Imperial College

City and Guilds College

Perspective of the City and Guilds Technical Institute 1881

Perspective of the City and Guilds Technical Institute, 1881
Watercolour
Artist: Alfred Waterhouse (1830-1905)
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections


In 1876 the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education was founded. This aimed to improve the training of craftsmen by establishing a central institution in London and setting up an examination system in technical subjects.

The institute found its home on the Exhibition Road in a purpose-built structure by the architect Alfred Waterhouse. The Central Technical College of The City and Guilds of London, which was renamed the City and Guilds College in 1907, was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in June 1884, and the first full time courses began in February 1885.

This beautiful perspective view from the south east was produced by Waterhouse himself, who in his early years had hoped to be an artist. Waterhouse designed a striking red brick and red terracotta building, a medium he used nearby at the Natural History Museum.

Incorporation into Imperial College

In 1907 the college merged with the Royal College of Science and the Royal School of Mines, and formed by Royal Charter the Imperial College of Science and Technology; however, it was not officially incorporated into the college until 1910.

As a result of the extensive redevelopment of Imperial College in the 1950s and 1960s, the City and Guilds College was demolished in 1962. Surprisingly, unlike its neighbour the Imperial Institute by Collcutt, its demise did not seem to provoke a public outcry. The site on which it sat is now occupied by Lord Foster's Imperial College Business School.