Established in 1970

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

Brighton Polytechnic was established in April 1970 by a merger of the Colleges of Art and Technology. It expanded in September 1976 by absorbing the College of Education, and in April 1979 incorporated the East Sussex College of Higher Education at Eastbourne. The polytechnic was formally opened on 5 February 1971, but was made independent of East Sussex County Council in 1989. In 1989 the polytechnic had approximately 5,400 students on three main sites at Falmer , Moulsecoomb and Grand Parade , with annexes at Bear Road , Finsbury Road , Pavilion Parade, and Eastbourne. {123}
The Faculty of Art and Design started life in 1858 as the Brighton School of Art in the great kitchen of the Royal Pavilion in Palace Place. In 1874 it became the School of Art and Science, and two years later moved to a new Italianate building by John Gibbins in Grand Parade which was opened by Princess Louise. When the corporation took control from the trustees in 1892, they removed the science departments to Richmond Terrace to form the MunicipalTechnicalCollege, and then enlarged the Grand Parade building in 1910 and again from 1919. In 1947 the Municipal School of Art became the College of Arts and Crafts, but the need for further expansion was recognised in 1965 when the whole college was rebuilt in a four-storey design by Percy Billington. The major portion of the new college opened in June 1967; it has been acclaimed as one of the better 1960s buildings in the town. The Sallis Benney Theatre, named after the inter-war principal, seats an audience of 400. {83,115,123}
Brighton College of Technology opened on the site of some school playing fields in Lewes Road in 1963, and was intended for more advanced studies than those offered by the TechnicalCollege. The ten-storey CockroftBuilding was followed in 1976 by the seven-storey Watts building, named after the college’s first principal. Mithras House, erected at Dewe Road in 1966 as administrative offices for Allen West Ltd , has been used since 1977. (Note that the former TechnicalCollege is now known as the Brighton College of Technology.) {123}
The Falmer campus was opened in 1965 for the Brighton College of Education, a teacher-training college. In 1909 the pupil-teacher centre (for 13- to 18-year-olds) of the York Place Schools became the MunicipalTrainingCollege for elementary and secondary school teachers, at 10 Richmond Terrace in a building on the northern side of the MunicipalTechnicalCollege. By 1918 9-10 Hanover Crescent were also in use, but the college moved to Eastern Terrace in 1919 to release space for the technical college, and remained there until September 1965 when it moved to Falmer; it had been renamed the College of Education the previous year. From 1919 until 1961, only women were instructed at the MunicipalTrainingCollege. {83,123,210}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Comments about this page

  • Although this building appears under the heading “Brighton Polytechnic”, it was actually constructed long before the Polytechnic was even dreamed of. I recall attending an interview here in late 1964 for an interview with the Principal prior to beginning a mechanical engineering apprenticeship. He asked just one technical question; “What is the formula for the area of a circle?” That was it, and I was admitted to the first year of the day release ONC course, starting in January 1965. We had one full day and a variation of one or two evenings a week of study for 5 years. Apart from qualifying in 1970, I made some good friends on this course.

    By Alan Phillips (17/10/2007)
  • Does anyone know where I can contact Trevor Messenger English Lecturer at Brighton Poly or Brighton College of Education in 1971/2/3 ?

    By Maggie Kear (08/02/2010)
  • The picture is Richmond Terrace or so I remember. I was there on day release from 1967 to 1970. Good times.

    By eddie picton (10/08/2011)
  • This building was at one time known as Brighton Technical College, and I first went there as an engineering student to qualify as a television engineer. The course lasted about four years and I left in 1962. I then left my job at Lyon and Hall and went to work full time as a lab technician at the Technical College. I remained there for eleven years, and transferred to the new annex in Pelham street, workiing as the engineer in charge of the closed circuit television unit. I am surprised that no other people contribute any information about this college or the many people who were employed there. I have fond memories of the lecturers, lab technicians, students and admin staff. There was also an active badminton club in the old hall of the Fawcett school where I played regularly.

    By Malcolm Staley (22/11/2011)
  • I went to Brighton Technical College between 1961 and 1968. I studied a number of courses including Ordinary National and City & Guilds qualifications. Some of the early course subjects were held in other buildings including London Road, Bear Road and Coombe Road. The later courses were held at the Richmond Terrace site. I obtained the City & Guilds Final Telecommunications Certificate there in 1967 and the Full Technological Certificate in 1968.

    By Robert Bovington (29/07/2012)
  • I studied for an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering there  between 1966-70. My Diploma credits me with having attended Brighton Polytechnic, although for all but the last 2 months it was known as Brighton College of Technology.

    I’ve now lost contact with just about all my contemporary students, having moved to Canada in 1973. Would be nice to regain contact with some of them a half-century on, although the Alumni Association has been of no help in my quest.

    Memories (and photos) of Raft Racing (between the two piers) and other stunts during Rag Week in October, and the money it brought in.

    Also of the terrific social functions around the Brighton Students’ Federation at that time, organised by a Pharmacy student called Harvey Goldsmith (who abandoned pharmacy later, for some reason!!).

    By Ian Price (23/04/2018)

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