An English merchant, Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-1579), was an important figure in history, having worked on several matters for King Henry VII. A learned man, he stated that after the death of his wife, he wished his house on Bishopgate Street to be turned into a college. In 1597, seven professors were assigned to give free daily lectures. Since then, Gresham College may have moved location (it is now on Gresham Street), but its principles remain the same. Free education for all.
For the past four hundred years, Gresham College has provided free public lectures on a variety of subjects, giving people the opportunity to have a university style education without the university fees or a student's timetable. There is no need to book as everything is on a first come, first serve basis. No matter where your field of interest lies, there will be something to suit you. Subjects include Art & Literature, Business, Science, History, Law, Maths, Medicine, Music, and a whole lot more.
The lectures cover a wide variety of topics too. For example, the next lecture on the 28th October is about Imported Plant Diseases, while on the 31st October, Dr Ian Friel will be talking about 1295: The Year of the Galleys, and shipbuilding under King Edward I.
Gresham College has eight resident professors as well as many guest speakers. Each year they release a full scheduled itinerary, and currently, you can plan what to see up until June 2014. Lectures are one hour long and take place at either 1pm or 6pm.