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Kingston University and predecessors

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KU
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Kingston University and predecessors
Date(s): 1899-[2002]
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: approx 48 shelves
Name of creator(s): Science, Art and Technical Institute | St James's Road, Kingston-upon-Thames
Kingston Technical College
Kingston College of Technology
Kingston Polytechnic
Kingston University
Kingston School of Art
Kingston College of Art


Administrative/Biographical history:

Science and art evening classes began in Kingston-upon-Thames in c1875, forming part of late 19th-century developments in the provision of technical and design education. The classes were funded by private subscriptions, with further funds from the School Board, Surrey and Kingston Councils, and the Science and Art Department at South Kensington (part of the Board of Trade). In the session 1878-1879, taking place in the National School, Wood Street, classes included drawing and, in science, geometry, building construction, physiology, chemistry, and physics. These technical and design classes became known as the Fife Road 'Polytechnic', which had additional funds from taxation including funds resulting from the Local Taxation (Customs and Excise) Act 1890 ('whisky money') and the penny rate of 1889. This in turn evolved to form the Science, Art and Technical Institute, St James's Road, in 1899. In 1902 Surrey County Council assumed full responsibility. College status was granted by the Board of Education in 1926. In 1930 the Technical College and School of Art were divided, the latter moving to Knights Park in 1939.

Advanced qualifications included external University of London degrees. Later degree qualifications, in subjects such as technology and design, were subject to external validation by outside bodies, for instance the National Council for Technological Awards (known as the Hives Committee). There was a particular association between the aviation industry in Kingston and its environs and Kingston Technical College, which secured the first Technical College degree course (Dip Tech) in aeronautical engineering in 1957. Other such courses in science and engineering subjects - based on the sandwich principle, which balanced industrial training and college education - followed. The College was also to develop courses in commercial fields such as accountancy, banking, economics and management.

In 1962 Kingston Technical College was split, with Kingston College of Technology having responsibility for advanced courses, and non-advanced courses the responsibility of the newly-formed Kingston College of Further Education. Kingston Art College took on the role of an advanced centre for art and design, with responsibility for non-advanced art and design courses passing to other colleges in Surrey. The College developed expertise in such fields as fashion and graphic design.

The 1960s was a period of growth for higher education, exemplified by the Robbins Committee Report of 1963, which advocated the extension of advanced education to greater numbers. The National Council for Technological Awards was replaced in 1965 by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA), which validated degrees from non-university institutions. In 1965 Kingston College of Technology and Kingston College of Art (renamed in 1965) became the responsibility of the Local Education Authority of the new Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames. Kingston was among the 30 institutions chosen by the government in 1966 to provide advanced polytechnic education (under the White Paper, 'A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges', Cmd 3006), and as a result the Technical College and Art College joined to form Kingston Polytechnic on 1 January 1970, with a new governing body and administrative structure. Its new identity was recognised at a designation ceremony in March 1970. The Academic Board re-shaped the structure, substituting Schools for each disciplinary field in place of the former departments. Academically the emphasis shifted from London University degrees to CNAA degrees, in subjects in which the institution already specialised. In 1971 the Polytechnic was invited to become a regional centre co-ordinating management education and consultancy, and the resulting Kingston Regional Management Centre was located at New Malden.

The site at Penrhyn Road (first acquired in 1950, where buildings were subsequently erected for Kingston College of Further Education) was transferred in 1962 to Kingston College of Technology, which made further additions. Extensions were made to Knights Park in 1961 and 1968 and a tower block constructed at Penrhyn Road in 1969. The old Hawker factory at Canbury Park (acquired in 1967) was adapted to use for engineering courses. The Penrhyn Road, Canbury Park and Knights Park sites were inherited by the Polytechnic. Pressure on accommodation after its formation led to the construction of new buildings at Knights Park, completed in 1978. The Polytechnic acquired the premises of Gipsy Hill College of Education at Kingston Hill following its absorption in 1975. The Polytechnic opened sporting facilities at Tolworth (1974) and acquired premises for student residences at Clayhill (1973) and Kingsmead (1974).

Under the Higher and Further Education Act (1992), which created a single funding council, the Higher Education Funding Council, for England and abolished the remaining distinctions between polytechnics and universities, allowing the former to grant their own degrees, Kingston Polytechnic became Kingston University.

In 2002 Kingston University had four sites, at Kingston Hill, Knights Park, Penrhyn Road, and Roehampton Vale, and c14,500 students.

For further information see the published history Kingston Polytechnic (1980).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records, 1899-[2002], of Kingston University and its predecessors, largely dating from the 1960s and after:

Kingston Art and Technical Schools visitors' book, 1899-1909.

Minutes and papers, 1970-[2002] (some series incomplete), of the Governors, Academic Board, and various committees relating to administration, academic matters, the library, student welfare, security, finance, employment, and staff, also including the Formation Committee, 1992.

Other administrative papers include papers relating to the proposal for a polytechnic, 1960s, and the transition to Polytechnic status, including draft schemes, 1967, and scheme of government, 1976; CNAA Quinquennial Reports, 1974, 1979, and Institutional Review, 1984; various proposals, corporate plans and annual reports.

Departmental records include Industrial Liaison Centre publications, including reports, 1960s, Industrial Liaison Topics newsletter, continued by Kingston Regional Management Centre (KRMC), 1966-1977, KRMC proposal document, mid-1970s, minutes and papers, 1977-1980, brochure, 1978, newsletter Kingston Topics, 1981-1983, and Director's Report, 1984/5; Library records, 1960s-1990s, including guides; Computer Services/IT Handbooks and newsletters, 1980s; syllabuses for various courses, 1960s-1970s; report of Board of Education inspection of School of Art, 1936, and College of Art papers relating to fashion design contest, 1965, and exhibition, 1984.

Various reports include Jubilee and Inspectors reports, 1930s-1960s; Liberal Studies report of development, 1956-1967; joint report with Kingston Arts Council, 'An Arts Centre for Kingston', 1973; research reports, 1965-1984.

Various publications include the Golden Jubilee (1899-1949) history [1949] (photocopy); published history of Kingston Polytechnic, 1980; various newsletters, 1970s-1990s; handbook on administrative practices and procedures, 1982; various general prospectuses and prospectuses for individual Schools and courses; and various departmental publications.

Staff records include various job descriptions and advertisements, 1960s-1970s; Staff Association papers; and staff periodicals and articles.

Papers relating to events include conference programmes, reports and proceedings, 1960s-1970s; exhibition catalogues, 1970s-1990s; programmes and other records relating to prizes and awards ceremonies, open days and presentation/graduation ceremonies, 1960s-1980s; Incorporation Celebrations papers, 1989.

Student Union papers, 1960s-1970s, including constitution, minutes, handbooks, and magazines including Facet.

Photographs and plans of buildings and sites, 1960s-1990s, including new premises.

Miscellaneous photographs, loose and in albums, and slides, 1940s-1980s.

Press cuttings, 1931-[1990s].

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Available at the Learning Resource Centre, Kingston Hill site. Proof of identity required. Book in advance. Contact the Site Librarian.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Usual copyright restrictions apply.

Finding aids:

Shelf list; otherwise uncatalogued. The records include a card index to minutes and reports.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Created by the institution and its predecessors.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Kingston University also holds the records, 1917-c1975, of Gipsy Hill College of Education, which merged with Kingston Polytechnic in 1975.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: Kingston University website

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:
May 2002

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