Gresham College was founded in 1597 and has been providing free lectures within the City of London for over 400 years.
The College was established out of the Will of Sir Thomas Gresham, one of the most influential and important men across the Tudor and Elizabethan periods. Sir Thomas made himself indispensible as the financial agent for four successive monarchs from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. As well as founding the Royal Exchange, Sir Thomas left proceeds in his Will for the foundation of the College in his name.
Gresham College was established in 1597 in Sir Thomas’ former mansion on Bishopsgate. It was there that the seven original Gresham Professors lived and lectured, including the likes of Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. After over 150 years at Bishopsgate – a period that saw the establishment of the Royal Society within the College – we moved to new premises on the corner of Gresham Street and Basinghall Street. In 1991 the College moved to Barnard’s Inn Hall, a 14 th Century hall located close to Chancery Lane.
Today the College continues our four-century-old tradition of providing free public lectures within London. We uphold our founding principle in maintaining the highest possible academic standards for all of our appointed Gresham Professors, Visiting Professors and visiting speakers. All of the College’s 130 and more lectures and events each year are free and open to all. Booking is not generally required, but for a few lectures which do require it are all clearly marked.
The College has been recording its lectures since the 1980s and there are now over 1,900 lectures freely available online in text, audio or video formats. The provision of this free online archive of lectures aligns with our founding principles of accessible free education for all.
Gresham College is an independent institution funded from the estate of our founder, Sir Thomas Gresham. After his death in 1579, Sir Thomas’ estate and control of his benefaction was left to the City of London Corporation and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, which operate through the Joint Grand Gresham Committee to support the College.