Since its establishment, Ushaw College has been a prominent educational facility for Catholics in England. Ushaw followed the traditions of its predecessor in France, Douai College, and operated as both a Catholic boarding school for ages up to eighteen, and a seminary for boys entering the priesthood who would carry on theological training up to the age of twenty-four. Until Catholicism was given legal recognition in 1839, Catholic men were not allowed to attend English Universities, as a result Ushaw set its studies to a University level providing a wide range of subjects. Emphasis was on Classical studies of Greek, Latin, arithmetic, and history of the ancient world. Science was also an important subject and specially built laboratories allowed the students to study hydrostatics, elementary electricity, and astronomy. While the College museum provided facilities to study natural science with a large collection of stuffed animals and geological specimens. Music, drawing, dancing, fencing and art were taught as optional subjects to provide an all rounded education for the sons of Catholic gentry.