gresham college

Photo credit: Long Finance. 

Photo credit: Long Finance. 

Gresham College. City of London.

Gresham College was founded in 1597, funded by a bequest from Sir Thomas Gresham, and housed in his mansion in Bishopsgate - now the site of Tower 42. His will also endowed the College with the rental income from shops around the Royal Exchange, which Gresham had founded. Gresham, an immensely successful banker and Lord Mayor of London, was reputed to be the richest person of his day.

It was specified in Gresham's will that the role of Gresham College would be to appoint Professors who would give free public lectures during their term of office. The seven original Professorships were in: Astronomy, Divinity, Geometry, Law, Music, Physic and Rhetoric. Distinguished Professors included Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. The early success of Gresham College led to the formation of the Royal Society, which remains the UK's premier scientific learned society. 

Amazingly for an organisation that is more than 400 years old, its role has remained unchanged. It continues to appoint professors to three year terms, each of whom gives a series of free public lectures. The only material changes are that three new Professorships have been added, in Commerce (1985), Environment (2014) and Information Technology (2015). Also all the lectures are can now be downloaded worldwide on the internet, and had received more than 18 million views as of November 2017.

The Gresham College lectures are of very high quality, and are readily intelligible to a general audience. We would recommend them most highly. 

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