The first phase of the James Went building was completed in July 1969, comprising an 11 storey structure made from steel frames and precast concrete. The building was designed by the City Architect specifically to house the School of Business and Management and the School of Mathematics, Computing and Statistics. It therefore included laboratories and special air-conditioned rooms for computing equipment, as well as classrooms, tutorial rooms and offices. The second phase of construction was on a lower level, linked to the main tower by a glazed central vertical circulation shaft.
James Went was sited next to the Newarke Gateway and Oxford Street, which at this date included a pedestrian underpass. It was possible to walk beneath James Went via the underpass to reach the Hawthorn Building. In 2004 James Went was demolished as it had become expensive to maintain and could not easily be converted to meet modern disability access standards. It was replaced by the Hugh Aston Building and the area surrounding the Magazine was landscaped.
The building was named after Canon James Went, Headmaster of the Wyggeston Boys School who founded technical and science classes at the School in 1888. These classes proved popular enough to grow into a separate section of the School and in 1897 were merged with the School of Art classes to make the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School.