post graduate students were admitted in 1945, but Royal Holloway did not become fully co-educational until 1965.
  7. The Founder’s Building is home to the Picture Gallery, number 39 of The Telegraph’s “50 hidden gems”. The collection houses 77 paintings from the Victorian period, given to the college at the time of its founding by Thomas Holloway. The gallery is open to the public for group tours of the art collection or as a venue for a special event, such as a wedding reception, function or conference.
  8. The Royal Holloway campus is set in 135 acres of parkland in Egham, Surrey and has a state-of-the-art sports centre with world class floodlit outdoor pitches and courts providing all weather playing surfaces for a wide range of sports.
  9. Royal Holloway merged with Bedford College in 1985 and the Royal Holloway Bedford New College was inaugurated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1986.
  10. The Founder’s Building has featured in many films and TV shows including Basic Instinct, The Avenger’s: Age of Altron, Downton Abbey, Antiques Roadshow and   Howard’s End.