London College of Communication, London College of Printing until a name change in 2004, is the largest College of University of the Arts London [formerly London Institute, founded 1985, name change 2004] with around 9000 students. It has formed over a number of years, from its inception in 1893 until the present day, through developments of curriculum, name changes and mergers: St Bride Foundation Printing School [founded 1883], became London School of Printing and Kindred Trades in 1922; Bolt Court Technical School, formerly the Guild and Technical School, Clerkenwell [founded 1894, name change 1895, merged 1949]; College for Distributive Trades [merged 1990]; Westminster Day Continuation School [founded 1921, renamed the School of Retail Distribution 1929]; and the Printing Department of the North Western Polytechnic [founded 1883, opened 1929, merged 1969].
In 1949 Bolt Court and the College of Printing and Kindred Trades merged to form the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts, renamed London College of Printing in 1962 when it took up its current site at Elephant and Castle, South London. The building was officially opened in 1964 by Sir Isaac Hayward. On the merger with College for Distributive Trades the College changed its name again to reflect the new disciplines offered to the London College of Printing and Distributive Trades, then in 1996 to London College of Printing.
Both St Brides and North Western were established by the City of London Parochial Charities Act and thus have always been rooted in London and its communities. When St Brides opened the doors, in 1894, of its first evening courses 124 students attended. Until 1912 there was no full time principal, then Mr J. R. Riddell was appointed. His appointment lead teaching from textbook based lessons to practical lessons. The first full time courses soon followed, 1919. Thus, from the first the College has specialised in and developed course in all aspects of printing and communication, from photography to graphic design.
Today the College is made up of four Schools:
- School of Graphic Design
- The School of Creative Enterprise
- School of Media
- School of Printing and Publishing