Faculty colours for academic hoods are a surprisingly modern development. London University seems to have invented the first British system of faculty colours, out of whole cloth as it were, in 1844.1 But in 1862 this first system was swept away and replaced by a second, radically different system which, amid other changes, altered the colours assigned to the various faculties.2 It is this second system which is (with some modifications) recognizably still in use at London University today. [Excerpt].
Christianson, Bruce (2005) "Lined with Gold: London University and the Colour of Science," Transactions of the Burgon Society: Vol. 5.