Shoreditch Technical Institute - London College of Furniture (1899-1964; 1964-1990)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Records of the Shoreditch Technical Institute and the London College of Furniture, comprising (but not limited to):

  • Governance papers
  • Prospectuses
  • Photographs (loose and in album form) and slides
  • Student magazines
  • Xylarium (timber library contained in two plan chests)
  • Course handbooks

Requests involving personal data will be handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and on a case-by-case basis.

Administrative / Biographical History

Shoreditch Technical Institute (STI) was run by the Technical Education Board of the London County Council (LCC) with a local advisory committee and opened in 1899 with 162 students. A Domestic Economy School for Girls opened at Pitfield Street in 1900 (and closed in 1918 as demand for places fell during World War One). A Trade School for 14-16 year old boys opened in 1901, and a similar school for girls opened in 1906, both at Pitfield Street. Teacher training started at the Institute in 1919. During World War Two the STI was given over to army training and the trade schools were evacuated elsewhere. After the war, Pitfield Street was given over to teacher training until 1951. The remnant of the STI was based in Hammond Square, Shoreditch, and was re-established as the Technical College for the Furnishing Trades at Pitfield Street in 1951, with a new emphasis on design as well as craftsmanship and aimed at post-18 and adult education.

In 1964 the Institute was renamed the London College of Furniture (LCF). The College expanded rapidly during the 1960s as the range of courses increased to cover, amongst others, cabinet-making, upholstery, wood machining and musical instrument construction. The existing accommodation was inadequate and during the 1960s plans were made to move the LCF to new premises at 41-71 Commercial Road, Stepney. Occupation took place in 1971 and the new building was officially opened in 1972.

By 1975 there were approximately 500 full-time and sandwich students and 1000 part-timers, in three main divisions: Furniture, Interior Design and Musical Instruments. During the 1980s the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) attempted to involve the LCF in its plans to create a single London Institute out of the several art and technical colleges which it ran. The LCF was reluctant however, as staff and students felt that its profile was unsuitable to merger within the proposed London Institute, and that instead its future would be best served by an alliance with the City of London Polytechnic.

The LCF joined the Polytechnic as part of the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Design and Manufacture in 1990.

Conditions Governing Access

All enquiries should be made to the Special Collections project team specialcollections@londonmet.ac.uk.

Acquisition Information

Prior to 2014 and the commencement of London Metropolitan University Archives Project, all material relating to the Shoreditch Technical Institute and the London College of Furniture was stored, uncatalogued, within the University's buildings on Jewry Street and Old Castle Street, London.