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City of London College

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1432 CLC
Held at: London Metropolitan University Special Collections
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Full title: City of London College
Date(s): 1861-1970 (predominantly 1941-1970)
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 57 boxes and 120 card index boxes
Name of creator(s): City of London College


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1848 Charles Blomfield, Bishop of London, called upon the clergy to establish evening classes to improve the moral, intellectual and spiritual condition of young men in London. In response, the Reverend Charles Mackenzie, instituted the Metropolitan Evening Classes for Young Men in Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate, London, with student fees at one shilling per session. Subjects on the original curriculum included Greek, Latin, Hebrew, English, History, Mathematics, Drawing and Natural Philosophy. This fledgling college came under royal patronage following the visit of Prince Albert to the classes in 1851. In 1860 the classes moved to Sussex Hall, the former Livery Hall of the Bricklayers' Company, in Leadenhall Street. By this time, some 800 students were enrolled annually.

In 1861 the classes were reconstituted and named the City of London College. Over the next twenty years, the College was one of the pioneers in the introduction of commercial and technical subjects. The College built new premises in White Street at a cost of 16,000 (contributions were received from Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales) and were opened in 1881. In 1891 the College joined the Birkbeck Institute and the Northampton Institute to form the notional City Polytechnic by a Charity Commissioners' scheme to facilitate funding for these institutions by the City Parochial Foundation, and to enable the three institutions to work cooperatively. However this attempted federation did not function in practice, as each institution continued to operate more or less independently. The City Polytechnic concept was dissolved in 1906, and the City of London of College came under the supervision of London County Council.

In December 1940 the College's building was destroyed by a German air raid. The College subsequently moved into premises at 84 Moorgate in January 1944. (During the intervening years, the College students had been accommodated by the City Literary Institute and the Sir John Cass Technical Institute; the latter being another of London Metropolitan University's earliest precursor institutions). The College celebrated its centenary in 1948 with a service of thanksgiving addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at St Paul's Cathedral. In 1970 the College merged with Sir John Cass College to form the City of London Polytechnic.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the City of London College, comprising:

Publications, including Journal of the Evening Classes for Young Men, 1859; College Calendars, 1882-1948; prospectuses, 1920, 1941-1970; circulars, leaflets and handbills, 1938-1966; reports, 1948-1970; Director's reports to Governing Body, 1963-1966; HMI reports, 1935, 1958.

Administrative papers (very limited) include a few files and reports of the Director on foreign tours and academic organisation, enrolment statistics, syllabuses and book lists, papers on course development, and papers of the Banking and Commerce Department, 1950s-1960s; catalogue of books in the library, 1907; library guides and reading lists, 1920s-1960s.

College Societies papers including papers, minutes and correspondence of the Students' Union, 1927-1936, 1954, 1964-1968; Debating Society, 1869-1893; Chess Club, 1894-1898.

College Journals including Staff Bulletin, 1947-1968; The Londinian, 1913-1920, 1947-1953; City of London College Magazine, 1927-1938; The Hub, 1930-1962;

Papers relating to college history, mainly comprising correspondence of the College Director and Secretary on aspects of college history, orders of service, tickets and programmes, 1940s-1960s; photographic prints and slides (including albums relating to World War Two); press cuttings volume, c1860-1973, volume 1949-1958, and monthly files Jun-Dec 1969; text, proofs and correspondence relating to the City of London College History, 1964.

Papers relating to ceremonials, including various certificates, 1862-1901; Director's reports on distributions of prizes, 1909-1970; sports programmes, 1931-1959; a few papers relating to studentships and awards, 1950s-1960s.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Enquiries should be made by email to

Conditions governing reproduction:

Details available upon request

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The majority of the College's archives were destroyed along with the library and the College premises in an air raid, December 1940.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Internal accumulation by the City of London Polytechnic and London Guildhall University during the course of business.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Public Record Office holds papers relating to the City of London College, 1923-1941, including details of inspections and premises (Refs: ED/37/126, 552 and 1000, ED 90/130-131, ED 90/414-415, ED 114/547-548, ED/114/1389, ED 168/795-798). London Metropolitan Archives holds balance sheets and accounts, 1920-1939 (Ref: EO/HFE/5/44); curriculum and general papers (Ref: EO/HFE/5/45); HM Inspector's reports and correspondence, 1923 and 1935 (Refs: EO/HFE/5/194-195).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

City of London College 1848-1970 by Sean Glynn (London Guildhall University, 2002).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Robert Baxter as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Sources: London Guildhall University website; survey information by Janet Foster, May 2000; catalogue of the City of London Polytechnic archives by Meg Sweet, 1987. Subsequent amendments made by the Archives Project Team of London Metropolitan University in 2016 and 2021.

Rules or conventions:
Initially 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:
Oct 2001

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