Bishop Otter College

Scope and Content

The archives contain official records from administrative meetings, these include: The minutes of the Academic Board, Sub-Committee Meetings, the College Council, Chapel Committee etc. The collection includes official publications printed by the college such as; the student's guild publications, prospectuses etc. Also included are records of staff, students and associates as well as correspondence. The collection includes financial and personnel record's in the form of the official account books, job descriptions,official reports written by the principal's and associated correspondence,general records of the staff and students, handbooks and associated papers to the University of Reading and the University of Sussex etc. Accompanying the written records there is a large collection of official photographs, which include pictures of staff, students and college events. Some of the photographs are presented in Albums and date from the early nineteen hundreds. Finally, the archive includes a selection of photographs, albums, and ephemera given by former students.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bishop Otter College was established in memory of the former Bishop of Chichester, William Otter. During his time at Chichester (1836-1840), William Otter was a strong believer in 'education for all' and was keen to found a College for the training of Elementary Schoolmasters. Following his death the 'Bishop Otter's School for Training Masters' was opened in 1840, in St. Martin's Lane, Chichester, and was one of the first 'Church Colleges'. In 1850, the College moved to its current location and was then known as the 'Bishop Otter's Training College for School Masters'.

Unfortunately, by 1867 the number of students dropped and the College stood empty. However, thanks to a campaign by Louisa Hubbard the College re-opened in 1873, but this time as a training college for women. From then on it became known as the 'Bishop Otter's Memorial College', then 'Bishop Otter Memorial College' and finally 'Bishop Otter College'. The College expanded rapidly between the late 1800's and the beginning of the First World War. Apart from having its own Chapel it would even have its own 'Practice School', which would recruit children from the trading and lower middle classes of the Chichester area.

As a result of the introduction of various Education Acts and the growing number of state schools, the 'Practice School' within the College closed in 1921. However, the Training College continued to grow as there were ever increasing number of young women enrolling to become Teachers. In 1927, Bishop Otter College was one of a group of Training Colleges which linked with the University of Reading in order to offer a Joint Examination. Changes in education also meant that the curriculum taught by the staff at the college was also expanding and changing. To cope with these changes a new library, geography and art rooms were accommodated, whilst construction began on a gymnasium and a new hall of residence.

During the Second World War, from 1942, the College was occupied by the R.A.F. The staff and students were transferred to Bromley College in Kent. Initially the Women's Auxiliary Air Force was housed at Bishop Otter College, whilst working in the Operation Rooms at R.A.F. Tangmere. Later, the expanding air operations lead to the College hall being transformed into its own Operations Room, which then undertook a major role in the flight/air support control for the Normandy Landings in 1944.

After the Second World War, the staff and students returned to Chichester. Again the College flourished and modernization and expansion led to a new chapel, dining hall, music room, a second gym and new halls of residence being built. In the late 1950's the College became co-educational, and shortly after the College expanded its courses to offer its students the four year B.Ed. course which would be linked with the University of Sussex.

The College was initially steered by the 'College Council', followed by a 'Board of Governors'. The Academic Board was first introduced in 1961, followed shortly after by a Faculty Board and several Sub-Committees.

In 1973 negotiations on a merger began to take place with Bognor Regis Training College, as a result of a government White Paper, proposing that colleges of education should reach a 'critical size'. Each college would prepare its own report on the merger and a working party was formed. On the 31st August 1977 the College joined with Bognor Regis Training College to form the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education. Since its merger with Bognor Regis College in 1977, the College has undergone several name changes. From 1977 until 1994, the College continued to be known as the 'West Sussex Institute of Higher Education' until 1995 when it became 'Chichester Institute of Higher Education'. From 2000 it was known as the 'University College Chichester', before becoming the 'University of Chichester' in 2005.

Formerly, students who finished their studies were invited to become a member of the 'Guild'. This association gives former students the chance to keep in contact with the developments of the College, receive newsletters and attend annual reunion events.

Students and staff have always been encouraged to play an active role in the College's development and this is testament to the large collection of individual works held in the archive.

The Bishop Otter College archive is now housed on the Bognor Regis Campus, and forms an integral part of the University of Chichester archives.


The arrangement of the fonds were possible has been maintained and arranged to reflect the administrative structure of Bishop Otter College.

Access Information

Contact: The Special Collections Manager, The Library, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, PO19 6PE. Tel: 01243 816000, email: .

Acquisition Information

Transferred ownership to the University of Chichester.


Description prepared by J. Carter.

Other Finding Aids

A written content list is available to accompany these records which are also being transferred onto a searchable Microsoft Access Database.

Archivist's Note

The description was prepared by J.Carter

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction of these documents is at the discretion of the Head of Library Services and is subject to copyright.

Appraisal Information

All the archives that were transferred to the University of Chichester have now been preserved.


It is possible that further documents will be found and added to this collection.

Related Material

See also the records of Bishop Otter College, West Sussex Institute of Higher Education, Chichester Institute of Higher Education, University College Chichester, the University of Chichester, West Sussex County Council,the University of Reading and the University of Sussex.