Brunel is a world-class university based in Uxbridge, West London. Now over 40 years old, our mission has always been to combine academic rigour with the practical, entrepreneurial and imaginative approach pioneered by our namesake Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
We place great value on the usefulness of our research, which improves our understanding of the world around us and informs up‑to‑the‑minute teaching. Research is responsible for much of our collaborative work with business, industry and the public sector, providing opportunities for work experience, and demonstrate our commitment to producing professionally-minded graduates that employers want to recruit.
All Your Needs on One Campus
The big plus of living in a campus-based university is that the majority of your needs are catered for on-site, including the Library and Computer Centre, academic and teaching buildings, welfare services, catering and social facilities and even the halls of residence, if you are living in University accommodation.
You can organise most of your day-to-day needs without leaving the campus. There is a bank, a pharmacy, and a general shop where you can buy groceries, newspapers, stationery and even top up your phone card. The Computer Centre sells a range of IT-related products such as printers, network cables, memory sticks and disks, and the Students’ Union hosts a weekly fruit and veg market and Fairtrade stalls.
The University is just a 20-minute walk – or a short bus ride – from Uxbridge underground station, so it is a straightforward journey into the centre of the capital. There is also a night bus that can bring you from central London to the edge of the campus. The town of Uxbridge itself, which still has buildings dating back to its time as a Georgian market town, is a thriving commercial and business centre. Its major shopping complexes, The Pavilions and the Chimes Centre, boast a wide range of shops, cafes and a nine-screen multiplex cinema.
The name of Brunel University has become as well-known and respected in engineering circles as was the name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel a hundred years ago. Both reputations are well deserved, reflecting outstanding technical competence, creativity and commitment which have resulted in important advances in science and knowledge benefiting the lives of countless people. However, today, Brunel University's influence extends far beyond the fields of engineering, science and technology, which were its traditional strengths. A long succession of developments and mergers has brought the University from modest beginnings to a major force on the UK higher education scene.
The first step in the establishment of Brunel University was in 1928, when Middlesex County Council transferred its Junior Technical School, founded in Chiswick in 1910, to Acton in west London. Here it grew rapidly both in size and reputation, winning the respect of parents, employers and the education authorities alike. Its original purpose was to provide recruits for local industry and early statistics collected by HM Inspectors show that between 1929 and 1933, 90 per cent of boys leaving the school found employment in the engineering and building trades. This was to be a well-founded precedent to the unparalleled graduate employment record Brunel enjoys today.
When war broke out, Acton Technical College as it was now known, had to adapt the courses it offered to suit wartime needs. These now included basic technical instruction for women; domestic and clerical classes for members of the Women's Services (ATS, WAAF and WRNS); and a degree-level course for engineering cadets.
Brunel College of Technology
Immediately after the war, the government began a radical restructuring of further education to improve the nation's skills and increase the efficiency of British industry. Each local education authority was required to submit an outline for the provision of further education in its own area, taking into account the view of local industry, neighbouring authorities, universities and voluntary bodies. Middlesex's proposal, included ambitious plans for new buildings and improved facilities and was finally approved in 1953. In the meantime, Acton Technical College had continued to expand and now concentrated on the provision of more advanced courses and in particular, degree programmes.
HM inspectors who visited in 1952 were extremely impressed by the scope, the appeal and the widespread recognition accorded to the College's range of courses and concluded that teaching was of a high order with excellent exam results. However, the lack of facilities at Acton was holding back the College's growth and with the Middlesex scheme now approved, a building programme was agreed. New buildings on its existing Woodlands site were completed in 1957 at which time the decision was made to divide the College into two. One establishment retained the name of Acton Technical College and remained in the existing buildings in the High Street where it continued to provide Ordinary National Certificate and craft courses for technicians and craftsmen. The second, which was to be situated in new buildings, was to concentrate on the education of technologists and was named Brunel College of Technology.
Sandwich courses, (courses containing a work placement element), were at this time a new concept. Brunel College was a pioneer in this field, concentrating particularly on sandwich courses leading to the Diploma of Technology. The College worked hard to develop a range of courses which suited the needs of local employers, experimenting with various arrangements in order to establish the best model. As a result of this, close links with industry were developed . This co-operation was to be an integral part of Brunel's success in the years to come.
Move to Uxbridge
The government had introduced the designation of College of Advanced Technology in 1956, at which time Acton Technical College, in spite of its high academic standing, had not been included in the handful of institutions nominated. In 1961, the Ministry of Education conducted a review of further education in Middlesex and expressed the opinion that Brunel College of Technology had "made a distinguished contribution to the development of advanced technological education" and that the standard of work and quality of staff would in themselves warrant the designation of College of Advanced Technology.
However Colleges of Advanced Technology were expected to be able to accommodate some 2,000 students and this was clearly well beyond the capacity of the Woodlands site. This signalled the next major step in Brunel's development. It was agreed that plans for further extensions at Woodlands should be abandoned and instead, a completely new college be erected on a separate site as a replacement. The site chosen was a 170 acre plot in Uxbridge which was formerly the Low and Shawyer nursery and market garden. Local historian and Honorary Brunel Graduate, Ken Pearce, records that in its heyday in the 1930s the nursery covered 200 acres, employed 1,000 people full-time and produced around 50 million blooms each year. The Ministry of Education did not wait for the new building to be completed, or even begun, before redesignating the College. With effect from 1 April 1962, the institution officially became Brunel College of Advanced Technology, the 10th in the country and the last to achieve this status.
Building at Uxbridge was planned in four phases with the cost of each phase expected to total around £1.5 million and Phase One to be substantially completed by June 1967. In 1963, the Robbins Report announced another far-reaching change for Brunel. From 1966, the College was to become a technological university with the power to award its own degrees, both first and higher. The Governing Body and the Academic Board found themselves under pressure from all sides, undertaking academic and financial planning exercises, formulating new policies for the institution's future as a university, overseeing development of the new site and at the same time maintaining a high standard of provision for existing students in a climate of impending change.
It was inevitable that a number of issues should arise during the course of an undertaking on such a large scale as the construction of an entirely new University. Amendments to the preliminary architects' plans were called for. There was the question of housing for staff. There was debate over the provision of a generator to provide electricity. There was the matter of bridges across the railway line. The degree of difficulty experienced in obtaining sufficient funding from the Department of Education made it necessary to scrutinise the financial implications carefully before making any decision. However, one by one all the challenges were met and the University Charter was granted on 9 June 1966. From the Autumn term, the Uxbridge campus was officially part of Brunel University.
The University continued to operate on both sites until 1971, when it was finally able to vacate the Acton site. This was also the year in which Brunel's first Vice-Chancellor Dr Topping, who was appointed Principal of the Technical College in 1955, retired. Tribute was paid to the man under whose leadership Brunel had achieved so much.
Shoreditch College of Education
The next stage of expansion came in 1980, when Shoreditch College of Education, formerly Shoreditch Technical College, one of the leading teacher training colleges in the field of craft, design and technology became part of Brunel University. Since 1951, Shoreditch had been located at Runnymede and this became the University's second campus.
This school offers programs in: