The foundation of the University in 1883 prompted a public holiday during which the church bells rang all day, such were the high hopes and expectations that the University generated.

The journey from the 19th to the 21st century has seen transformed from what was once a small provincial university into what is today acknowledged as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities, and one which is held in high esteem both nationally and internationally.

During this period there have been huge visible changes, most obviously in the university estate. From humble beginnings in a dilapidated former hospital the University today benefits from a combination of impressive Portland-stone and modern state-of-the-art buildings, mainly located in the elegant civic centre. As the status and reputation of the University has grown, so too have the numbers of students and staff, who are now drawn to not just from throughout Britain, but from throughout the world.


Cardiff's history, like most of the United Kingdom's large civic universities, has been shaped by the traditions of several institutions.

The Arts and Science Classes began in 1866, developing into the Technical College, the Welsh College of Advanced Technology and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST) and merging with the University in 1988.

The University of South Wales and Monmouthshire was founded in 1883, changing its name to University in 1972. It became the University of Wales College of upon merger with UWIST in 1988, then University of Wales, - but largely being known as University, its public name, which became its formal title in 2004.

The University of Wales College of Medicine, has an equally rich and impressive history, being established as the Welsh National School of Medicine in 1931. It has a long tradition of partnership with University leading to the merging of activities in 2004.