University of Derby History

By | 19th May 2017

University of Derby logoUniversity of Derby History

Early years

University of Derby History, Over the years, two dozen bodies have contributed to the university’s formation. The first of these was founded in 1851 as the Derby Diocesan Institution for the Training of Schoolmistresses. Albeit under different names so to reflect maturing objectives, the institution flourished as an individual entity for some 120 years before merging with another developing educational artery to help form what was then known as the Derby Lonsdale College of Higher Education, 1977.

The other line of this confluence began in 1853 with the establishment of the Derby School of Art, which in 1870 became the Derby Central School of Art and the Derby Central School of Science. In 1885, the two schools were reformulated into the Derby School of Art and Technical Institution. Less than a decade later however, 1892, three more mergers took place and the institution became the Derby Municipal Technical College.

Kedleston Road

Former Derby Art College on Green Lane, Derby

In 1928, the Technical College split into the Derby School of Art and the Derby Technical College. By 1955, the two had become the Derby and District College of Art (opened on 22 September 1966 by Paul Reilly, Director of the Council of Industrial Design), and the Derby and District College of Technology (opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 15 May 1964), both situated on Kedleston Road, Allestree. The site was formerly Markeaton Golf Course and cost £2.5m, with a foundation stone placed on 5 July 1957 by Lord (Ernest) Hives, a former managing director of Rolls Royce. Opened by the duke the day before, the 35-acre (14 ha) Bishop Lonsdale College in Mickleover was developed for teacher training courses.

At the opening ceremony, the duke said “qualities needed by teachers are the dedication of a saint, the patience of a watchmaker, the sympathy of parents and the leadership of a general”. The duke spent two days in Derby, staying the night nearby at Okeover Hall near Ashbourne as a guest of the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire. Half of the places at Mickleover were reserved for C of E trainees and the other half for those with no link to Derby Diocese.

The operational split between the two colleges at Kedleston Road was dissolved in 1972 with a mutual initiative for the creation of the Derby College of Art and Technology. Five years afterwards, and as previously noted, the described educational lineage married itself with Derby’s diocesan tradition, which had become known institutionally as the Bishop Lonsdale College of Education at Mickleover. There were about 800 students at Mickleover and 1,200 at Kedleston Road.

Merger with Mickleover Education College

After the 1977 union and subsequent formation of the Derby Lonsdale College of Higher Education, four other educational institutions would add their respective sector-related talents. In March 1981, the college held its first graduation ceremony with formal academic caps and gowns with only six degrees (out of 156 courses) being ratified by the CNAA. Previous to this, the college’s degrees were awarded in a ceremony at the University of Nottingham.

The Matlock College of Education, a traditional Church of England teacher training college formed in 1946 at Rockside Hall (now a country hotel), combined with Lonsdale in 1983 to create the Derbyshire College of Higher Education, when the Matlock College was having financial difficulties when funding for teacher training was scaled down when school numbers had dropped. In 1985, this college at Matlock was scaled down significantly and closed in 1986. In 1991 the Southern Derbyshire School of Occupational Therapy united with the college. The Southern Derbyshire School of Radiography did the same in 1992.

Transformation to university

In 1992 the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 allowed the Derbyshire College of Higher Education became the only school of higher education in the country to be upgraded directly to a university. On 31 October 1992, the T block (science subjects, which lies to the north of the North Tower) was opened by Princess Alice, then the Chancellor of the University.

In January 1994, Britannia Mill  (a renovated mill) opened, at a cost of £10m. On 4 March 1994, the B block (business and management subjects, which lies north of the East Tower) was opened by the Conservative MP, Tim Boswell.

Later in autumn 1994, the Atrium was built. In November 1997, the Learning Centre was officially opened, having been built on a former car park. The University of Derby was fully invested, and in 1998 welcomed a synthesis of efforts with the High Peak College of Further Education, Buxton on Harpur Hill – a synthesis to eventually be amalgamated as the Devonshire Campus of the University of Derby Buxton, Derby’s second campus.

University of Derby’s Chancellor, Duke of Devonshire Peregrine Cavendish

In October 2008, Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire was appointed as the third Chancellor of the University.

In August 2012 the university merged with Leek College. The merger has created Buxton & Leek College, a further education college operated by The University of Derby which is based in Leek in Staffordshire and the university campus in Buxton.