Gresham College

Gresham College

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Gresham College is an institution of higher learning located at Barnard's Inn
Barnard's Inn
Barnard's Inn is the current home of Gresham College in Holborn, London.-History:Barnard's Inn dates back at least to the mid 13th century — it was recorded as part of the estate of Sir Adam de Basyng, one time Mayor of London. It passed on to John Mackworth, the Dean of Lincoln who in turn passed...

 Hall off Holborn
Holborn
Holborn is an area of Central London. Holborn is also the name of the area's principal east-west street, running as High Holborn from St Giles's High Street to Gray's Inn Road and then on to Holborn Viaduct...

 in central London
Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London, England. There is no official or commonly accepted definition of its area, but its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally,...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It was founded in 1597 under the will
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

 of Sir Thomas Gresham
Thomas Gresham
Sir Thomas Gresham was an English merchant and financier who worked for King Edward VI of England and for Edward's half-sisters, Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I.-Family and childhood:...

 and today it hosts over 140 free public lectures every year within the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

.

History


Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange
Royal Exchange (London)
The Royal Exchange in the City of London was founded in 1565 by Sir Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the city. The site was provided by the City of London Corporation and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, and is trapezoidal, flanked by the converging streets of Cornhill and...

, 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 the City of London. Gresham's will provided for the setting up of the College—in Gresham's mansion in Bishopsgate
Bishopsgate
Bishopsgate is a road and ward in the northeast part of the City of London, extending north from Gracechurch Street to Norton Folgate. It is named after one of the original seven gates in London Wall...

, on the site now occupied by Tower 42
Tower 42
Tower 42 is the second tallest skyscraper in the City of London and the fifth tallest in London overall. The original name was the National Westminster Tower, having been built to house the National Westminster Bank's International Division. Seen from above, the tower closely resembles the NatWest...

, the former NatWest Tower—and endowed it with the rental income from shops sited around the Royal Exchange
Royal Exchange (London)
The Royal Exchange in the City of London was founded in 1565 by Sir Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the city. The site was provided by the City of London Corporation and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, and is trapezoidal, flanked by the converging streets of Cornhill and...

, which Gresham had established.

The early success of the College led to the incorporation of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in 1663, 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
University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

 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
Barnard's Inn
Barnard's Inn is the current home of Gresham College in Holborn, London.-History:Barnard's Inn dates back at least to the mid 13th century — it was recorded as part of the estate of Sir Adam de Basyng, one time Mayor of London. It passed on to John Mackworth, the Dean of Lincoln who in turn passed...

, Holborn
Holborn
Holborn is an area of Central London. Holborn is also the name of the area's principal east-west street, running as High Holborn from St Giles's High Street to Gray's Inn Road and then on to Holborn Viaduct...

 EC1.

Professors



The seven original Gresham College Professorships that date back to the origins of the college are as follows:
  • Astronomy
    Gresham Professor of Astronomy
    The Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...

  • Divinity
    Gresham Professor of Divinity
    The Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596/7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...

  • Mathematics
    Gresham Professor of Geometry
    The Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...

  • Law
    Gresham Professor of Law
    The Professor of Law at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596/7, when it appointed seven professors. This has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors...

  • Music
    Gresham Professor of Music
    The Professor of Music at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The Professor...

  • Medicine
    Gresham Professor of Physic
    The Professor of Physic at Gresham College in London, England, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting...

  • Rhetoric
    Gresham Professor of Rhetoric
    The Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...



These original endowed chairs reflect the curriculum of the medieval university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 (the trivium and quadrivium
Quadrivium
The quadrivium comprised the four subjects, or arts, taught in medieval universities, after teaching the trivium. The word is Latin, meaning "the four ways" , and its use for the 4 subjects has been attributed to Boethius or Cassiodorus in the 6th century...

); 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 famous Gresham College professors have included Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

, who lectured on astronomy in the 17th century, and Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but...

, who was Professor of Geometry from 1665 until 1704.

The 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
Michaelmas term
Michaelmas term is the first academic term of the academic years of the following British and Irish universities:*University of Cambridge*University of Oxford*University of St...

 and Hilary term
Hilary term
Hilary Term is the second academic term of Oxford University's academic year. It runs from January to March and is so named because the feast day of St Hilary of Poitiers, 14 January, falls during this term...

s 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
Astrolabe
An astrolabe is an elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers. Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and longitude, surveying, triangulation, and to...

 and the staff, and other common instruments for the capacity of mariners.


Today, the professors hold their positions for three years, and give six lectures a year. There are regular visiting professors
Visiting Gresham Professor
Visiting Professors at Gresham College, Holborn, London, give free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and plus the Visiting Professors.The first Visiting Professors...

 appointed to give series of lectures at the college and an eighth full chair, of Commerce
Gresham Professor of Commerce
The Professor of Commerce at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 7, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to eight and in addition the college now has visiting professors.The...

, joined the original seven in 1985.

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 over 140 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
Museum of London
The Museum of London documents the history of London from the Prehistoric to the present day. The museum is located close to the Barbican Centre, as part of the striking Barbican complex of buildings created in the 1960s and 70s as an innovative approach to re-development within a bomb damaged...

, 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 1,000 lectures.
Annual lectures of particular note hosted by the college include: the Gresham Special Lecture, the Sir Thomas Gresham Docklands Lecture, the Annual Lord Mayor’s Lecture, the Gray’s Inn Reading and the Boyle Lecture.

The College does not enroll any students and awards no degrees
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...

.

Gresham Special Lecture series



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.
  • 2011 - Sir Adam Roberts – 'Reinventing the Wheel: The cost of neglecting international history'
  • 2010 - Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers - 'The Challenges of the New Supreme Court'
  • 2009 - Niall Ferguson
    Niall Ferguson
    Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson is a British historian. His specialty is financial and economic history, particularly hyperinflation and the bond markets, as well as the history of colonialism.....

     - 'The Ascent of money: An evolutionary approach to financial history'
  • 2008 - The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams
    Rowan Williams
    Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

     – 'Early Christianity & Today: Some shared questions'
  • 2007 - Sir Roy Strong
    Roy Strong
    Sir Roy Colin Strong FRSL is an English art historian, museum curator, writer, broadcaster and landscape designer. He has been director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London...

     - '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'
  • 2005 - Lord Winston
    Robert Winston
    Robert Maurice Lipson Winston, Baron Winston is a British professor, medical doctor, scientist, television presenter and politician.-Early life and education :...

     - 'Should we trust the scientists?'
  • 2004 - Lord Rees of Ludlow - 'Science in a Complex World: Wonders, Prospects and Threats'
  • 2003 - Sir Harold Kroto - 'I think, therefore I am – a scientist'
  • 2002 - M. S. Swaminathan
    M. S. Swaminathan
    Maankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is an Indian agriculture scientist in Kuttanad, kerala. He was the second of four sons of a doctor.He is known as the "Father of the Green Revolution in India", for his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in...

     - 'Towards Freedom from Hunger: A Global Food for Sustainable Development Initiative'
  • 2001 - Dr Charles Saumarez Smith
    Charles Saumarez Smith
    Charles Robert Saumarez Smith CBE is a British art historian. He was Director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1994 to 2002. From 2002 to 2007 he was director of the National Gallery and is currently Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts...

     - 'Commerce and Culture in the Late Twentieth Century'
  • 2000 - Hans Küng
    Hans Küng
    Hans Küng is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and prolific author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic . Küng is "a Catholic priest in good standing", but the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology...

     - 'A Global Ethics – 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
    Adrian Cadbury
    Sir George Adrian Hayhurst Cadbury is a former British Olympic rower and Chairman of Cadbury and Cadbury Schweppes for 24 years. He has been a pioneer in raising the awareness and stimulating the debate on corporate governance and produced the Cadbury Report, a code of best practice which served...

     - 'The Future for Governance: The rules of the game'
  • 1997 - Dr Ian Archer - 'Thomas Gresham’s London'
  • 1995 - Sir Michael Howard
    Michael Howard (historian)
    Sir Michael Eliot Howard, OM, CH, CBE, MC, FBA is a British military historian, formerly Chichele Professor of the History of War and Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University, and Robert A...

     - 'Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of VE Day'
  • 1993 - Howard Davies - 'The City and Manufacturing Industry'
  • 1992 - Baron Hermann von Richthofen
    Hermann von Richthofen
    Dr. iur. Hermann Freiherr von Richthofen, GCVO is a German diplomat.He was ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1989 to 1993, and his name made him a media favourite...

     - 'A United Germany in the New Europe'
  • 1991 - Revd. Dr J. Polkinghorne
    John Polkinghorne
    John Charlton Polkinghorne KBE FRS is an English theoretical physicist, theologian, writer, and Anglican priest. He was professor of Mathematical physics at the University of Cambridge from 1968 to 1979, when he resigned his chair to study for the priesthood, becoming an ordained Anglican priest...

     - 'Science and Theology: Traffic across the frontier'
  • 1988 - The Most Reverend Kirill Archbishop of Smolensk - 'Russian Orthodox Church Life Today: The Second Millennium'

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



THIS IS THE LASTE WILL WRITTEN and disposition of me Sir Thomas Gresham of the cittye of London knighte, concerninge all my mannors, landes, tenementes, and hereditamentes, mentioned and conteyned in one quadripartite indenture, made betweene me the said Sir Thomas Gresham and dame Anne my wife on the one partye, and Phillippe Scudamore gent. and Thomas Celey on thother partie, dated the 20 day of May, in the seaventeenth yere of the raigne of our soveraigne lady queene Elizabeth....

AND I will and dispose, that ... the said maior and corporation of the said cittye [London] ... shall give and distribute to and for the sustentation, mayntenaunce, and findinge foure persons from tyme to tyme to be chosen, nominated, and appointed by the said maior and cominalty and cittezens and theire successors, mete to read the lectures of divynitye, astronomy, musicke, and geometry, within myne owne dwellinge house in the parishe of St. Hellynes in Bishopsgate streete and St. Peeters the pore in the cittye of London ... the somme of two hundred pounds of lawfull money of England, in manner and forme followinge, viz. to every of the said readers for the tyme beinge the somme of fifty pounds of lawfull money of England yerely, for theire sallaries and stipendes, mete for foure sufficiently learned to read the said lectures; the same stipendes and sallaries , and every of them, to be paid at two usuall tearmes in the yere yerely, that is to say, at the feastes of thannunciation of St. Mary the Virgin and of St. Mighell tharchangell, by even portions to be paid....

AND ... that they and theire successors every yere yerely shall give, and pay, and distribute to and for the findinge, sustentation and maynetenaunce of three persons, by them the said wardeins and cominalty and theire successors from tyme to tyme to be chossen and appointed, meete to reade the lectures of law, phissicke, and rethoricke, within myne nowe dwellinge house in the parrishe of St. Hellyns in Bishopesgate streete and St. Peters the pore, in the said cittye of London ... the somme of one hundred and fifty poundes of lawfull money of England, in manner and forme followinge, viz. to every of the said readers for the tyme beinge the somme of fiftye poundes, for theire sallaries and stipendes, mete for three sufficiently learned to reade the said lectures, at two usuall tearmes in the yere, that is to say, at the feast of thannunciation of the blessed Virgin Marye and of St. Mighell the Archangell, by even portions to be paid....

Thomas Gresham's mansion converted into an instructional facility with lodgings and research space for professors of Law, Physics, Music, Divinity, Geometry, Rhetoric, and Astronomy.

AND ... shall permitte and suffer seaven persons, by them from tyme to tyme to be elected and appointed in manner and forme aforesaid, meete and sufficiently learned to reade the said seaven lectures, to have the occupation of all my said mansion house, gardeins, and of all other thappurtenaunces, for them and every of them there to inhabite, study, and daylie to reade the said severall lectures. And my will is, that none shall be chossen to reade any of the said lectures, so longe as he shall be married, nor be suffered to reade any of the said lectures after that he shalbe married, neither shall receave any fee or stipend appointed for the readinge of the said lectures....

IN WITNES whereof I the said Sir Thomas Gresham have written this will all with myne owne hand, and to each of the eight leaves have subscribed my name ; and to a labell fixed there unto all the eight leaves have setto my seal with the grasshopper, the 5 day of July, in the seventeenth yere of the raigne of our soveraigne lady queene Elizabeth, and in the yere of our Lord God, ann. 1575.
By me THOMAS GRESHAM


Witnesses to this last will and testament of the said Sir Thomas Gresham the persons whose names be subscribed,
PH. SCUDAMOR,
THOMAS BILLINGFORD,
HENRY NOWELL.


External links