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Shoreditch Technical Institute - Technical College for the Furnishing Trades - London College of Furniture

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1432 London College of Furniture
Held at: London Metropolitan University Special Collections
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Full title: Shoreditch Technical Institute - Technical College for the Furnishing Trades - London College of Furniture
Date(s): 1940s-1990s
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 7 boxes 1 linear metre (STI); 5 boxes 1 linear metre (TCFT); 37 boxes 9.5 linear metres (LCF)
Name of creator(s): Shoreditch Technical Institute; Technical College for the Furnishing Trades; London College of Furniture.


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1893 the Vestry of St Leonard's, Shoreditch, inaugurated Trade Classes for the local youth. Although these were not aimed solely at the furniture trade, furniture and related trades were the foremost trades of the area and so the principal focus of the classes. These were held at 35 and 37 Hoxton Street and became known as the Shoreditch Municipal Technical School. By 1897 a formal body for the management of the school had been established and the Technical Education Board (TEB) of the London County Council (LCC) had agreed to purchase the former Haberdashers' Aske's School in Pitfield Street as premises.

The new institution, renamed the Shoreditch Technical Institute (STI), was run by the TEB with a local advisory committee, and opened in 1899, with 162 students. A Domestic Economy School for Girls opened at Pitfield Street in 1900 (and closed in 1918 as demand for places fell during World War One). A Trade School for 14-16 year old boys opened in 1901, and a similar school for girls opened in 1906, both at Pitfield Street. Teacher training started at the STI in 1919. During World War Two the STI was given over to army training and the trade schools were evacuated elsewhere. After the war, Pitfield Street was given over to teacher training until 1951. The remnant of the STI was based in Hammond Square, Shoreditch, and was re-established as the Technical College for the Furnishing Trades at Pitfield Street in 1951, with a new emphasis on design as well as craftsmanship and aimed at post 18 and adult education.

In 1964 the Institute was renamed the London College of Furniture (LCF). The College expanded rapidly during the 1960s as the range of courses increased to cover, amongst others, cabinet making, upholstery, wood machining and musical instrument construction. The existing accommodation was inadequate and during the 1960s plans were made to move the LCF to new premises at 41-71 Commercial Road, Stepney. Occupation took place in 1971 and the new building was officially opened in 1972. By 1975 there were approximately 500 full time and sandwich students and 1000 part timers, in three main divisions: Furniture, Interior Design and Musical Instruments. During the 1980s the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) attempted to involve the LCF in its plans to create a single London Institute out of the several art and technical colleges which it ran. The LCF was reluctant however, as staff and students felt that its profile was unsuitable to merger within the proposed London Institute, and that instead its future would be best served by an alliance with the City of London Polytechnic. The LCF joined the Polytechnic as part of the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Design and Manufacture in 1990. The Polytechnic became London Guildhall University in 1992.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Shoreditch Technical Institute, the Technical College for the Furnishing Trades and the London College of Furniture, comprising prospectuses, 1940s-1990s; press cuttings, 1951-1989; student magazines, 1960s-1980s; miscellaneous ephemera and photographs; quinquennial review reports, 1960s. A selection of musical instruments manufactured by students of the London College of Furniture.

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:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated by former Directors and staff of the LCF.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Public Record Office holds papers relating to the Shoreditch Technical Institute, the Shoreditch Technical College and London College of Furniture, 1919-1967 (Refs: ED 78/45, 131, 394-396, 633; ED 90/159, 438-439; ED 98/106-107; ED 114/1265; ED 115/54-55, 178; ED 168/902-907). London Metropolitan Archives holds material relating to the STI and LCF in relation to the LCC and ILEA.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

The London College of Furniture by Sean Glynn (London Guildhall University, 2001).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Initially compiled by Robert Baxter as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project, based on survey information done by Janet Foster, May 2000. Subsequent amendments made by the Archives Project Team at London Metropolitan University in 2016.

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 and May 2021

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