Original features

February 5, 2009

The original women's college at what is now Royal Holloway, University of London, was established by Victorian entrepreneur Thomas Holloway in 1879. The Founder's Building, with its celebrated clock tower, forms the iconic centrepiece.

The building, largely inspired by the chateau of Chambord in the Loire Valley and designed by William Henry Crossland, is notable for the towers and turrets of its exuberant roofline.

Allegorical figures in Portland stone adorn the residential entrances to the north quad. Winged lions guard the base of the octagonal lantern tower, between the dining hall and the kitchens in the central block, while crocodiles and swans adorn the top. Prominent in the two quads are marble statues, made by Count Gleichen, of Queen Victoria, Mr Holloway and his wife, Jane.

The Founder's Building is now used for office space and student bedrooms, with stunning views of the 135-acre parkland campus and beyond. It incorporates the original chapel with its barrel-vaulted plaster ceiling, and also houses the Royal Holloway Collection, a gallery of Victorian art that formed the final part of Thomas Holloway's generous endowment.

Send suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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