The history and development of the University of Hertfordshire

The University has a rich and vibrant history spanning over half a century of higher education excellence in Hertfordshire. The University of Hertfordshire began life in 1952 as a Technical College on land donated by the then Chairman of the de Havilland Aircraft company, AS Butler. Many of its courses were directly related to industry, with an emphasis on mechanical and aeronautical engineering and the natural sciences.

The original Technical College eventually expanded into a Polytechnic before achieving its full University status in 1992. The legacy of our history can still be felt across the de Havilland Campus, with many of the original de Havilland Airfield landmarks, such as the beacon and the de Havilland Goblin engine, remaining prominent on-site and continues to define the character of the University.

Today, with a student community of over 30,000 studying UK-based programmes across our three  campuses, the University retains its focus on students’ employability with career focused courses aligned with the needs of industry and the public sector. As the only University in the county, we remain committed to the regional skills agenda, just as we did more than 50 years ago.

You can find out more about the key milestones and achievements in the University of Hertfordshire’s history below.

More information

If you are interested in local and regional history, you may also find the Heritage Hub a good source of information.