Northampton School of Art

Scope and Content

The collection contains general prospectuses dated 1951-1974 with one dated 1920-21. Governing body papers cover 1972-1975 and contain meeting papers, agendas, minutes, correspondence and a list of Governors dated 1974-1975. Stock books date from 1928 and cover most years to 1961. There is a photocopy of the Northampton Mercury report of the public meeting on science and art held on 11th March 1867. Other material includes letters from the 1950s concerning visiting lecturers, information on Second World War preparations and rationing, some booklets produced by the Department of Printing, and student magazines.

Administrative / Biographical History

On 11th March 1867, a free public lecture on Science and Art was held, under the auspices of the Museum Committee, in the Town Hall in Northampton. This proved very popular and as a direct result, evening classes in painting and drawing started in October of that year.

Art evening classes continued and expanded, closely linked to science classes, until in 1894 the Northampton and County Technical and Modern School was established. This held day, evening and weekend classes. In 1907 the evening class organisation became the Northampton and County Technical and Art School, with the Art School functioning separately. A further name change occured the following year, to Northampton and County Technical School and School of Art.

One source states that the Northampton School of Art was redesignated the Northampton School of Arts and Crafts in 1917, but there are no documents in the archive from this date. However, two documents contained in the archive dated 1934 and 1937 use this form of name for the Art School.

The School of Art continued to grow, working in overcrowded rented accommodation, until new purpose-built premises were opened in 1937 next to the Technical College on St George's Avenue.

In 1954, the Central College of Further Education was established, to include both the School of Art and the College of Technology. The School of Art appears to have continued to function as a separate college, however, and the precise relationship to the Central College remains unclear. It is likely that relevant papers were destroyed by a fire in a County Council records store. Governors' papers from the late 1960s and 1970s use a variety of different headings including Central College of Further Education, School of Art, and College of Technology and School of Art.

In 1972 the School became known as the College of Art and 1975 saw the establishment of a college of higher education, Nene College. The Northampton colleges of Education and Technology along with the School of Art were amalgamated to form this new institution.


The collection has been arranged in to thirteen series as detailed in the University of Northampton online catalogue for the Northampton School of Art.

Access Information

All items are accessible. Details about our opening times and how to arrange a visit can be found on the University of Northampton Archive web pages.

Acquisition Information

The collection contains material from several sources. Some files were transferred from Northamptonshire County Council records store. Further materials and memorabilia were collected by individuals who cannot now be identified.

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue

Some images from our collections have been uploaded to Flickr

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply

Digital images of documents and other materials in our archive catalogue, where the copyright is owned by The University of Northampton, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. A copy of the license can be viewed online or requested from Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, U.S.A.,

If you wish to reproduce an image from the University Archive for commercial purposes a fee will be charged according to that usage. We offer a competitive rate tailored to your requirements.

Where copyright does not lie with the University it is your responsibility to approach the rights holder.


We do not expect that there will be major accruals to this collection but the University would welcome the chance to discuss any further potential donations of records relating to the Northampton School of Art.

Related Material

Records for the School of Art should be used in conjunction with those for the Northampton College of Technology also held by the University of Northampton.