Poster for the Franco-British Exhibition 1908Both White City and Imperial College London are rooted in the great international exhibitions of the 19th and 20th centuries. The development of Imperial’s South Kensington campus traces back to the Great Exhibition in 1851, while a major milestone in the history of White City is the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition.

The exhibition brought thousands of visitors to the ‘Great White City’ of striking domes and palaces. It also established Imperial’s first links to the area when a team of physicists showcased their equipment among the displays. 

Over the next thirty years, White City witnessed more international, institutional and industrial events. It would go on to become a cultural and artistic hub with the arrival of the BBC’s iconic Television Centre in 1960, a centre of modernist social housing in the White City Estate, and the home of Queens Park Rangers football club.

Today, White City is undergoing its latest transformation as a home for cutting-edge research, business and culture.

White City timeline

1908 White City hosts the Franco-British Exhibition and the Summer Olympic Games
1912 Hammersmith Hospital opens
1917 Queens Park Rangers Football Club moves to Loftus Road Stadium
1930s-50s Construction of the White City Estate
1960 BBC Television Centre opens
2008 Westfield London opens, kick-starting the latest transformation of White City
2009 Imperial College London acquires land for the new White City Campus
2012 BBC sells Television Centre to developers Stanhope; first buildings open at the White City Campus
2013 Imperial purchases 11.5 acres of land in White City, extending its campus to a 23-acre site
2016 The Translation & Innovation Hub (I-HUB) opens at the White City Campus
2017 Groundbreaking for the Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub
Opening of the Invention Rooms
2018 The Molecular Sciences Research Hub (MSRH) opens at the White City Campus