Coventry University is a public research university in the city of Coventry, England. The University was formerly known as Lanchester Polytechnic until 1987 and Coventry Polytechnic until it was awarded university status.
With more than 27,000 students (as of 2013), Coventry University is the larger of the two universities in the city, the other being the University of Warwick. It has three campuses: one in the city centre of Coventry where a large majority of the university operates, one in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and one in London. The campus in Coventry is currently undergoing a £160m redevelopment programme. The university comprises four faculties and one school, and manages a number of commercial subsidiaries that provide business services to local and national organisations.
The university is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, University Alliance and Universities UK.
The origins of Coventry University can be traced back to the 19th century with the founding of the Coventry College of Design in 1843. Later renamed the Coventry School of Art, it was again renamed in the early 20th century to the Municipal Art School as part of the Education Act 1902. One final name change took place in the 1950s, when it became known as the College of Art.
In the late 1950s, to address the need for a high level of technical training in Coventry which the existing Coventry Technical College (now City College Coventry) could not meet, the construction of a new institution began. Opened in 1961, it was called the Lanchester College of Technology, named after Frederick Lanchester.
In 1970, the Lanchester College of Technology and the College of Art, along with the Rugby College of Engineering Technology in the neighbouring town of Rugby, amalgamated to form Lanchester Polytechnic. The institution was designated as such in February 1971 by then Education Secretary Margaret Thatcher. The name Lanchester gave the institution a certain degree of obscurity (it was often confused with both Lancaster and Manchester), notably when none of the contestants on the BBC Radio 4 general knowledge show Brain of Britain could give its correct location. The polytechnic cancelled its graduation ceremony in 1974 following the Birmingham pub bombings in fear that public gatherings could be targeted; the ceremony was eventually held in 2009, 35 years later. Lanchester Polytechnic was later renamed “Coventry Polytechnic” in 1987, and when the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 afforded Coventry Polytechnic university status that year, the name was changed to Coventry University.