William Godwin's Diary


Godwin’s interest in the University of London (now University College, London) is shown by his attendance of both the laying of the first stone on 30 April 1827 and then this opening lecture of the university medical school. The university had been founded in 1826, partly at the instigation of Jeremy Bentham, and with the distinction from Oxford and Cambridge of not applying religious tests to its students. The lecture Godwin attended was given by the surgeon Sir Charles Bell, FRS, and was advertised as the introduction of a course on physiology. Attendance was free, although Godwin would have had to apply for a ticket in advance from the university offices. Bell, a university professor of surgery, physiology and anatomy, had been trained in Edinburgh, where he had moved in the Whig circles of Francis Jeffrey and Henry Brougham. He was then involved in the setting up of the London University as a means to improving medical training in the city.

See DNB and The Times, 1 October 1828.