We have much to celebrate in Imperial’s rich and vibrant history, yet we want to examine it further to confront troubling connections to people and their actions that were wrong then and are deplorable today. It is right that we face these uncomfortable truths and consider how we can steward our legacy in a way that fits our values."

Professor Alice Gast

President of Imperial College London

Imperial has commissioned a group under the aegis of President’s Board to examine the history of the College through its links to the British Empire, and to report on the present understanding and reception of the College’s legacy and heritage in the context of its present-day mission. 

Imperial was founded in 1907, tracing its roots back to the Great Exhibition of 1851. The group will explore the College’s involvement in and links with Britain’s colonial history, in terms of its members and associates and its actions and impact. 

Part of the group's work will involve consulting with members of the College and its wider communities, including alumni and partners, to understand current views on the College’s history.

The group will advise the President and Provost on how the College might acknowledge and respond to its past, including under-celebrated contributions to the College’s mission and reputation and the ways in which benefactors and others associated with the College are currently noted.

History Group

Membership

Academic Chair - Professor Nilay Shah, Head of Chemical Engineering

Members

Anna Barnard, Research Fellow, Department of Chemistry

Paul Brown, Mechanical Instrumentation Workshop Manager, Department of Physics

Professor Edwin Chilvers, Head of National Heart & Lung Institute

Melanie Lee, Organisational Development Consultant, Human Resources

Professor Liz Lightstone, Consul (Clinical), Faculty of Medicine

Dr Wayne Mitchell, Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Immunology and Inflammation

Dr Mirabelle Muuls, Assistant Professor in Economics, Business School

Shervin Sabeghi, Deputy President (Welfare), ICU

Professor Sir Tejinder Virdee, Professor of Physics

Advisors

Chris Banks, Director of Library Services

Anne Barrett, College Archivist

Professor Stephen Curry, Assistant Provost (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)

Dr Michael Weatherburn, Senior Teaching Fellow, Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication

Heather Williamson, Director of Principal Gifts, Advancement

External Advisors and additional staff and student members to be confirmed.

Terms of Reference

1. To examine and narrate Imperial College’s involvement in and links with Britain’s colonial history, in terms of its members and associates, its actions and its impact.

2. To consult with members of the College and its wider communities, including alumni and partners to understand current views on College’s history.

3.  To advise the President and Provost on how the College might acknowledge and respond to its history.

Key Dates

Interim report Jan 2021

Final report Jun 2021

President’s Board recommended actions Oct 2021