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Hornsey College of Arts and Crafts

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2925 HCA
Held at: Middlesex University: University Collections
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Full title: Hornsey College of Arts and Crafts
Date(s): 1882-[1996]
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 8 shelves
Name of creator(s): Hornsey College of Arts and Crafts


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1882, Charles Swinstead (1815-1890), an artist and art teacher, selected a site at Crouch End Hill, north London, and commissioned a purpose-built private school of art complete with teaching studios and an adjacent headmaster's house. Building was completed in 1882 and the Hornsey School of Art was opened officially in the autumn of the same year.At the first meeting of the Committee of the School on 18 August 1882, responsibility for its financial and administrative control was formally invested in the owner and headmaster, Charles Swinstead. At first the School was only open on three mornings and three evenings a week, later extended to a five-day week and Saturday mornings. Subjects taught included drawing, oil painting, watercolour painting, geometry and perspective. Swinstead's role was gradually taken over by his son, Frank Hillyard Swinstead, who became headmaster on his father's death in 1890.
In 1894, the management structure of the School changed. Regular annual grants from Middlesex County Council were initiated in this year, and the School's Committee was replaced by a Joint Committee with the Council. The Joint Committee acquired greater responsibility, and was soon answerable for most aspects of the running of the School. The curriculum was expanded to include subjects of industrial and practical value, such as modelling, design and wood carving. By 1904, the School was under the joint control of the Board of Education and the Middlesex County Council. Numbers were increasing, and the need for larger accommodation led to the conversion of the headmaster's house into teaching rooms.
Following World War One, when more classes relating to trade, such as lithography, etching and fashion drawing, were added to the curriculum, the County Council took over full financial responsibility for the School from the Swinstead family (1920) and appointed a reconstituted governing body. The Council bought the freehold of the property in 1925. Frank Swinstead was succeeded as headmaster in 1927 by John Charles Moody, who presided over a major development of the School buildings. A new extension was opened in 1931, and in the same year the School was renamed the `Hornsey School of Arts and Crafts'. Student numbers continued to grow, and teaching subjects soon included graphics and printing. Teaching continued throughout World War Two, despite bomb damage to the buildings, and in 1944 photography was added to the curriculum. In 1947, Moody retired and J G Platt was appointed principal of the School.
In 1951, the School became a constituent college of the University of London Institute of Education for the purposes of awarding the Art Teachers Certificate, and in 1952 was renamed the `Hornsey College of Arts and Crafts'. This was subsequently abbreviated to `Hornsey College of Art'. Platt retired in 1957 and was replaced by Harold Herbert Shelton during a period of great reforms in advanced art education, and the introduction of the Diploma in Art and Design (DipAD). The College grew rapidly, expanding into several annexes scattered around north London. In 1965, the London Government Act removed the College from the control of Middlesex County Council and made it the responsibility of the newly formed Borough of Haringey.
The 1970s saw a huge change in the life of the College, when building began at a site in Cat Hill with the intention of housing the whole College; the work was finished in 1979. In 1973, the Hornsey College of Art had merged with Enfield and Hendon Colleges to form Middlesex Polytechnic, and 1981 saw the final removal from the Crouch End Hill site.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Hornsey College of Arts and Crafts, 1882-[1996], including signed minute books of the Committee Meeting of the Hornsey School of Art, 1882-1915; a minute book of the governors of the Hornsey School of Art, 1894-1900; picture prospectus, 1900, including examples of student work and views of the School; volume containing the signatures of the Committee members of the Willesden Polytechnic School of Art, given to Frank Swinstead, possibly on his retirement from there in 1907; Swinstead family material, [1880-1920], notably a scrapbook containing letters, cards and invitations, and family photographs; a scrapbook of the Hornsey School of Art Sketch Club, 1900, containing a series of verses by Horace Augustus Mummery about the life of the School entitled `Poetical composition to Fine Arts'; memorabilia collected by Sheila MacEwan relating to her teaching work at the School, [1913-1957], notably printed books by MacEwan and others relating to crafts, programmes, press cuttings and photographs of students, staff and teaching methods; various typed reports of the Hornsey School of Arts and Crafts, 1935-1957, including Principal's Reports, Annual Reports and County Council Reports; papers of the Arts and Recreations Committee, 1940s; press cuttings relating to the College, 1960s-1990s; prospectuses, 1947-[1982], including a facsimile of a 1905 prospectus; set of miscellaneous minutes, 1960s; publications of the Advanced Studies Group; material relating to student work, [1960-1980], especially relating to industrial and graphic design, and including photographs, reports, publications and teaching materials; documents relating to students, [1970s-1980s], including photographs, student lists, and notes on subsequent careers; material concerning `A century of art education', a centenary exhibition staged at New Gallery, Crouch End, in 1982, including a visitors book and photographs; photographs of the Cat Hill site, [1970s-1980s]; film reels and videotapes, possibly relating to student work, 1990s.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:


Conditions governing access:

By appointment. Users should contact the Learning Resource Manager.

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the discretion of the Learning Resource Manager.

Finding aids:

Unlisted. Boxes are labelled.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred from the Hornsey College of Art in the 1970s on the formation of Middlesex Polytechnic.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Clive Ashwin, A century of art education, 1882-1982 (Middlesex Polytechnic, 1982).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

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:
Dec 2001

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