University description (as per official university website)
University College, Bristol opened in October 1876 with two professors, five lecturers and 99 students. It was the first college in the country to admit men and women on an equal footing.
Thirty-two years later, after much hard work by a variety of dedicated individuals and generous financial support from the Wills and Fry families (who made their fortunes in tobacco and chocolate, respectively), the College was ready to petition King Edward VII for a charter that would give it full university status. The King signed the charter in May 1909, and flags flew and churchbells rang across the city. The new University of Bristol opened in October 1909 with 288 undergraduates and some 400 other students. Henry Overton Wills became its first chancellor.
The University's reputation grew steadily throughout the 1930s, helped in no small way by the appointment of Winston Churchill as its third Chancellor in 1929. It became known as an institution with formidable academic strengths and an unshakeable commitment to quality - characteristics that are just as apparent now.