Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck has been helping people access higher education and transform their lives for nearly 200 years. We have an illustrious, unconventional and radical history of which we are very proud.

Birkbeck was founded on the evening of 11 November 1823, when around 2000 people flocked to the Crown and Anchor Tavern on the Strand to hear Dr George Birkbeck speak on the importance of educating the working people of London. Supporters present at the event including Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher and originator of Utilitarianism, Sir John Hobhouse, a Radical MP who held several important government posts across his career, and Henry Brougham, a liberal MP, anti-slavery campaigner and tireless educational reformer.

Following this initial meeting, the London Mechanics’ Institute was formally created at the same location on 2 December 1823, with the stated aim of educating working people.



Torrington Square, Bloomsbury, London, UK