Institutional histories can tend to have a whiggish tone: the university has proceeded from small beginnings through some form of struggle to arrive at the perfectly formed institution it is now. There are fewer histories of the places that failed. This is an attempt to list them. At first this will include places that have closed outright or where, after merger, their original site has been left*. This will focus on HEIs that offered degrees, or other recognised higher education qualifications, under systems akin to our present arrangements. Mergers are complex to represent, as this post showed. Many are former colleges of education closed in the 1970s.
I am not including most of the dissenting academies in this list; not because I don’t have regard for them, but because there’s a fabulous website dedicated to them here.
Alnwick College of Education
Housed in Alnwick Castle from 1944 to 1977 this is the higher education institution with the strongest case to have looked like Hogwarts (even if the Harry Potter filming was over 20 years after it closed).
Cheshire County Training College was an emergency college founded in a former housing site for an ordnance factory in 1945. It merged with Crewe college and subsequently with Manchester Polytechnic just before it got university title. The site was closed in 2006 and all the buildings are now demolished and replaced with a housing estate called ‘Scholar’s Place’.
Anstey College of Physical Education
Founded in 1897 merged with Birmingham Polytechnic in 1975, site was closed in 1984 after teaching moved to another site.
Balls Park Training College, Hertford
Teacher training college from 1946, merged in 1976 into Hertfordshire College of Higher Education. Hatfield Polytechnic took over the site, with its mansion house, which was sold in 2001 and developed into housing.
Opened in 1849 as the first college for women to undertake a higher education. Merged with Royal Holloway College in 1985 and all activities moved to Egham. Formerly in Bedford Square, new premises were open in Regents Park in 1913, these now house Regents University.
Bingley Training College
Opened in 1911, closed as part of the cuts to teacher training in the 1970s. Main building is now housing.
City of Birmingham College of Education
Founded in 1948, moved to Edgbaston in 1957, merged with Birmingham Polytechnic in 1975, with teaching moved to Perry Barr in 2001.
Bishop Lonsdale College of Education, Derby
Founded in 1961, one of the colleges that joined into what is now the University of Derby, its Mickleover campus was closed in 2007.
Bordesley College of Education
Founded in 1963, merged with Birmingham Polytechnic in 1975 and teaching was moved to Perry Barr in 2001.
Brentwood College of Education
Merged to form the Chelmer Institute in 1977. This merged with CCAT to form Anglia which proceeded from college, to polytechnic to university in quick succession. The Brentwood campus closed in the 1990s.
Bretton Hall, Wakefield
Founded in 1949, teacher training college diversified into performing arts. Merged with its validating university, Leeds, in 2001 with a plan to operate as a faculty, but closed in 2007.
Brixton School of Building
Founded in 1904, a regional college run by London County Council and then ILEA, it ran CNAA degrees in building, quantity surveying, estate management and structural engineering. Merged to become the Polytechnic of the South Bank. Moved from its historic site in Brixton, to the Wandsworth Rd and then to Elephant & Castle
Callendar Park College of Education, Falkirk
Opened in 1964 as a response to teacher shortages, merged with Moray House in 1981, with the buildings subsequently demolished.
Cavendish Square Training College
Catholic Teacher Training College for women secondary school teachers. Founded in 1895 it’s buildings were taken over by Heythrop College in 1970.
A College of Advanced Technology, first opened as South West Polytechnic in 1895, it considered a relocation to St Albans in 1965 but joined the University of London. It merged with Queen Elizabeth College and then with King’s College, London.
Chichester Diocesan Training College for Schoolmistresses, Brighton
Founded in 1842, in new buildings from 1854, it closed as part of the Church of England’s ‘concentration’ in 1939. The buildings were used by the Royal Engineers, is now the ‘Brighton Forum’ used as offices.
Coloma College of Education, West Wickham
Formerly Convent of the Ladies of Mary, opened as a teacher training college in 1947. Closed August 1978 Buildings adapted for use as a Roman Catholic comprehensive school.
Craiglockhart College of Education, Edinburgh
Officially opened on 20 October 1920, merged with Notre Dame College of Education in Glasgow to form St Andrew’s College of Education based at Bearsden in East Dunbartonshire. The building, a former hydropathic institution, was sold to Napier Polytechnic in 1986.
Merged with Alasger College, merged with Manchester Metropolitan University in 1992 operating as the Cheshire Campus. Campus closing in 2019, the buildings will be used by the University of Buckingham for health courses.
Church of England teacher training college. Founded in 1852 near Abingdon. Closed in 1979. A trust was established after the closure, the buildings are in use by the Europa School.
Darlington College of Education
Founded in 1876, the college had focused on training nursery teachers but diversified in the 1960s. It closed in August 1978. The site housed Darlington Arts Centre until 2013.
Dartington College of Arts
The Dartington Hall Trust arts department became a college in 1962 and offered CNAA degrees. Merger with Falmouth was followed by relocation to Cornwall in 2010. The Trust continues on the site, with its international summer school.
De La Salle College, Manchester
Catholic teacher training college from 1946, closed in 1986 after a surprise decision by the DES to close it in 1982. Site is now the Middleton campus of Hopwood Hall College.
Didsbury College of Education
Emergency college housed in former buildings of a theological college, which had been used as a hospital until 1945. Merged with Manchester Polytechnic in 1977, the site was closed in 2014 and has been developed for housing.
Dudley Training College
Opened in 1905, the College merged with Wolverhampton Polytechnic in the 1970s. The site was acquired by Dudley Technical College in 2002, but the original building was demolished and the site is now housing.
Dunfermline College of Physical Education
Carnegie Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Training was originally founded by the Andrew Carnegie Trust as a training college for women students of Physical Education. Opened in 1905, it moved to Cramond in 1966, it merged with Moray House College in 1987 and the site was closed in 2001 after merger with Edinburgh.
Easthampsted Park Training College, Wokingham
Emergency college for women after the war, sited in a Victorian mansion which had become a refuge, it merged with Bulmershe College in Reading in 1968, students left the site by 1972. Building became a school and is now a conference centre.
Eaton Hall College of Education, Retford
A 19th century country house, became an emergency maternity home in the war, and afterwards an emergency teacher training college. Closed August 1980, the buildings are now used by Jamia Al-Karam.
Enfield College of Technology
Middlesex County Council created the Ponders End Technical Institute in 1905 , renaming it Enfield College of Technology in 1962. Under George Brosnan and Eric Robinson much of the thinking for the new polytechnics was done and the college combined with Hendon College of Technology and Hornsey College of Art to form Middesex Polytechnic in 1973. With the concentration of teaching at Hendon, the Enfield campus closed in 2008.
A training college for mature students aiming to be lecturers, established in 1946 it moved to Roehampton in 1963, merging with Thames Polytechnic in 1986 when the students were moved to Avery Hill. Some of the buildings are now used by Roehampton University.
Endsleigh Training College, Hull
Opened in 1905 as Catholic women’s teacher training college, the college merged with other in the 1970s to form the Hull Institute of Higher Education (which became first Humberside then Lincoln University). Nuns remained on site until 1995 which then became a retreat but was sold in 2015.
Elizabeth Gaskell College
A training school in ‘cookery and laundry work’ was opened in 1880, coming under the Manchester Education Committee in 1906, expanding to cover teacher training as well as housecraft, it became the Elizabeth Gaskell College in the 1960s and merged into the City of Manchester College of Higher Education in 1976, merging with Manchester Polytechnic in 1982. The campus was closed in 2014 and is becoming a private hospital.
Emerging from training offered to preachers, the institution was established in 1803, gained its new buildings in 1887, was made a divinity school of the University of London in 1900. It merged with New College in 1924.
Hamilton College of Education
Opened in 1966 it merged with Jordanhill College of Education in 1981. The campus was sold, partly to a Christian School and partly for housing development.
Hereford College of Education
A local authority teacher training college it opened in 1902 and closed August 1978. Buildings are now used by the Royal National College for the Blind.
Hertfordshire College of Art and Design
Based in St Albans, was approved by CNAA, merging with Hatfield Polytechnic in 1993 it subsequently moved there.
Having its origins in theological colleges first founded in 1614, the College became established at Heythrop Hall in 1926 and moved to London in 1970 where it became a School of the University of London. The College ‘ceased its teaching activities on 31st October 2018’.
Hockerill College, Bishop’s Stortford
Founded in 1850 the college closed in August 1978. Hockerill Anglo-European College (an independent boarding school) is now housed there.
Holborn College of Law, Languages and Commerce
A merger of diverse London colleges: Bowling Green Lane Night School, Hugh Myddleton Institute, and Princeton Street School of Modern Languages it is existed from 1960 to 1970 when it joined the Polytechnic of Central London.
Hornsey College of Arts and Crafts
Founded in 1880, it had a famous sit-in during 1968, achieving some notoriety. It was one of the colleges that formed Middlesex Polytechnic in 1973, the Crouch End building was later used by the TUC and is now part of a primary school.
Ilkley College of Education
In large former hydropathic hospital, the college merged with Bradford College in 1982 and the campus closed in 1999. Building is now housing.
Jordanhill College, Glasgow
Opened in 1921, the college merged with Hamilton College, and then in 1993 became the faculty of education at Strathclyde. Teaching at the site was stopped in 2012.
Kelham Theological College
Opened in 1902 by the Society of the Sacred Mission, an Anglican religious order, the college occupied Kelham Hall, where they built a large chapel. It closed in 1972, has been an events venue, offered for sale in 2020 for £10 million/
Kesteven Agricultural College
Founded in 1948 at Caythorpe Court, it amalgamated with two other agricultural colleges (Holbeach and Riseholm) in 1980 to form the Lincolnshire College of Agriculture and Horticulture. That joined De Montfort University in 1990 but in 2001 the Lincolnshire School of Agriculture was transferred to the University of Lincoln and Caythorpe sold. It is now a PGL activities centre.
Kesteven College of Education, Grantham (main college)
Stoke Rochford Hall was purchased by in 1948 by Kesteven County Council as a teacher training college, it closed in August 1978. Subsequently used as the NUT’s training centre, it became a hotel in 2016.
Kesteven College of Education (Peterborough Annexe)
Closed in August 1980 it was designated to be used for in-service training as an outpost of Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln
Lady Mabel College of Physical Education
Lady Mabel Fitzwilliam arranged the lease of part of Wentworth Woodhouse for use at a training college from 1949. It merged with Sheffield Polytechnic in 1977 who kept teaching at the house until 1988.
La Sainte Union College of Higher Education
Opened in 1904 by sisters of La Sainte Union des Sacres Coeurs. Merged with University of Southampton in 1997 after ITT contact terminated to become ‘New College’. Site sold for housing in 2004.
Llandaff College of Education (Home Economics)
The Training School for Cookery and Domestic Arts was part of the expansion of technical and vocational education in the 1890s. The Llandaff College of Education merged with University College Cardiff in 1977.
Long Millgate College of Education, Manchester
Established in the Alfred Waterhouse designed former building of the Manchester Grammar School in the 1950s, the College closed in 1978 on amalgamation into the City of Manchester College of Higher Education, which subsequently joined Manchester Polytechnic. The building is now used by Chetham’s School of Music.
Manchester and Salford Women’s College
Owens’ College was asked to provide access for women, and settled on a scheme for a separate college as it was not prepared to sanction mixed education. The College opened in 1877, but by 1880 Owens College agreed to take over its management and in 1883 incorporated the college as a Women’s department.
Maria Assumpta College, London
Catholic women’s teacher training college in Kensington Square, closed August 1978. Buildings were then used by Heythrop College.
Maria Grey College
Opened as the Teachers’ Training & Registration Society College in 1878, renamed Maria Grey College in 1886 it moved to Twickenham in 1946. It merged in 1976 to form the West London Institute.
Mary Ward College, Nottingham
Opened in 1968, the college closed less than 10 years later in August 1977. The site was sold to the British Geological Survey.
Teacher Training college from 1946, merged with Derby Lonsdale College in 1988. The building, a former Hydropathic Establishment, is now housing.
Middleton St. George College of Education, Darlington
Housed in buildings of a former RAF base from 1968 it closed in August 1979. The rest of the RAF base became Teesside International Airport. Buildings have a mix of purposes, but include the International Fire Training Centre.
Milton Keynes College of Education
Closed December 1981
New College London
The result of a merger of three distinguished dissenting academies in 1850, New College merged with Hackney College in 1924, both having become members of the University of London’s Theology Faculty. Consolidated on one site in Hampstead which closed in 1977. The buildings are now the home of ESCP Europe’s London campus.
Newland Park Training College, Chalfont St Giles
An emergency teacher training college, opened in March 1946. Merged with High Wycombe College of Art and Technology to form Buckinghamshire College of HE. Bucks New University closed the site in 2009 which is now used for conferences and as a school.
Nonnington College of Physical Education, Kent
Opened in 1938, expanded in the 1960s, marked for closure but diversified in the 1970s, it was closed in 1986. A Bruderhof community now use the main house.
North Riding College, Scarborough
Teacher training college, diversified and courses were validated by Leeds, then York and then Hull universities. Merged with Hull in 2000 but announced in 2015 it was leaving the site which is now used by Scarborough TEC.
University of Northampton
A university founded by members from Oxford and Cambridge, certainly in corporate existence in 1265 when it was ordered closed. The king agreed with this petition:
‘If the university … persisted there, it would much harm our town of Oxford … especially as all the bishops of our land have signified by their letters patent that the university should be moved from the town for the utility of the English church and the advancement of students’
Northumberland College of Education, Ponteland
Closed August 1981 Now the Kirkley Hall campus of Northumberland College
Norwich Training College
Founded in 1839 as a Church of England Training College, it moved in 1948 to Keswick Hall. The College was merged with UEA which then disposed of the site (on UGC instructions) in 1981.
Notre Dame College of Education, Glasgow
On a new site in 1969, merged with Craiglockhart training college in 1981 to create St Andrew’s College of Education. Merged with Glasgow University in 1999 which left the site in 2002.
Philippa Fawcett and Furzedown College of Education, London
Merged in 1974, closed in August 1980. Phillipa Fawcett college was re-named after the mathematician and educationalist. Furzedown was a London County Council college founded in 1915, its premises are in use by Graveney School
Queen’s College, Glasgow
Originally the West of Scotland College of Domestic Science, it was renamed the Queens’ College in its centenary year of 1975. It merged with Glasgow Polytechnic becoming Glasgow Caledonian University in 1993. It’s buildings were acquired by Glasgow University in 1998 to accommodate education work including the St Andrew’s College of Education.
Peel’s plans for higher education in Ireland were predicated on a federal examining university, similar to London. In its first iteration only three colleges (Belfast, Cork & Galway) were allowed to join. The University was established in 1850 and dissolved in 1882. Its functions were taken on by the Royal University of Ireland. This in turn was replaced by the National University of Ireland in 1909.
Queen Elizabeth College, London.
Opened as Ladies Department of Kings College London in 1885. Moved to Kensington in 1915, received Royal Charter in 1953 and was a school of the University of London from 1956. Re-merged with Kings in 1985 and site was sold in 2000 for housing (some using the original buildings). Ran the Household and Social Science course.
Queen Margaret College, Glasgow
A women’s college organised by the Glasgow Association for the Higher Education of Women, it was incorporated in 1883 and merged with the University of Glasgow in 1892, their premises continued to be used just for the education of women until 1935 when sold to the BBC.
Rachel McMillan Training College, Deptford
Opened in 1930 in honour of her sister by Margaret McMillan, the College focus on early years training. In 1976 the College was incorporated into Goldsmiths’ College. The buildings were taken over by the Thames Polytechnic. Goldsmiths has now named a building after Margaret McMillan.
Radbrook College, Shrewsbury
Opened 1901, became part of Shrewsbury College after teacher training closed in August 1977 was sold for housing development in 2014
A Methodist theological college founded in 1843 which became a school of the University of London, it closed in 1972. The site is now that of Richmond University.
Founded in 1846 in York, the women’s college moved to Ripon in 1862 before merging with York’s St John College in 1974. The Ripon site was closed in 2001 and is now housing.
Rolle College, Exmouth
Opened in 1946, merged with Plymouth Polytechnic in 1988, site was closed in 2009. Will become the home of Exeter Deaf Academy.
Royal Naval College (Greenwich)
Established in 1873 in the Royal Hospital for naval officers. Approved by CNAA for courses, training was reorganised in the 1990s and the buildings open to the public and used by the University of Greenwich.
Rugby College of Engineering Technology
A regional college, but with 800 FT or sandwich students in 1969, it was proposed as a possible polytechnic. It merged to become part of Lanchester Polytechnic, all activity moving to Coventry.
Saffron Walden College of Education
Opened in 1884, closed in 1977. The buildings became Bell College, a language school which closed in 2007. The buildings are now housing.
Sedgley Park College of Education, Manchester
Formerly a convent, closed August 1979, purchased by the Greater Manchester Police as their training centre.
St Gabriels College, Brixton
Founded in 1899, Buildings opened in 1905. Closed in 1978. Resulting trust joined with Culham to support religious education.
St John’s College, Nottingham
Founded in 1863 as the London College of Divinity, it was based in Highbury for nearly 80 years but after war damage it moved around London before moving to Nottingham in 1970. It became a school of the University of London but latterly offered Durham degrees. The college closed in 2019 as it was no longer financially viable. Part of the site is in use as a Nursery, the rest becoming housing.
St Katherine’s College, Tottenham
The oldest part of what will become Middlesex University, opened in 1878, it becomes the College of All Saints in 1966, closing in 1978 transferring to Middlesex Polytechnic.
St Mary’s College of Education, Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne
Catholic teacher training college, founded in 1905, merged with Newcastle University in 1985, buildings in use as hall of residence but now advertised for sale.
St Matthias College, Bristol
The Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Training Institution for School Mistresses opened in 1853, subsequently being renamed as St Matthias, it merged with Bristol Polytechnic in 1972 and the site was a campus of UWE until its closure in 2014. The College’s historic buildings are now the home of a Steiner Academy.
St. Paul’s College, Rugby
Catholic training college, at Newbold Revel, which had been an agent training establishment in World War 2. It closed in August 1978 and has been used by British Telecom and now the Prison Service for training.
St Peter’s College, Peterborough
Buildings designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott were completed in 1859. The College was for men until 1914, from 1921 to 1938 it was a women’s college. It was closed in 1938 as part of a ‘concentration’ exercise by the Church of England. This was poorly timed, by 1943 the Government was planning for a huge expansion in teacher training and questions in Parliament in April 1946 revealed they’d been intending to reopen it since 1944 (even appointing staff). It did not reopen. The buildings are in use as offices.
St. Peter’s College, Saltley
Founded in 1852. On closure in August 1978 the buildings were sold (with a trust created from the funds) and used as a hall of residence by Aston, now it is run by a housing association.
College of Sarum St. Michael, Salisbury
Salisbury Training College opened in 1841 as one of the first five teacher training colleges to be founded by the National Society for the Church of England. Although agreement was reached to merge with King Alfred’s College in Winchester, the college agreed to closure. Closed in August 1978, an educational trust was formed from the assets.
Agricultural college built before World War One but students only arrived n 1920 it merged with Polytechnic South West in 1989, the site was closed in 2005. It had been in use by the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust but this has ended and the site is for sale.
Shenstone Teacher Training College
An emergency teacher training college, first situated in a prisoner of war camp in Stone, outside Kidderminster, it moved to Bromsgrove in 1963.
Sittingbourne College of Education
Occupying a former school building, from the 1960s onwards, the college closed in August 1979. The building was used as an adult education centre until 2018 but is now for sale with permission to convert it into housing.
South-East Essex Technical College, Barking
Opened in 1936 to serve the Becontree estate, it became the Barking Regional College of Technology in 1965 and merged to form the North East London Polytechnic. UEL vacated the site in 2006 and it has been redeveloped as housing.
University of Stamford
Founded in 1333 after a migration from Oxford, the university was suppressed by a writ of Edward III in 1335. Clearly seen as a threat to the two English universities, Masters of Arts at Oxford continues to swear this oath into the 19th century:
You shall also swear that you will not read lectures, or hear them read, at Stamford, as in a University study, or college general.Quoted in Parker I, 1914, Dissenting Academies in England, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p66
County of Stafford Training College, Madeley
Founded in 1949 at Nelson Hall as a women’s teacher training college. admitting men from 1958 it developed physical education as a speciality which, after merger with North Staffordshire Polytechnic in 1978, continued to develop. The Madeley site was closed in the 1980s.
Stockwell College of Education, Bromley
Founded by the British and Foreign School Society in 1860, the college moved into the former palace of the Bishops of Rochester in 1930. It was evacuated 1940-1945 and closed in August 1980. The site is now used from the Borough Civic Centre.
Sunderland Teacher Training College
Founded in 1908, the college moved to Langham Tower in 1922. It merged with Sunderland Polytechnic in 1975. In 2004 the University of Sunderland sold the site to Sunderland High School which closed in 2016.
Thames Valley College of Higher Education
Developing from a college in Slough, the College was dissolved in 1991, all assets transferring to Ealing College of HE which became Thames Valley University. TVU developed the site, adding a Richard Rogers designed library which was opened by Tony Blair. The Slough site was closed in 2000 and the university renamed as West of London.
Thomas Huxley College, Ealing
Closed in August 1980, site was used by Ealing Tertiary College.
Totley Hall Training College
Opened in 1950 as Totley Hall College of Housecraft, the college developed into teacher training, before merger with Sheffield Polytechnic in 1977. Sheffield Hallam University left the site in 1997.
Trent Park College of Education.
Opened in 1947 as an emergency teacher training college, adopted the name in 1950, merged with Middlesex Polytechnic in 1974. In 2012 the site was vacated and sold to a Malaysian University, who did not relocate there and the site was sold for housing in 2016.
Truro Diocesan Training College
Women’s teacher training college opened in 1859. Closed in 1938 after the Church of England ran an exercise to concentrate the number of colleges. Buildings became a school.
A federal examining university created to provide degree-awarding powers for Owens College, Manchester and later for University College Liverpool and the Yorkshire College. Founded in 1870 it was merged into the Victoria University of Manchester in 1904.
Wall Hall College
A post-war teacher training college in a mansion in Aldenham (which had been owned by JP Morgan and lived in by Joe Kennedy) it merged in 1976 into Hertfordshire College of Higher Education. The University of Hertfordshire sold the site in 2003.
Wentworth Castle College of Education, Barnsley
Local authority college from 1948, closed August 1978. Based in the Grade I stately home, which is now used by the Northern College. The grounds are open to the public under National Trust management.
West London Institute of Higher Education
Created from merger of the Borough Road and Maria Grey teacher training colleges and Chiswick Polytechnic in 1976 it merged with Brunel University in 1995. The campuses were sold in succession and teaching moved to Uxbridge.
Westhill College, Birmingham
Founded in 1907 the College’s courses were validated by Birmingham with which it merged in 2001. The site is now used by the University of Birmingham School.
Westfield College, London.
Founded in 1882 it was a college of the University of London until merger with Queen Mary College in 1989. The site in Hampstead passed to Kings College, some of it being used for student accommodation.
College of the University of London, but far away in Kent. Had origins in a medieval grammar school, but merged with Imperial College which subsequently closed the campus in 2009. Various visons for the site were debated, but the main building is now being converted into housing.
Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics
The Yorkshire Training College of Housecraft was opened in 1874, it survived, with a name change, to become one of the constituent parts of the Leeds Polytechnic in 1970. It moved from its building, a former school, at the same time which is now used by the University of Leeds.
* Am happy to consider the overall methodology. I note that the effect is that a college such as St Luke’s in Exeter is not on this list because its site is still in use but Rolle College in Exmouth is because Plymouth has left the site. This is slightly arbitrary but avoids having to list every incarnation of every merged HEI. This is a bit of a work in progress – I need to work out how to represent former health colleges for example – am very happy to receive other suggestions for inclusion.