History of the University
The University of Nottingham traces its origins to the founding of an adult education school in 1798, and the University Extension Lectures inaugurated by the University of Cambridge in 1873—the first of their kind in the country. However, the foundation of the university is generally regarded as being the establishment of University College Nottingham, in 1881 as a college preparing students for examinations of the University of London.
In 1875, an anonymous donor provided £10,000 to establish the work of the Adult Education School and Cambridge Extension Lectures on a permanent basis, and the Corporation of Nottingham agreed to erect and maintain a building for this purpose and to provide funds to supply the instruction.
The foundation stone of the college was duly laid in 1877 by former UK Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, and the college's distinctive neo-gothic building on Shakespeare Street was formally opened in 1881 by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. In 1881, there were four professors – of Literature, Physics, Chemistry and Natural Science. New departments and chairs quickly followed: Engineering in 1884, Classics combined with Philosophy in 1893, French in 1897 and Education in 1905; in 1905 the combined Department of Physics and Mathematics became two separate entities; in 1911 Departments of English and Mining were created, in 1912, Economics, and Geology combined with Geography; History in 1914, Adult Education in 1923 and Pharmacy in 1925.