In 2016, Brunel celebrated 50 years as a university. Brunel’s history can be traced back much further to 1798 through the predecessor colleges of Borough Road College, Maria Grey College, Shoreditch College, West London Institute of Higher Education, Acton Technical College, and Brunel College of Technology.
Brunel’s rise since 1966 has been impressive and their reputation has grown year on year. Now a University of 12,552 students – 3,127 students engaged in postgraduate and research study (2017 figures) – their special approach is to combine academic rigour with the practical, entrepreneurial and imaginative approach pioneered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) is one of the great British engineers of the 19th century. Isambard was born into an industrious family, with his mother Sophia Kingdom working for the Royal Navy and father Marc Brunel being a prominent French engineer.
Isambard took on formal training as an engineer and went on to build twenty-five railway lines, over a hundred bridges, eight pier and dock systems, three ships and a pre-fabricated army field hospital. In addition, he was a keen social engineer, building housing estates, churches and hospitals.
Professor Heinz Wolff is perhaps Brunel’s most famous scientist, best known as a pioneer in the field of biological engineering. Having coined the phrase ‘bioengineering’, he established the Brunel Institute for Bioengineering in 1983. Renowned as an inventive and inspirational leader, Prof Wolff endeared himself to TV audiences during the 1970s and 80s as presenter of the BBC’s The Great Egg Race.
Other well-known alumni from Brunel include comedians Jo Brand and Lee Mack, footballer Tony Adams, politician John McDonnell, and sociologist Ralph Milliband.
In popular culture, Brunel University London has provided various film backdrops. The grade II listed lecture theatre block, designed by Richard Sheppard and completed in 1971, is famous for its bunker-like Brutalist architecture, and appears in the dystopian classic “A Clockwork Orange”. University locations have also featured in various TV shows including Spooks, The Sweeney, Inspector Morse and Silent Witness.
Brunel University London is now home to the Centre for the Effects of Radiological and Chemical Agents Read about the Centre Launch Day