City and Guilds of London Institute – more background.

(More background on City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI), Finsbury Technical College, the Central Institution and the City and Guilds of London Art School).
Founded in 1878 by a number of Livery Companies and the City of London in order to contribute to the development of a national system of technical education. Following a review by a number of Livery Companies recommendations were made about the structure and scope of City and Guilds of London Institute. There were to be five branches to the Institute namely:
·         The transference of the Society of Arts Technological examinations to the Association of the Livery Companies which had been constituted as the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education. The resulting Technological Examinations Department was to register and inspect classes in technology and manual training and to hold annual examinations in the subjects taught in these classes.
·         The creation of a Trade/Technical College/School north of the Thames at Finsbury: “An intermediate College’ with day courses in mechanical and electrical engineering and chemistry and evening classes in the same subjects and in applied art.
·         The creation of a South London Technical Art School at Kennington offering courses in such areas as drawing, house decorating, modelling and painting.
·         The creation of a Central Institution which would be a high quality training school for teachers in London. An Institution of a ‘university character’, in mechanics and mathematics; civil, mechanical and electrical engineering; chemistry and
·         Grants for supporting certain technical classes already established at King’s College, London and elsewhere; and grants for the proposed chairs of Chemical Technology and Mechanical Technology at University College, London.
 Subsequently a number of meetings were held to consider taking forward these proposals and on 11th November 1878 at the Mercers’ Hall sixteen Livery Companies and the Corporation of London in attendance that would formally decide to establish a national system of technical education.
The funding came from the seventeen organisations present at the meeting and initially a sum of £11,582. 1Oshillings (£11,582.50p) was provided.
The sixteen Companies present at the founding meeting were:
Armourers and Braziers/Brasiers, Carpenters, Clothworkers, Coopers, Cordwainers, Drapers, Dyers, Goldsmiths, Fishmongers, Ironmongers, Leathersellers, Needlemakers, Mercers, Pewterers,  Plaisters and Salters.
 Eventuallyin 1880 the educational association comprising 14 of the founding Companies established was incorporated under the Company Acts as the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education. In 1900 the Institute was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.
The locations of CGLI headquarters in London since its founding:
1879-80: Mercers’ Hall
1881-1913: Gresham College
1913: 3, St Helen’s Place – whilst Gresham College was rebuilt
1914: Leonard Street at the CGLI Finsbury technical College whilst the rebuilding of Gresham College continued
1915-57: Gresham College, Basinghall Street
1958 -1995: 76, Portland Place
1995+: 1, Giltspur Street.
Technological Examinations:
1879 – 80: Mercers’ Hall
1881 – 87: Gresham College
1887 – 91: City and Guilds of London Central Institute, South Kensington
After 1891 the technological examinations became part of the examination department and between:
1891 – 1903 were based at Exhibition Road (Royal School of Needlework), South Kensington and at various locations namely:
1903 – 22: Exhibition Road
1922 – 31: 29,Roland Gardens, South Kensington
1931 – 58: 31, Brechin Place
1958 – 1995: 76, Portland Place
1995 –present: 1, Giltspur Street
Some other dates:
1879 – 1926: City and Guilds Technical College, Finsbury – Leonard Street. Initially located in the premises of the Middle Class School in Cowper Street, classes started in November 1879 with teachers such as H. E. Armstrong and W. E. Ayrton. Eventually a new college was built in Leonard Street –foundation stone laid May 1881 and opened in 1883 as Finsbury Technical College.
1879 – 1923: South London Technical Art School – 122-124 Kennington Park Road
1932 – 37: City and Guilds of London Institute Kennington and Lambeth Art School – 118-71 Kennington Park Road
1937 – 71: City and Guilds of London Art School – 118-124 Kennington Park Road
1884 – 93: Central Institution – Exhibition Road
1893 – 1910: Central Technical College – Exhibition Road
1911 – 1962: City and Guilds College – Imperial College of Science and Technology, South Kensington
The Central Institution
The Object of the Central Institution:
‘To train technical teachers, proprietors and managers of chemical, civil and electrical engineers, architects, builders and persons engaged in art industries’.
Building completed in June 1884 with extensive facilities including: classrooms, laboratories, lecture theatres, specialist workshops and studios with engines and other forms of machinery for practical work. Clearly it was an expensive initiative as it focused on high level work and initially student numbers were low e.g. in 1885 there were only 35 students. In 1909 student numbers were 408 but even with fees from them the Institution struggled to be financially viable. The shortfall of £5,000 was covered by the Livery Companies but the high cost of updating equipment was a real concern. Eventually following recommendations from a Royal Commission regarding university education in London a faculty of engineering was created within the University of London and the City and Guilds Central Technical College as it was then called became one of its schools. Finally in 1907 it became one of the constituent colleges of Imperial College and in 1910 became known as the City and Guilds College.
Finsbury Technical College
The Objectives of Finsbury Technical College:
‘One of the yet unsolved problems of education is to discover subjects of instruction which a schoolboy, in after life, shall not cast aside as unprofitable, either for the purposes of his daily work or recreation, and the teaching of which shall have the same disciplinary effect as that of other subjects, which for so many centuries have been the sole instruments of education. In this college, an attempt will be made to partially solve this problem, by teaching science with this double object’. (Philip Magnus)
It is interesting to see what occupations the students represented at Cowper Street in 1880 included the following:
Brewers, Cabinet makers, Chemists, Dentists, Distillers, Drug brokers, Dyers, Electricians, Engineers, Engravers, Fire hose makers, Gas engineers, Glue makers, Hair and felt manufacturers, Inspectors of the Telephone Company, Leather dressers, Perfumers, Philosophical instruments makers, Photographers, Printers, Scale makers, Surgical instrument makers, Telegraphic instrument makers. Telegraphists, Varnish and colour manufacturers, Whitesmiths and Wine merchants,
A remarkable range! I wonder what Philosophical instrument makers were! Something about Natural Philosophy?
Lambeth School of Art/City and Guilds of London Art School
The Institute took over the Lambeth School of Art in 1878 when it faced closure. It was renamed the South London School of Technical Art on Kennington Park Road. The premises were extended by adding extra studios. Most of the classes were offered in the evening and students from local industries particularly the Doulton potteries. Classes were offered in calligraphy, drawing, a wide range of masonry techniques, painting and pottery modelling. The school proved very successful and trained many noted artists and designers. The premises were further extended in 1932 and in 1938 and it was renamed the City and Guilds of London Art School. The running costs of £20,000 in 1970 were relatively modest but the Institute decided that its work was out of kilter with its main business. A separate charitable trust was created supported by a number of Livery Companies and in 1971 the formal links with the Institute ceased.
This brief account does not do justice to the contribution the City and Guilds has made to the development of technical education. It created a number of fascinating institutions and has become a major examining body offering over 500 qualifications in a wide range of industrial sectors throughout 8,500 colleges and training providers in over 80 countries. The City and Guilds Group comprises: the Hospitality Awarding Body (HAB), the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) and the Pitman Examinations Institute (PEI).

City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI) Timeline

1878 Foundation of CGLI

1879 Finsbury Technical College and CGLI Art School founded

1880 Appointment of Philip Magnus as Director and Secretary to CGLI

1884 Opening of Central Institution in Exhibition Road

1887 First overseas examinations in New South Wales

1900 Royal Charter of Incorporation granted

1902 Balfour Education Act

1907 Foundation of Imperial College

1926 Closure of Finsbury Technical College

1933 Signing of the ‘Concordat’

1944 Butler Education Act

1951 Launch of AEB

1958 CGLI HQ located at 76 Portland Place

1964 Industrial Training Act and creation of NEBS Management

1971 City and Guild School becomes Independent Trust

1973 Haslegrave Report Formation of TEC, BEC and DATEC

1979 Ferryside Agreement

1985 Publication of Review of Vocational Qualifications

1990 Acquisition of Pitman Examinations Institute

1995 CGLI HQ located at 1Giltspur Street

1998 Establishment of AQA. Launch of City and Guilds Affinity


CGLI. ‘Reflections Past and Future’. By Andrew Sich CGLI. 2000.
Lang. J. ‘City and Guilds of London Institute. Centenary 1878 – 1978. CGLI. 1978.
City and Guilds of London Institute. ‘A Short History’. CGLI. 1993.
Cronin. B. P. ‘Technology, Industrial Conflict and the Development of Technical Education in the 19th– Century England’. Ashgate. Aldershot. ISBN 0 7546 0313 X. 2001.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email