Goldsmiths University of London Info

By | 9th June 2017

Goldsmiths, University of London logo

Goldsmiths University of London Info

Goldsmiths, University of London, is a public research university in London, England, specialising in the arts, design, humanities, and social sciences. It is a constituent college of the University of London. It was founded in 1891 as Goldsmiths’ Technical and Recreative Institute by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in New Cross, London. It was acquired by the University of London in 1904 and was renamed Goldsmiths’ College. The word College was dropped from its branding in 2006, but “Goldsmiths’ College”, with the apostrophe, remains the institution’s formal legal name.

Nearly 20% of students come from outside the UK, and 52% of all undergraduates are mature students (aged 21 or over at the start of their studies). Around a third of students at Goldsmiths are postgraduate students.

In 1891, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, one of the City of London Livery Companies, founded Goldsmiths’ Technical and Recreative Institute (more commonly referred to simply as the “Goldsmiths’ Institute”). The Goldsmiths’ Company was established in the 12th century as a medieval guild for goldsmiths, silversmiths and jewellers. The Livery Company dedicated the foundation of its new Institute to “the promotion of technical skill, knowledge, health and general well-being among men and women of the industrial, working and artisan classes”. The original Institute was based in New Cross at the former Royal Naval School building. (This building, which was designed by the architect John Shaw Jr, is now known as the Richard Hoggart Building and remains the main building of the campus today.)

Goldsmiths College students at the University of Nottingham in 1944

In 1904, the Institute was merged with the University of London and was re-established as Goldsmiths’ College. (The apostrophe was removed in 1993, and the word ‘College’ dropped in a rebranding in 2006). At this point Goldsmiths was the largest teacher training institution in the country. Training functions were later expanded to include refresher courses for teachers, the University Postgraduate Certificate in Education and an Art teacher’s Certificate course. The College also ran its own Nursery School.

Shortly after the merger, in 1907, Goldsmiths added a new Arts building, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, at the back of the main building. During the Second World War it was decided to evacuate the faculty and students of the College to University College, Nottingham, a decision which proved wise both at the time and in hindsight, since the main building was struck by an incendiary bomb and gutted in 1940 (and not finally repaired until 1947).

During the 1960s Goldsmiths experienced a rapid expansion in student numbers. It is during this period that Goldsmiths began to establish its reputation in the arts and social science fields, as well as offering a number of new teacher training qualifications. The original main building was expanded, and the Lockwood Building, Whitehead Building, Education Building, Warmington Tower and St James’s Hall were all built to accommodate the influx of new students. The university also acquired a number of historic buildings in the surrounding area, including the splendid former Deptford Town Hall and Laurie Grove Baths buildings. The Richard Hoggart Building, Deptford Town Hall and the Laurie Grove Baths all retain Grade II listed building status.

In 1988, Goldsmiths became a full College of the University of London and in 1990 received its Royal Charter. Among its wardens have been Richard Hoggart, Andrew Rutherford and Ben Pimlott. The current Warden is Pat Loughrey.