City College History

Excerpts of Our History, written by Carol Bloxham

The College can trace its origins back to 1828 when the Mechanics Institution was founded in the city. In 1855 the Mechanics Institution was reformed as the Coventry Institute.  It ran programmes in inorganic chemistry, electricity, French, German, agriculture, geometry, animal physiology, building construction, hygiene, botany, advanced arithmetic and shorthand.  Much of the Institute’s other work was to give an elementary education to adults who had missed out on schooling.

In the 1880’s Coventry experienced enormous industrial changes with new engineering products of cycles, motor vehicles and machine tools.  In response a new Technical Institute was opened in 1888 in an old textile warehouse in Earl Street.  In 1913 a new building was designed by a competition which was won by Mr A. W. Hoare.  The outbreak of the First World War prevented any further progress.  When the war ended in 1918 there were 937 students enrolled at the college.  In 1919 the city council acquired three acres of land at the corner of Albany Road and the Butts as a site for the new building.

In 1926 the Institute qualified as a Technical College and changed its name accordingly.  At this time people wanted to take up more training to get better jobs and Coventry led the country in day release apprenticeships with 500 registered in 1931.  Work began on building a new college in August 1933.  The new building was opened in 1935 by the then Duke of York who later became George VI.  When classes began at the new college in 1935 there were 3,332 students enrolled as well as 1,400 students under 16 years of age in attendance at the Junior Evening Schools.

In 2000 a merger of the Technical College with Tile Hill College was agreed and this took place in February 2002 and City College Coventry was born.  The newly merged college moved to its present site in 2008.

Commemorative Brochure 2008

Henley College Coventry – History

Based in the north east of the city, since opening its doors in 1964 Henley College Coventry rapidly developed a regional reputation for the quality of its community-focused education and training.
Recruitment increased steadily over the years from about 200 students on full-time courses in 1964, to over 2,000 today.

The number of full and part-time courses has also increased tremendously from a mere 40 in 1964.

The College has always served the workforce-training needs of local employers; back in 1983, Henley College became one of only 16 centres nationally to open a Microsystems Centre to support the training of local businessmen who needed to understand computers!

The ever-popular Henley’s restaurant gained its drinks licence in 1965, and in 1969 a three-course haute cuisine meal at Henley’s cost six shillings! The catering courses that year were in such demand that the College had to turn away 300 would-be hotel and catering management students whom it simply could not accommodate.

Students were first given a seat on the College’s Governing body in 1972, four years after it opened, and during the 1990s the College adopted the strap-line Student First. Many things have changed over the  years, but one thing that has been a constant is the College’s commitment to providing learners with the best possible learning experience.