‘The Impact of the First World War on UCL’

UCL Lunchtime Lecture: Georgina Brewis, ‘The Impact of the First World War on UCL’, 13 November 2018, 1pm-1.55pm, Darwin Lecture Theatre, University College London.

Lunchtime Lectures are an opportunity for anyone to sample the exceptional research work taking place at UCL, in bite sized chunks. Speakers are drawn from across the university, and lectures frequently showcase new research and recent academic publications. Lunch Hour Lectures take place 13:10 – 13:55, are free, and are open to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis. All lectures are streamed live online and can be watched by clicking on the Watch Lunch Hour Lectures online link above. Lectures can also be watched from one week after the event on their YouTube channel where all lectures will be subtitled.

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Dr Georgina Brewis is Associate Professor in the History of Education at UCL Institute of Education, where she works on the history of higher education, youth and voluntary action. She is the author of the revised and updated edition of The World of UCL (UCL Press, 2018) and her talk also draws on an AHRC First World War Engagement Centre-funded project on British students and the rebuilding of Europe, 1919-1926.

The First World War had a significant impact on life at UCL, as at other universities in the UK. Over 2,600 members and former members of College served during the war. The UCL community experienced an intense sense of rupture. Part of the College was requisitioned as a military hospital, while the research activities of many academic departments were directed to the war effort. Student numbers halved, but UCL also welcomed and supported several hundred Belgian refugee students and military personnel taking evening courses. Women formed a majority of the much-reduced student body, playing a leading role in College life. They set up UCL’s Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), which maintained an Ambulance Squad in St Pancras and sent students to nurse in military hospitals in France. At the end of the war, the first government scholarship scheme for ex-service students helped produced a more socially diverse student body, while the fallen were commemorated around the UCL campus.

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