De Montfort University originated in the Leicester School of Art, founded in 1870. A Technical School followed in 1882. The aim of both schools was to provide skilled workers for local industry. In 1897 the School was taken over by the Town Council of the County Borough of Leicester and renamed the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School.
The Technical section of the School operated a Day Department for school leavers over the age of 15 to take a 2 year Technical, Commercial or Scientific course. Technological courses included hosiery, boot and shoe manufacture, engineering, dyeing, carpentry and brickwork. Commercial courses included shorthand, typewriting, book-keeping, languages, and commerce. The Scientific course comprised chemistry, physical and technical science. The Evening Department offered evening classes to anyone over the age of 15, intended to help artisans improve their existing skills and thus benefit local industry.
The Junior Technical School was intended to offer boys of 13 and over the opportunity to have 2 years of additional teaching, especially if they were to go into a trade using handicrafts such as engineering, building and allied trades. The aim was to increase the boys' employability and the course was supported by the Local Employers' Associations of Engineers and Builders.
The Schools went through various changes of name and mergers before amalgamating to become the City of Leicester Polytechnic in 1969. In 1992 this became De Montfort University.