AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Polytechnic Institute

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1753 PIN
Held at: University of Westminster
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Polytechnic Institute
Date(s): 1880-2002
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: c100 boxes
Name of creator(s): Youths' Christian Institute | London
Young Men's Christian Institute | London
Polytechnic Young Men's Christian Institute | London
Polytechnic Institute | Regent Street
Regent Street Polytechnic
PCL | Polytechnic of Central London
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The philanthropist Quintin Hogg (1845-1903) aimed to provide for the social, educational, spiritual and physical needs of young men, and later of young women. Consequently, the institutions which he founded (the Youths' Christian Institute and its successors, the Young Men's Christian Institute and Polytechnic Institute, later Regent Street Polytechnic) came to include a large number of clubs and societies. Many of these became very successful and attracted a much wider membership than did Polytechnic courses. Hogg undoubtedly saw all these activities as equal parts of a single entity, but many constitutional and organisational changes followed his death, as a result of which the educational activities, supported by public funding, became predominant. The relations between the surviving clubs and the Polytechnic have therefore become more complex and are sometimes unclear. Broadly, the term Polytechnic Institute, in the early 20th century used to describe the whole institution, came to describe the social and sports clubs, as distinct from the 'educational side'.

The largest clubs were for sporting activities, including football, cricket, boxing, rugby, basketball, fencing, rowing, and water polo, amongst others. In their heyday the Polytechnic Cycling Club and the Polytechnic Harriers were among the largest and most successful clubs in the country. Hogg provided in the Regent Street premises - acquired in 1882 - a gymnasium and (opened in 1884) a swimming bath-cum-reading room. There was also a rifle range. Hogg also bought the first boat house in 1888, and provided 27 acres at Merton, where cricket, football and athletics took place. The 40-acre Memorial Ground at Chiswick, bought by public donation following Hogg's death in 1903, opened in 1906. A stadium was added in 1938. Hogg was succeeded as President of the Polytechnic in 1903 by the cricketer J E K Studd (Sir Kynaston Studd). The Studd trophy was presented annually to the best athlete from any club. A number of self-improvement societies existed in the early days, including the Polytechnic Parliament, the Mutual Improvement Society, and a Reading Circle. There were religious groups, and many clubs continued the founder's tradition of good works, for example the Christmas dinner fund providing food parcels for poor families in Marylebone. Clubs would combine to present concerts and pantomimes; for many years there was a New Year fete which presented all aspects of Polytechnic activity. In addition, clubs and social groups were formed by the various educational courses. There were a number of old members' groups, as those once actively involved in different groups wanted to continue their connection with the Polytechnic.

The relationship between the Polytechnic and the clubs had to be redefined in 1970, when Regent Street Polytechnic became the Polytechnic of Central London (PCL). Property which did not pass directly to PCL, including the Quintin Hogg Memorial Ground at Chiswick, came to be managed by Trustees. Some of the clubs survive into the present day as open clubs retaining links with the University of Westminster; some retain the name Polytechnic. Following the Education Reform Act (1988), which began the process by which PCL became the University of Westminster in 1992, further constitutional changes were made. In 1989 the Institute of Polytechnic Sports and Social Clubs was established to represent the interests of the members and liaise with PCL and, after 1992, the University of Westminster. This continues to exist, although membership is very much smaller than in former times.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the organisation known variously as the Polytechnic Sports Club, the The Institute of the Polytechnic Sports and Social Clubs, and The Polytechnic Sports Club Committee, as well as records of the Polytechnic's Men's and Women's Council, and Joint Council.

This collection includes all records relating to the organisation of sports and social activities by members of the Polytechnic except for records of the individual clubs themselves, which are catalogued as separate collections. However it does include correspondence with the clubs by the Secretary and Committees. This collection also includes papers relating to the award of Polytechnic-wide medals and trophies, including the Elsie Hoare Trophy, Studd Trophy and Ditchman Trophy.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:


Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signing the Regulations for Access form.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be supplied, for research use only, unless copyright restrictions apply or the item is too fragile to be copied. Requests to publish original material should be addressed to the University Archivist.

Finding aids:

Typescript handlist for some items. Most of the material, more recently accessioned, is uncatalogued.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The bulk of the surviving records were found in the Regent Street premises during building refurbishment (1994-1996) and are for the most part disordered, with the records of the different clubs mixed up. Other items have been given by individual club members. The many administrative changes, and pressure on space in no 309 Regent Street, have meant that the surviving archives of the clubs are incomplete. Since the establishment of the University Archives in 1994, attempts have been made to collect surviving records in order to make them available for research.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Created by the Polytechnic Institute and its clubs.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records of the Polytechnic Cycling Club (Ref: PCC), Polytechnic Football Club (Ref: PFC), Polytechnic Harriers (Ref: PHA), Polytechnic Parliament (Ref: PPA), and Polytechnic Rambling Club (Ref: PRC) are described separately. Much information on the activities of Polytechnic clubs is to be found in issues of Home Tidings, 1879-1888, and its successor The Polytechnic Magazine, 1888-1971. For details of sports facilities, see the records of the Regent Street Polytechnic (Ref: UWA RSP) and its predecessors (Ref: UWA YCI).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: Ethel M Hogg, Quintin Hogg: a Biography (Archibald Constable & Co Ltd, London, 1904), pp 141, 146, 148-9, 227-8, 411-12; The Polytechnic Young Men's Christian Institute Syllabus and Prospectus 1888-1889, pp 26-34, reprinting an article from The Times, 23 Apr 1888; '160 Years of Innovation: the Polytechnic Institution to the University of Westminster 1838-1998' (University of Westminster [1998]), pp 12, 18-21.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Jan 2002

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"