student life

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Royal Holloway, University of London

Written by littlegoode

If you ask any Royal Holloway student about their university you’re sure to get one answer back – we live in Hogwarts. And yes, the campus is jaw-droppingly amazing, but there are several other cool facts you may not have known about the University of London college.

1. City and country

Although based in the Surrey countryside, Royal Holloway is part of the University of London group meaning that students can use all the UoL facilities in London. Royal Holloway even has a central London base in Bedford Square in Bloomsbury.

2. Most beautiful campus in the world

Royal Holloway has frequently been named as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. The Founders building and grounds cover almost 135 acres and is absolutely stunning.

3. Most flammable building in Britain

Home to almost 500 students, the Founders building is also the most flammable building in Britain. Grade 1 listed, the whole building is insulated with paraffin soaked straw. Students living in Founders have major restrictions on the electrical items they can have in their rooms. But it has been a university since 1879 without any fire issues. Touch wood.

4. Only women allowed

Royal Holloway was opened in 1886 by Queen Victoria as an all-women’s college. Male students weren’t permitted until 1965!

5. Worldwide

Royal Holloway has over 9,000 students from over 200 countries. Over 20% of its students are from countries outside Europe, making it one of the universities with the highest international intake in the UK.

6. Ancient history

The Magna Carta was signed just down the road from the university in 1215 by King John the First.

7. Spooky goings-on

The Picture Gallery in Founders is home to over 70 paintings dating back to the Victorian period, including the infamously haunted painting by Edwin Landseer which shows two polar bears tearing apart the remains of a ship (below). Legend says that any student who sees the painting while sitting an exam in the Gallery will fail, so it’s always covered up during exam season.

8. Sounding good

Royal Holloway has a famously good university choir which often features on Songs of Praise. It is the only university choir to maintain the tradition of daily sung morning services.

9. Famous alumni

The university has produced plenty of well known graduates, including KT Tunstall, George Eliot and Lenny Henry.

10. Everybody loves Downton

Royal Holloway featured in last year’s Christmas special of Downton Abbey – the perfect backdrop for everyone’s favourite period drama.

Have you been to Royal Holloway? What do you think? Any other facts that have been missed?