Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,439 pages of information and 233,876 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Finsbury Technical College

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The City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education, of Finsbury, London

1878 The City and Guilds of London Institute created a teaching institution as a stop-gap until they could establish their Central Institution in London

William E. Ayrton was employed to inaugurate a series of evening lectures at the Cowper Street Middle Class School in Finsbury. Ayrton's lectures began with "The improvement science can effect in our trades and the condition of our workmen"; Henry E. Armstrong also lectured on "The First principles of Chemistry"[1]

Silvanus P. Thompson was its Principal and Professor of Physics for the first 30 years.

Recognising the level of interest in these lectures, Ayrton and Armstrong persuaded the City and Guilds to build a large building in the playground of the school with entrance in Leonard Street.

1880 It was decided to accept day-release students

1881 The foundation stone of the new college was laid by Prince Leopold

1882 John Perry (1850-1920) was appointed Professor of mechanical engineering

1883 The college was completed after some delays arising from legal, labour and cash flow problems

1892-3 The total number of daytime students was 213; there were 980 evening students[2]

WWI The RNAS (later RAF) took over part of the City and Guilds College, carrying out testing in connection with Airships and Kite Balloons. The RAF referred to this as the Finsbury Research Station.

1926 The college closed, being unable to compete with the better resourced Northampton College nearby[3]

In all about 7000 engineers and technicians had been trained by the college.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. New Scientist 22 Nov 1979
  2. The Times, Apr 27, 1894
  3. New Scientist 22 Nov 1979