Birmingham City University Website

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Birmingham City University Website

Beginnings 1843-1971

Our early history can be traced back to the five individual colleges which would be brought together as The City of Birmingham Polytechnic in 1971.

Birmingham College of Art has its roots back in October 1843, when the Birmingham Society of Artists opened the Birmingham Government School of Design. In 1884 the School evolved into Birmingham College of Art, moving to a beautiful purpose-built Venetian Gothic building on Margaret Street designed by John Chamberlain. Today Margaret Street, which still houses our Department of Art, is a Grade I Listed Building.

In 1888 Birmingham School of Jewellery, which was based in Ellen Street, became a branch of the College of Art. Two years later a new building was opened in Vittoria Street which has been the School’s home ever since.

The School of Architecture was established within the College of Art in 1909 and won Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) recognition in 1923 and 1930 to become one of the UK’s major schools of architecture. On entry into the Polytechnic, the School became a leading department of the Faculty of the Built Environment.

Birmingham School of Music developed as a department of the Birmingham and Midland Institute around 1859. The first phase of the present building in Paradise Circus was opened in 1973 by HM The Queen Mother.

Birmingham College of Commerce was established in the early 20th century and became a branch of Birmingham Central Technical College (CTC) with its main teaching centre in Edmund Street. A new CTC at Gosta Green was formally opened by HM The Queen in 1955 and the College of Commerce moved to the site in the early 1960s. In 1961, the CTC’s technology divisions became the UK’s first College of Advanced Technology which, in 1966, became Aston University. The College of Commerce remained separate, however, before becoming part of the Polytechnic.