The Industrial Revolution, beginning primarily in the UK, generated an increasing need for highly skilled technical people. Throughout the 19th century, technical instruction increased dramatically and the formation of schools specializing in science and technology grew quickly. In England, there was much motivation in favour of a national prestige center for science and technology centered in London. Central among the motivating forces was Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. Although there were already existing specialist science and technology institutions in major English cities, the growth of superior institutions in other countries within Europe, especially Germany and the Charlottenburg area of Berlin (e.g., the Berlin Technical High School), encouraged important English dignitaries to become more competitive with continental Europe. As a result of this strong continental motivation, several science and technology institutions were built in the south Kensington part of London during the latter half of the 19th century. Imperial College, founded at the start of the 20th century, was a culmination and consolidation of several of these 19th century English institutions. Optical science and technology was an early beneficiary of the founding of Imperial College. This paper will attempt to provide the reader with an understanding of how great was the influence of the optical section of Imperial College in the further development of the world’s optical science and technology.