University College Hospital

Survey of London: Volume 21, the Parish of St Pancras Part 3: Tottenham Court Road and Neighbourhood. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1949.

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'University College Hospital', in Survey of London: Volume 21, the Parish of St Pancras Part 3: Tottenham Court Road and Neighbourhood, (London, 1949) pp. 85-86. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]


In 1828, when the College in Gower Street (which at first represented the New University of London and was to become University College (fn. n1) ) was built, a small Dispensary was opened in George Street, Euston Square, in connection with the medical classes of the University, which were to develop into the Faculty of Medicine. The Dispensary soon proved inadequate for its purpose and the College opened a public fund and gave a site opposite its own buildings in Gower Street to erect a hospital. The architect was Alfred Ainger, and the foundation stone was laid by the twelfth Duke of Somerset on 20th May, 1833. Lord John Russell, who distributed the prizes to the students of the Medical School, was also present at the ceremony. (fn. n2) In 1836 the University of London was reconstituted and the title of University College was given to the Gower Street institution; in the following year the hospital, which had so far been known as the North London Hospital, changed its name to University College Hospital. In 1851 the former title was added and it has since remained the North London or University College Hospital.

In 1838 the south wing was added and in 1846 the north wing, the foundation stone of which was laid by Lord Brougham. Thereafter the hospital rapidly developed and was enlarged several times, until it became evident that rebuilding on a greater scale was necessary. The Council of University College raised the money to purchase an extension of the site, by public subscription, and Sir John Blundell Maple built and equipped the new hospital at a cost of £250,000. The architect was Alfred Waterhouse who worked on the suggestions of the Secretary, Mr. Newton H. Nixon, and Dr. G. V. Poore, a physician on the staff. It was planned with four diagonal wings, in the form of St. Andrew's Cross, radiating from a central block, and was built 1897–1906.

When in 1898 the University of London was again reconstituted, University College remained an integral part of the new educational body, but it was not possible for the hospital to be included in the same way. University College Hospital and Medical School became, therefore, an independent corporation by the University College London (Transfer) Act of 1905.

The hospital already occupied the island site contained by Gower Street, Grafton Way, Huntley Street and University Street. In 1907 a new Medical School, designed by Paul Waterhouse, was erected on the south side of University Street, between Huntley and Gower Streets, the gift of Sir Donald Currie, who gave £100,000 for its construction. Many other buildings for the various specialist branches of the hospital's work have since been built in the vicinity, and, outside the area, the National Dental Hospital in Great Portland Street has been acquired.

In its inauguration University College Hospital assisted in revolutionizing the whole system of medical education and at a later date (1920) the hospital and its medical school, as well as the Institute of Medical Sciences at University College, were enabled to take a leading part in the further advancement of medical teaching. This was at the instance of the Rockefeller Foundation which allocated a sum of more than three-quarters of a million to the two institutions (supplemented by a further grant of £435,000 to endow a Medical School) for this purpose. The names of distinguished men connected with the School include William Sharpey, Robert Liston, Sir William Jenner, Lord Lister, Sir William Gowers and Sir Victor Horsley. (fn. 79)


  • n1. See next Section, LXIII, p. 87.
  • n2. contemporary account of the ceremony and the inscription on the stone are given in the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 103, Part 1, p. 449.
  • 79. University College Hospital, London. The Story of the Past Century, 1833–1933.