City College Norwich has a remarkable history, providing education for thousands of individuals and employers for 125 years.

From the opening of the Technical School in 1891 through to continuing to provide education during the Second World War and moving to our current site on Ipswich Road in 1953, you can discover the history of our College through the interactive timeline below.
2015 2015

Further improvements to the Ipswich Road campus saw the completion of the redevelopment of Broadland Drive, which included the demolition of the post-war workshops at the back of the Norwich Building and the addition of a new Centre for students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.

2013 2013

The college’s new £5.7m Creative Arts Building opened in September 2013. The Norfolk barn style building, with 3 purpose-built floors dedicated to different areas of the creative, performing and digital arts, was awarded a prestigious Civic Trust Award in 2014.

2012 corrienne_peasgood

Corrienne Peasgood, Principal, 2012-Present

2012 2012

The StartUp Lounge, a pioneering facility for the development of entrepreneurship skills is officially opened in the Blakeney Building by Gazelle entrepreneurs Ben Ramsden and Priya Lakhani and subsequently visited by HRH The Duke of York. Wayland Academy becomes the second academy to be sponsored by City College Norwich. The College is successful in its bid to set up a new, Norfolk University Technical College, specialising in skills for energy, engineering and advanced manufacturing, to open in September 2013. Plans are unveiled for a new creative arts building on the main Ipswich Road campus and for a new Higher Education Campus based at St Andrews House and Norfolk House in the city centre. The College becomes a founder member of Gazelle Global Ltd, set up to create a new generation of Entrepreneurial Colleges. City College Norwich and its partner institutions join together in the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) federation.

2011 2011

The College’s buy and sell fashion boutique, ego, opens in Chapelfield Shopping Centre, part of the Retail Skills Academy. Project SEARCH, an employability project for students with learning difficulties and / or disabilities is awarded a national AoC Beacon Award.

2010 2010

The College is presented with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education by Her Majesty The Queen for the innovative and student-centred work of its RUGROOM for students with Asperger Syndrome and other Autistic Spectrum Disorders. College Principal, Dick Palmer, wins the LSIS Principal of the Year Award 2010 in recognition of his services to students.

2009 ballet

The College launches its Strategic Plan to 2014, Developing Tomorrow’s People, Tomorrow’s Workforce, setting out 6 S’s for the 21st Century: Students, Staff, Skills, Sites, Systems and Stakeholders. The College won its second National Training Award, for the RUGROOM, which also received the AoC President’s Award and Beacon Award for Widening Participation. The College earned National Skills Academy status in Creative & Cultural Skills, Hospitality and Retail.

2008 rug_room

The RUG (Really Useful Group) ROOM, the College’s purpose built facility for students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is opened as a safe space where students can study, relax, and work with support staff. 2008-09 saw City College Norwich launch the new 14-19 Diplomas, delivered in partnership with consortia of local high schools. Around 1,000 14-16 year olds regularly attend the College, usually for one day a week, as part of their school curriculum. The College gained the Training Quality Standard for responsiveness to employers, became a National Skills Academy for Manufacturing and won a National Training Award for its work with Lotus plc. The College also become the first in the country to gain Awarding Organisation Status.

2007 2007

The College takes over St Andrews House, in the centre of Norwich, as the home of the City College led National Skills Academy for Financial Services. Opened in November by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alastair Darling, the Academy boasts state of the art facilities that would not look out of place in any financial services company HQ. St Andrews House is an exemplar of the College’s learning model of training students in an employer-endorsed, industry-standard environment.

2006 ccn_becomes_associate_of_uea

City College Norwich became an Associate College of the University of East Anglia.

2005 2005

The Government announced that the college had successfully bid to become the East of England centre for the new National Skills Academy for Financial Services. The role of the new Academy is to tackle the skills shortages faced by the Financial Services industry and to work with the sector to develop the training, skills and qualifications for the future.

2003 dick_palmer

Dick Palmer, Principal, 2003-2012

1998 opening_of_norfolk_building

HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the Norfolk Building. The Norfolk Building included new construction and engineering workshops fitted with up-to-date equipment and resources, improved drama and sports facilities, and a new student restaurant. The construction of the Norfolk Building allowed other areas of the college campus to be redeveloped including a new TV studio, radio studio, music studios, photographic laboratories and art and textile studios..


Caroline Neville, Principal, 1993-2002

1993 evening news supplement

The college moved out of local authority control to become an independent body responsible for its own affairs, accountable to a new Corporation Board of Governors.

1991 biology_class

In 1991 the college became an associate college of the new Anglia Polytechnic, which promises further expansion of higher education.

1991 norfolk_show

Norfolk Show 1991

1988 1988

Following the 1988 Education Reform Act, the governing body was reconstituted to reduce local authority representation and give local industry the majority voices, and the governors were given much greater control over the budget. At the same time the college got a new logo and the name was shortened to “City College Norwich”.

1987 lewis_building

The Lewis Building is completed


The Further Education Act of 1985 allowed colleges to engage in commercial activities and use their expertise to generate additional income.


The college was approved to offer new degree courses.


Jack Lewis, Principal, 1983-1993

1983 southwell_lodge

The old departmental system was replaced by two faculties, each under a Dean and each containing three schools of study.The School of Arts and Sciences, Information Technology and Crafts and Technology together made up the Faculty of Arts and Technology, while the Faculty of Business and Community Studies comprised the school of Community Studies, the Hotel School and the School of Administration Studies (later renamed the Business School).

1980 sports_hall

The Sports Hall in the 1980’s

1977 1977

The college was redesignated “Norwich City College of Further and Higher Education”.


The Student Services and Student Union building known as F Block was opened.

1974 1974

The assemby hall was turned into the library, a new sports hall built and the former gym turned into a theatre.

1972 hotel_block_for_students

The students’ residence of Southwell Lodge was opened in 1972

1971 david_tudor

The college surpassed 10,000 students for the first time. David Tudor, a graduate trainee with Norwich Union, was the 10,000th student enrolled for the year. The fact that he was a “mature” student in full-time employment with a leading city business symbolised the enduring links between the institution and its community and, at the same time, reflected some of the changes which had taken place in local economy. Insurance and financial services had taken over from the footwear industry as the main local employer

1970 construction_hotel_school

The Hotel School was built, along with new accommodation for Engineering, Printing, and Humanities in what was then know as E Block.


J.F. Croft, Principal, 1967-1983

1964 1964

The School of Art became a fully autonomous body, under its own governors, and in 1973 took over the whole of the St George’s Street building. Today this is the Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA).


The classroom wing of the main workshop was topped up with two additional storeys. New buildings also appeared to house General Studies, a new refectory and a gym.

1953 1953

On 8 October 1953 the City College’s new Ipswich Road building was officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of the County, Sir Edmund Bacon. Its official name at the time was “Norwich City College and Art School”. It was the first college of its kind to be completed since the end of the war. Domestic Science became the Catering Department and eventually the Hotel School, as the pre-war enthusiasm for tourism was reborn. Before the 1950s were out, a new brick workshop was built.


The South Wing was completed in 1951 to house the Science and Engineering Departments, the administrative offices and the library, while the North Wing (for Commerce and Languages, Buildings and Domestic Science), together with the hall, were ready in 1953.


The college’s structure continued to grow and change, splitting or amalgamating in tune with developments in industry and commerce. The Department of Commerce and Languages became the Commerce Department (later Business and Management Studies) and General Studies (later Humanities and Social Studies). Engineering was split into Electrical on the one hand and Mechanical and Production on the other, the latter eventually absorbing the Department of Footwear Manufacture. Mathematics was separated from Science, and then expanded by the addition of Computer Studies. Business and Management courses, along with Computing, grew strongly during the post-war years as changes in business and technology increased demand in these areas

1950 main_entrance

Main Entrance circa 1950's

1949 1949

The end of the Second World War brought renewed hope for resumption of work on the main college buildings. The dedication stone was unveiled in December 1949. However, the planned new Art School and gym had to be abandoned and the steelwork, which had been damaged during an air raid, was removed.


The Commerce and Languages Department, Junior Commercial School and the Junior Art Department were reopened after their closure at the beginning of the war.

1941 city_college_art_school_prospectus

The college adopted a new name, “Norwich City College and Art School”. War-time needs, as well as the pressing demands of the college, led to the completion of the workshop block in 1941. It became home to the Technical School, Building Department.

1939 1939

The decision to build a new college had been taken in the mid-1930s and the Ipswich Road site acquired. Most of the steelwork was quickly erected, but then the outbreak of war put a stop to further progress. The steel frame stood for some 10 years as a ghostly presence among the trees of Ipswich Road. During the Second World War the college provided a whole series of special short courses for formally unskilled workers, including women as well as being used as a gas-decontamination centre.

1938 technical_college

The Technical College and the School of Arts and Crafts came under the control of one Principal and changed its name to “The Technical College and School of Art, Norwich”. A pre-probationary course for 16-18 year old girls was offered for the first time. Although, nurse education has come and gone from the college programme a whole range of related activities sin the wider social care field have developed.


H.W. Howes, Principal, 1936-1944


A Junior Art School was set up in 1935 and a Junior Commercial School in 1937. These Junior Schools closed in the 1950s under a reorganisation of secondary education and went onto form the city’s High Schools.


H. Baker, Principal, 1934-1936

1930 An early woodwork class

An early woodworking class


H.A. Costigan, Principal, 1930-1934

1920 drawing

Drawing Office, 1920’s


The Municipal Technical Institute became the “Norwich Technical College”. The college became more industrially-based with advisory committees drawn from the industries concerned: boot and shoe manufacture, building, engineering and printing. The college also continued to run a Pure Science and Domestic Science Departments, School of Art and Crafts and the Commercial and Literary Institute.


The inter-war years saw considerable diversification as well as general expansion of the work of the institution. The School of Art was renamed the School of Art and Crafts to put a new emphasis on the application of artistic work to industrial and other processes. A Junior Technical School was established, providing a full-time, two year course for boys who wished to “enter one of the constructive trades of the City with a view to becoming skilled workers, foremen and managers”.


The Norfolk and Norwich School of Cookery becomes part of the Technical Institute. The Technical Institute now had a Science Department, which included mathematics, engineering and architecture; a Technological Department, which covered all the trade-orientated work; the Art Department and the Commercial and Literary Institute.

1910 1910

Municipal Secondary School for Boys moved from Duke Street to Eaton to become the City of Norwich School

1910 reading_room

The students’ reading room at St. George’s Street.

1909 shoe_factory

Shoe Factory 1909

1904 lecture_series

A lecture series advertised in the 1904-5 prospectus

1904 hugh_ramage

Hugh Ramage, Principal, 1904-30


F.H. Newman, Principal, 1903-1904

1902 old_norwich

The Education Act of 1902, abolished the School Board and created the Norwich Education Committee. During this period the Principal of the Technical Institute also became responsible for higher education in the city.


William Gannon, Principal, 1902-1903


Municipal Technical Institute opened with the Norwich School of Art incorporated as the institute’s Art Department. Commercial and literary classes continued at Duke Street. New courses for London University examinations appeared in Latin, English, Mathematics and General Elementary Science.


It was decided to amalgamate the new Technical School with the School of Art and Science and a new site in St George’s Street was found.


Day classes were offered for the first time, providing manual training in woodwork for boys from both elementary schools and secondary schools, together with wood carving for male and female students. Additional courses were offered to women and girls in dressmaking and cookery.


The Technical School quickly outgrew its temporary home and moved to a converted warehouse in Bethel Street. The Technical School added courses in general wood-working; practical wood-working for elementary school teachers; a free course for 40 boys recommended by their headmasters; general wood-carving; sanitary and general plumbing, for those in the trade; metal-plate work; and trade classes for the boot and shoe industry.

1891 Norwich Technical Institute

On 13 November 1891 a new Technical School for the city was opened by the Mayor (Mr. G. M. Chamberlin). The ceremony took place at the school’s temporary home in St George’s Street. Its aim was to “put people in the possession of such knowledge as would enable them to learn a trade”. The Technical School taught classes in carpentry, carving and cabinet making and drawing, while the Higher Grade School offered science and art classes such as chemistry; mathematics; physiography; magnetism and electricity; hygiene; physiology and geometry.


Foundation Stone of Municipal Technical Institute laid in St.George’s Street

1889 George Street College Building

The Norwich School Board opened the Higher Grade School in Duke Street, which offered more advanced science and art classes. The 1889 Technical Instruction Act enabled local authorities to begin to offer formal technical education in the city.