Opened in September 1898, the Leyton Technical Institute offered a range of technical education for the local community. A day school for boys and girls provided classes in commercial subjects alongside the normal subjects taught in secondary schools. Boys could learn commercial geography, book-keeping, commercial correspondence and shorthand. Girls were offered the additional subjects of needlework and cooking. For students over the age of 16 years, the institute ran evening courses in art, science, commercial, technical and trade subjects.
The secondary school moved out in 1916, to be replaced by an engineering and trade school and by 1928 the institute, now renamed Leyton Technical College, was providing full-time three-year courses for boys over 12.
In the 1930s the college was recognized for national certificate courses in chemistry (1931), building (1931), mechanical engineering (1932), and electrical engineering (1933). Although very popular, in 1934 there were 2,134 students in the junior technical and art schools, a survey of technical education in 1929 had deemed the existing college buildings unsuitable for expansion. When no suitable new site could be found in the local area, a new building was instead constructed in Walthamstow. Leyton merged with its counterpart in Walthamstow to become the new South West Essex Technical College in 1938.