Our history
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Our history

Our history

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths set up its Technical and Recreative Institute in 1891 to provide educational opportunities for the people of New Cross. The University of London acquired the new Institute and re-established it as Goldsmiths College in 1904.

Since 1989, Goldsmiths has been a full College of the University with its own distinctive role as an independent university institution, at the same time committed to its membership of one of the world’s great academic federations.

A brief history of Goldsmiths

The Royal Naval School for the sons of naval and marine officers opens in New Cross. The building, designed by John Shaw, is now the Richard Hoggart building.

Goldsmiths' Technical and Recreative Institute is founded by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Established in the former Royal Naval School - still the College's main building - at New Cross, it is dedicated to 'the promotion of technical skill, knowledge, health and general well-being among men and women of the industrial, working and artisan classes'.

The Goldsmiths Company hands over the Institute to the University of London, which re-names it 'Goldsmiths' College'.

A new School of Art, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and funded by the Goldsmiths' Company, opens at the back of the Main Building.

The Second World War forces the teacher-training department to evacuate to University College, Nottingham.

In December, incendiary bombs set off a fire which guts much of the New Cross Main Building.

Repairs to the war-torn buildings are carried out.

Goldsmiths expands degree-level and teacher-training work and greatly increased its student intake. In this fertile period, the Lockwood, Whitehead and Education Buildings, the extension of the Main Building, Warmington Tower and St James's Hall are erected.

St Gabriel's and Rachel McMillan Colleges of Education are merged with Goldsmiths.

Goldsmiths holds a ceremony to confer its first two Honorary Fellowships.

Goldsmiths becomes a full School of the University of London.

HRH The Princess Royal presents the College with its Royal Charter.

Goldsmiths is included in Lewisham's successful bid to the Department of the Environment for City Challenge funding to promote the regeneration of Deptford.

The Chancellor opens the Rutherford Information Services Building, which receives a RIBA award as one of the ten best new buildings in the capital.

Goldsmiths completes the purchase of the Deptford Town Hall Building from Lewisham, and in the same year the Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths' Company, Sir Adam Butler, opens a new Students' Union extension, which the Company has helped to fund.

Goldsmiths is successful in its application for a £2.4 million Funding Council grant towards the first phase of a major new Arts Complex on the St James's site.

Goldsmiths celebrates 100 years as part of the University of London.

Ben Pimlott Building

The new Ben Pimlott Building, named after the former Warden of Goldsmiths opens on campus. Designed by Alsop & Partners, the flagship seven-storey structure, provides purpose-built teaching space within the New Cross campus, including art studios, lecture theatres, and cutting edge psychology and digital media labs.

The main building is renamed Richard Hoggart Building in honour of Professor Richard Hoggart, former Warden of Goldsmiths. Goldsmiths was announced as one of the UK's coolest brands for the fifth year running.

The various league tables of universities arising from Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 all place Goldsmiths firmly within the top 35 of research-intensive universities. When it comes to the very peak of world-leading research, shown by the top 4* grade, Goldsmiths comes an even more impressive 9th.

Goldsmiths is successful in its application for planning permission for its New Academic Building; a cutting-edge £20 million new building to house the Department of Media & Communications and the Institute for Creative and Culture Entrepreneurship (ICCE).

New Academic BuildingGoldsmiths opens its New Academic Building. The iconic Building is home to two world-leading departments, Media and Communications and the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE), and its facilities include a 250-seat lecture theatre, teaching rooms, meeting spaces and a café with outdoor seating.

A dedicated Student Centre opens in the Richard Hoggart Building at Goldsmiths. The centre offers convenient access to support services for students, including enrolment and records, advice and support, student funding and information and assessments, all under one roof.

Goldsmiths launches a new department, the Institute of Management Studies, which offers postgraduate degrees specialising in the science of management, innovation and leadership. The Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance also launches at Goldsmiths, one of 300 Confucius Institutes worldwide, and the first dedicated to Chinese dance and the arts, as well as the first to use professional arts platforms to promote Chinese language, dance, arts and culture.

In the 2012-13 QS World University Rankings Goldsmiths was placed in the world's top 100, and the UK's top 20, institutions for Arts and Humanities for the third year running.‌

Goldsmiths is named in the UK's top 10 universities for two subject areas (Art & Design; Communication & Media Studies) in The Complete University Guide league tables.

Student satisfaction at Goldsmiths hits an all-time high in the 2013 National Student Survey, with 88% of final year students satisfied with their course.

The Goldsmiths Prize, rewarding boldly original fiction, is launched. Eimear McBride is the prize's first winner, scooping the trophy for her novel 'A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing'

Goldsmiths alumni win both the Mercury Music Prize and the Turner Prize.  

Plans are unveiled for a brand new contemporary art gallery, the winning design is by the innovative London-based architecture collective - Assemble. The gallery will be a leading exhibition space in London - running a dynamic programme of exhibitions, projects and residencies by leading artists and curators from the UK and abroad.

Goldsmiths alumnus and Turner Prize winner - Steve McQueen becomes the first black director to receive the Best Picture Oscar for his film 12 Years a Slave.


Content last modified: 07 Aug 2014

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