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12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Royal Holloway University

Did you know these things about RHUL?

1. Thomas Holloway was a self-made millionaire.

As you may or may not already know, Royal Holloway was founded by Thomas Holloway, and Thomas Holloway was rolling in it. He made his fortune selling patent medicines. His wife, Jane Holloway, suggested building a women’s college to spend some of her husband’s massive fortune. You will find a marble statue of Thomas and Jane in the south quad where it has been for nearly 130 years!

Admiring his "gift to the nation" almost 140 years on. #thomasholloway #royalholloway #campuslife #education

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2. There are over 140 clubs and societies at RHUL.

Yep. Over 140. Art Soc? Law Soc? Football? Humans Vs. Zombies? Royal Holloway’s got it all!


3. The campus is haunted.

Rumour has it founder Thomas Holloway haunts the campus in the form of a black cat. Students have apparently felt a presence only to turn around and spot a lingering black cat. If you’re sceptical, it’s worth noting that The Telegraph also named RHUL one of the top ten most haunted universities.


4. And there’s also a cursed painting.

It’s not just black cats that are creeping people out on campus; there is also the supposedly cursed painting that hangs in the Picture Gallery.

Edwin Landseer’s 1864 oil painting titled ‘Man proposes, God disposes’ has been hanging in the Picture Gallery since 1886. Students have refused to sit next to the painting when sitting their exams because rumour has it a student once went mad and committed suicide after looking at the painting during his exams.

To this day, the painting is covered with a Union Jack flag during exam season… you know, just in case!



5. Speaking of the Picture Gallery, it holds over 75 other paintings from the Victorian era.

As well as being home to the cursed painting of the polar bears, there are plenty of other works of art at which you can have a gander. The gallery was labelled Number 39 in The Telegraph’s ’50 Hidden Gems’.

6. Everyone’s fave place Crosslands is named after William Henry Crossland.

Crossland was the architect who designed the famous Founder’s Building way back when! Spare him a thought the next time you’re grabbing some food or a coffee over there.

Brunch has never looked so good 😊

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7. You can get married on campus.

Y’know, if you want to. Whether you are a current student, a member of staff or alumni – Royal Holloway can offer you the opportunity to get married in the stunning chapel on campus. Just look at it! If you’re not ready for marriage, don’t worry; you also get to graduate here.

Perfect setting for a wedding 👰🏽

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8. The University has been the set for lots of films and TV shows over the years.

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Downton Abbey, Celebrity Masterchef and Antique’s Roadshow, just to name a few.

finally got to see the 'hogwarts' bit of roho

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9. Queen Victoria gave permission to use the word ‘Royal’ in the naming of the establishment.

To this day, in her honour, there is a statue of her in the north quad.

Royal Holloway beautiful campus!

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10. The libraries across campus contain over half a million books in total.

Now there’s definitely got to be something for everyone to read!


11. During the Olympic Games in 2012, Royal Holloway was home to over 1,400 Olympic athletes.

They even had to add extensions to some of the beds in the halls of residence because the athletes were taller than the length of the beds!


12. And finally, did you know that all of these people studied at RHUL?

Royal Holloway is home to over 9,000 students every year. Some notable alumni over the years include Mark Strong (studied BA Drama & Theatre Studies), KT Tunstall (studied BA Drama & Music), MP Valerie Vaz (studied BSc Biochemistry), Example (BA Media Arts), Dame Felicity Lott DBE (studied BA French) and Professor David Bellamy OBE (PhD Botany).

Who knows, maybe you’ll be next!

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