Building the Vision

From our Archives

City has been in the news recently for building plans. The handsome design for the new Sebastian Street Building took centre stage at the prestigious Summer Exhibition 2017 at the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Yet City’s history of gorgeous architecture has a rich heritage and her buildings have added lustre to London over a long period.

An arty and crafty City

City’s first building was the College Building, designed in the Arts and Crafts style by Edward Mountford. It was opened in 1898 .


The College Building taken from the Finsbury Library / Islington Museum (over the road)


In the 1920s the building was getting small for the growing institution and extensions were needed.

City’s flirt with Art Deco

In 1932 the building was opened by H.R.H. The Prince George. This was not the later King George VI, but his brother a good time prince who knew how to make a celebration go with a bang.

A program for the reopening of College Building.

A new building was opened across the road, called the Connaught Building.

A photo of the newly opened Connaught Building
Photos of the new entrance way and automobile laboratory


Les trente glorieuses

Due to growing numbers of students after the second world war an extension was needed.

Graph to illustrate growth of Polytechnic work 1913 – 1947
College Building architect’s drawing of Schemes II and III
The original plans for proposed building work on College Building are carefully unraveled by the expert hands of a member of the City Archive and Special Collections group.
A delicate scroll is opened for the first time in many a year.

An area plan of the area and not a single gastro-pub in sight. Times have changed?

Note the difference between the original pencil draw plans and the printed version.

Block plan of proposed development.
Printed site plan showing proposed development of Schemes I – VI


A booklet outlining building plans for College Building from 1956.

In 1964, the third floor of College Building was further extended.

Plans for the extension to the third floor of College Building in 1964.


Mid-century classic City

After receiving her Royal Charter, The City University needed to extend once again. In 1976 the Tait Building was opened by Dr O A Kerensky, the brilliant bridge designer (and son of Aleksandr Kerensky).

A program for the opening of the Tait Building in 1976

We look forward to more architectural adventures in the future as City strives to be bigger and better.

More detailed information about the City Archive and Special Collections can be found on our library guide.


What’s you favourite City building (past or present) and why? Let us know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Building the Vision

  1. Not a uni building but love the bandstand. Some happy memories under that old thing. I remember once there was music playing and it began to rain and the music took us and we danced

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