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Royal School of Mines
Former mining college, now part of the Imperial College
The Royal School of Mines was established in 1851, as the Government School of Mines and Science Applied to the Arts. The School developed from the Museum of Economic Geology, a collection of minerals, maps and mining equipment made by Sir Henry De la Beche, and opened in 1841. The museum also provided some student places for the study of mineralogy and metallurgy. Sir Henry was the director of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, and when the collections outgrew the premises the museum and the survey were placed on an official footing, with government assistance.
The Museum of Practical Geology and the Government School of Mines and Science Applied to the Arts opened in a purpose-designed building in Jermyn Street in 1851. The officers of the Geological Survey became the lecturers and professors of the School of Mines. The Royal College of Chemistry was merged into it in 1853. The name was changed in 1863 to the Royal School of Mines, and was moved to South Kensington in 1872. In 1907, the school was incorporated into Imperial College of Science and Technology, but retained its own identity as a "constituent college".
In 2001 it was announced Imperial was to transition from a constituent college structure to a faculty structure, a move that was completed in 2003. The last Dean of the Royal School of Mines was Professor John Monhemius before the position was abolished. The Royal School of Mines has since come to refer to both the building in which former school was housed, as are its departments still today, and the student body representing students within those departments.
The RSM was the last of many buildings that Webb designed for the Albertopolis area (including the Cromwell Road frontage of the V&A) and, some would argue, his least resolved. Constructed in Portland stone, the entrance is formed by a three-storey, semicircular niche, flanked by two memorials (sculpted by Paul Raphael Montford, 1916-1920) to Alfred Beit and Julius Wernher who were major benefactors to the school. The western wing of the building is named after Webb, while the eastern end is named after the Goldsmiths' Company who helped to finance the building of the RSM.
The distinctively Edwardian and academic styling cues used in the building's architecture have led to the RSM appearing in a number of film and television productions:
1998: Sliding Doors. Front entrance to the building is used as a registry office/town hall for a wedding scene.
2004: Hustle (BBC television). Generic university frontage, briefly seen as an architecture student exits and is then approached by the main characters.
2015: Kingsman. Directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Colin Firth. Exterior and interiors used as the RSM building; subsequently shown to be blown up in a later scene.
Main Entrance Hall
The RSM Union represents the interests and organises events for the students studying at the departments associated with the Royal School of Mines. It is part of the wider college union, and has a formal constitution guiding its activities around:
The furthering of the interests of the members and the status of the RSM
The promotion of sport within the RSM
The promotion of interest in all aspects of geology and materials science
The promotion of social intercourse among its members
The union runs sports teams, societies and events which span the academic year from October to July. The highlight of the sporting and social calendar is the annual Bottle Match against Camborne School of Mines, the second oldest rugby varsity match in the world.
The RSM Union is also responsible for looking after the RSM Mascots, Davy and Clementine II. Davy is 3 foot tall, 60 kg davy lamp, a type of mining lamp, and has been a mascot since 1965. Clementine II is a 1926 Morris T-Type One Ton Truck, bought by the RSM Union in 1960 to replace their previous motorised mascot Clementine I, a 1919 Aveling and Porter Traction Engine.
Through societies such as the RSM Association and the Chaps Club, the RSM maintains a strong alumni network in the global mining community.