Imperial College

The History of Selkirk Hall
The Selkirk Scholarship

Selkirk Hall is one of the best Residential Halls in Imperial College, |London. It is situated on the South side of Princes Gardens, in the heart of the Imperial College complex  and London’s major museum district.

It is named after William Selkirk who was a mining engineer who founded the original hall;. William Selkirk  never had the opportunity to attend university,. but after a successful career in copper mining in Zambia, he was able to found Selkirk Hall.


Selkirk Hall lies at the eastern end of the south side of the Princes Gardens. The gap at the end  leads down to the mews rows behind

Wanting to offer others the opportunities that he never had, Selkirk donated a sum of £17,000 for the establishment of a hall of residence in Holland Park (and then a further £5,000 when the Hall’s finances were struggling later on!).

Rear view of Selkirk Hall. These rooms get a fine view of the domes of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the distance

When the first Selkirk Hall was sold in 1961, it was deemed appropriate to name part of the planned Southside building after the benefactor. The second Hall was named Selkirk and Tizard Hall and was opened on the 8th of October, 1963 by HRH Princess Margaret.



The mews cottages behind Selkirk Hall.


By the turn of the century, the 1960s Southside building was much worse for wear. The specification for student accommodation had moved forward significantly and it was felt that the condition of the building, the small rooms and lack of ensuite bathroom facilities fell short of the standards students should expect. Many aspects of the building made it unsuitable for disabled students and did not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995.

View of Selkirk Hall from the Princes Gardens  with a fine tree just coming into blossom.

Plans for a second Southside building were drawn up and in 2005 work began to demolish the old one and build a better one in its place. The new Southside building is split into three distinct halls – the best of which, continuing the Selkirk legacy, has now been named as the third Selkirk Hall.


Stitched together panorama of the Princes Gardens. To  the left is the North side (all white), while in the centre is the east side. Then there is a gap,  Selkirk Hall is just to the right of the gap, at the east end of the South Side. To its right is the Medical centre, the Dental centre and then Tizard Hall. (Double click on this photo to enlarge).


(Adapted from the Imperial College, London website)

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