Gresham College

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Gresham College
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{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2015}}{{more citations needed|date=September 2008}}

Gresham College is an institution of higher learning located at Barnard's Inn Hall off Holborn in Central London, England. It does not enroll students and does not award any degrees. It was founded in 1597 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, and it hosts over 140 free public lectures every year. Since 2001, all lectures have also been made available online.


Founding and early years

Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange, left his estate jointly to the City of London Corporation and to the Mercers' Company, which today support the college through the Joint Grand Gresham Committee under the presidency of the Lord Mayor of London. Gresham's will provided for the setting up of the College – in Gresham's mansion in Bishopsgate, on the site now occupied by Tower 42, the former NatWest Tower – and endowed it with the rental income from shops sited around the Royal Exchange, which Gresham had established.The early success of the College led to the incorporation of the Royal Society in 1663,WEB,weblink Gresham College and Arundel House - Royal Society, which pursued its activities at the College in Bishopsgate before moving to its own premises in Crane Court in 1710. The College remained in Gresham's mansion in Bishopsgate until 1768, and moved about London thereafter until the construction in 1842 of its own buildings in Gresham Street EC2. Gresham College did not become part of the University of London on the founding of the University in the 19th century, although a close association between the College and the University persisted for many years. Since 1991, the College has operated at Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn EC1.

Gresham College today

Since 2000, the college regularly welcomes visiting speakers who deliver lectures on topics outside its usual range, and it also hosts occasional seminars and conferences. Today the college provides in the region of 130 lectures a year, all of which are free and open to the public.Although many of the lectures are held in Barnard's Inn Hall, the majority are now held in the lecture hall at the Museum of London, for reasons of capacity.Since 2001, the college has been recording its lectures and releasing them online in what is now an archive of over 2,000 lectures. Since 2007, lectures have also been available through YouTube with 20,755,968 views {{as of|2018|August|lc=y}}.WEB,weblink GreshamCollege, YouTube, Annual lectures series of particular note hosted by the college include: the Gresham Special Lecture, the Annual Lord Mayor's Event, and the Gray’s Inn Reading.The College does not enroll any students and awards no degrees.


File:Barnard's Inn Hall (Gresham College).jpg|thumb|Barnard's InnBarnard's InnThe seven original Gresham College Professorships that date back to the origins of the college are as follows: These original endowed chairs reflect the curriculum of the medieval university (the trivium and quadrivium); but as a place for the public and frequent voicing of new ideas, the college played an important role in the Enlightenment and in the formation of the Royal Society. Early distinguished Gresham College professors included Christopher Wren, who lectured on astronomy in the 17th century and Robert Hooke, who was Professor of Geometry from 1665 until 1704.WEB,weblink Gresham Professor of Geometry,, File:Gresham College, 1740.jpg|thumb|275px|Gresham College, engraving by leftThe professors received £50 a year, and the terms of their position were very precise, for example:
The geometrician is to read as followeth, every Trinity term arithmetique, in Michaelmas and Hilary terms theoretical geometry, in Easter term practical geometry. The astronomy reader is to read in his solemn lectures, first the principles of the sphere, and the theory of the planets, and the use of the astrolabe and the staff, and other common instruments for the capacity of mariners."Who invented the calculus? – and other 17th century topics" {{webarchive|url= |date=28 September 2007 }} Gresham lecture by Robin Wilson, 16 November 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2006.
Today three further Professorships have been added to take account of areas not otherwise covered by the original Professorships: The professors currently hold their positions for three years,WEB,weblink Profile of Gresham College,, extendable for a fourth year, and give six lectures a year. There are also regular visiting professors appointed to give series of lectures at the College, and a large number of single-lecture speakers.

Gresham Special Lecture series

missing image!
- Lord Phillips Gresham Special Lecture 05 - Lecture portrait.jpg -
Lord Phillips delivering the 2010 Gresham Special Lecture in the Great Hall of Lincoln's Inn
The Gresham Special Lecture originated in 1988 as a free public lecture delivered by a prominent speaker. It was devised as a focus-point among the other 126 free public lectures offered every year.This is the number of free public lectures offered in the 'Free Public Lectures 2011–12' printed program and on the website weblink
  • 2016: The Rt Hon the Baroness Blackstone – 'Universities: Some Policy Dilemmas'WEB,weblink Universities: Some Policy Dilemmas,,
  • 2015: Dame Barbara Stocking DBE – 'Women's Careers: From Oxfam to a Cambridge College'WEB,weblink Women's Careers: From Oxfam to a Cambridge College,,
  • 2014: Stephen Hodder MBE – 'Continuity and Development in Architecture'WEB,weblink Continuity and Development in Architecture,,
  • 2013: Sir Richard Peter Lambert – 'The UK and the New Face of Europe'WEB,weblink The UK and the New Face of Europe,,
  • 2012: The Rt Hon John Bercow – 'Parliament and the Public: Strangers or Friends?'WEB,weblink Parliament and the Public: Strangers or Friends?,,
  • 2011: Sir Adam Roberts – 'Reinventing the Wheel: The cost of neglecting international history'WEB,weblink Reinventing the Wheel: The cost of neglecting international history,,
  • 2010: Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers – 'The Challenges of the New Supreme Court'WEB,weblink The Challenges of the New Supreme Court,,
  • 2009: Niall Ferguson – 'The Ascent of money: An evolutionary approach to financial history'WEB,weblink The Ascent of Money: An evolutionary approach to financial history,, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2011, dmy-all,
  • 2008: The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams – 'Early Christianity & Today: Some shared questions' WEB,weblink Early Christianity & Today: some shared questions,,
  • 2007: Sir Roy Strong – 'The Beauty of Holiness and its Perils (or what is to happen to 10,000 parish churches?)'WEB,weblink The Beauty of Holiness and its Perils (or what is to happen to 10,000 parish churches?),,
  • 2006: Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws – 'Walking the Line: Preserving liberty in times of insecurity'WEB,weblink Walking the Line: Preserving liberty in times of insecurity,,
  • 2005: Lord Winston – 'Should we trust the scientists?'WEB,weblink Should We Trust The Scientists?,,
  • 2004: Lord Rees of Ludlow – 'Science in a Complex World: Wonders, Prospects and Threats'WEB,weblink Science in a Complex World: Wonders, Prospects and Threats,,
  • 2003: Sir Harold Kroto – 'I think, therefore I am – a scientist'
  • 2002: M. S. Swaminathan – 'Towards Freedom from Hunger: A Global Food for Sustainable Development Initiative'WEB,weblink Towards Freedom from Hunger,,
  • 2001: Dr Charles Saumarez Smith – 'Commerce and Culture in the Late Twentieth Century'WEB,weblink Commerce and Culture in the Late Twentieth Century,,
  • 2000: Hans Küng – 'A Global Ethics – A Challenge for the New Millennium'WEB,weblink A Global Ethic – A Challenge for the New Millennium,,
  • 1999: Baroness Williams of Crosby – 'Snakes and Ladders: A reflection on a post-war political life'
  • 1998: Sir Adrian Cadbury – 'The Future for Governance: The rules of the game'WEB,weblink The Future for Governance: The Rules of the Game,,
  • 1997: Dr Ian Archer – 'Thomas Gresham's London'WEB,weblink Sir Thomas Gresham's London,,
  • 1996: Sir Peter Middleton – 'Banking Today'WEB,weblink Banking Today,,
  • 1995: Sir Michael Howard – 'Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of VE Day'WEB,weblink VE Day: Fifty Years After,,
  • 1993: Howard Davies – 'The City and Manufacturing Industry'
  • 1992: Baron Hermann von Richthofen – 'A United Germany in the New Europe'
  • 1991: Revd. Dr J. Polkinghorne – 'Science and Theology: Traffic across the frontier'WEB,weblink Science and Theology: Traffic Across the Frontier,,
  • 1989: Sir Ralf Dahrendorf – 'The Decline of Socialism'WEB,weblink The Decline of Socialism,,
  • 1988: The Most Reverend Kirill Archbishop of Smolensk – 'Russian Orthodox Church Life Today: The Second Millennium'WEB,weblink Russian Orthodox Church Life Today: The Second Millennium,,
  • 1987: Sir George Porter – 'Popular and Unpopular Science'WEB,weblink Popular and Unpopular Science,,
  • 1985: The Rt Hon The Lord Young of Graffham – 'The Rise and Fall of the Entrepreneur'WEB,weblink The Rise and Fall of the Entrepreneur,,
  • 1984: Lord Blake – 'Monarchy'WEB,weblink Monarchy,,
  • 1983: Lord Scarman – 'Human Rights and the Democratic Process'WEB,weblink Human Rights and the Democratic Process,,

Excerpts from the Last Will of Sir Thomas Gresham (1575)

{{Move to Wikisource}}(File:Barnards inn.jpg|325px|thumb|Frontage of Barnard's Inn Buildings)

See also



External links

{{commons category|Gresham College}}
  • Gresham College website
  • {{YouTube|user=UC1t6kKXoBvjdr8m9KJ2Fx7A|Gresham College}}
  • weblink" title="">A Brief History of Gresham College 1497–1997 from the Gresham College website
{{Gresham College}}{{coord|51.5175|-0.1098|type:edu_region:GB-LND|display=title}}

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