Victorian London - Education - Professional/Technical Colleges - City of London College

City of London College, 1883 [ILN Picture Library]

CITY OF LONDON COLLEGE, White-St and Ropemaker-st, Moorfields, E.C. -Was founded in 1848 by two city clergymen, under the title of the Metropolitan Evening Classes. The intentions of its founders were most moderate, their purpose being merely to give instruction in languages, arts, and sciences in a familiar form at en easy rate, and for some years bread-and-butter subjects were the chief dishes in the curriculum. These Metropolitan Evening Classes were established at Crosby Hall. In 1861 the College had grown to such an extent that it was necessary to transfer its work to Sussex Hall, in Leadenhall-st, where for twenty-two years it did good service. Then again it moved to the present building, which was opened in 1883.
    From 1848 till recently, the main work of the College has been done in the evening, and the results have been most successful. The rapid increase in all parts of the metropolis of Polytechnics has led, however, to the City of London College specialising in one direction-that of commercial education. It is now the commercial college of London.
    In 1903, the governing body, inspired by its Chairman, Sir Edward Clarke, K.C., determined to elaborate its system of commercial training, and appealed for funds to enable it to secure additional accommodation. The Mitchell Trustees generously promised 15,000 towards the foundation of the proposed scheme, on condition that 10,000 was collected from city merchants and others. A public appeal was made, and the full amount of 25,000 was obtained.
    The work now embraces, in addition to the Evening Classes, a Day Higher Commercial Department, which was established about three years ago. It had been realised that English business men were much handicapped by the fact that clerks came to them with no special training or particular interest in the work they were to do. They drifted into a business life rather than accepted it as their chosen profession. In the spirit in which the young soldier, the young scientist, or the young engineer enters on his future work - so did not they! It was, therefore, determined by the College authorities to establish a three years' course of practical study, in which a thorough knowledge of the principles which lie behind the facts of commerce, and of the methods adopted by other nations in their mercantile dealings, as well as by our own country, should be imparted by experts.
    The curriculum of this three years' course is extensive, but has been so wisely planned and well graduated as to be quite practicable. It consists of general economics; the history of commerce and industry; commercial and industrial geography; languages - French, German, and Spanish, every pupil being expected to study at least two of these commercial languages ; mathematics and statistics ; commercial law and business methods generally.
    Besides this three years' course there is a day school in which shorthand, typewriting, bookkeeping, and the other essentials of an efficient clerk are taught, and there are, for the benefit of students employed in the daytime, evening courses established, whereby for two years they may study the subjects which apply to a particular line-as in banking, surveying, auctioneering, Sanitary engineering, accounting and insurance-life, fire, accident and marine.
    Girls, too, are not neglected in this school of commerce. It is recognised that the time is not yet ripe for the entry into important positions in the mercantile world of the "girl graduate," but there is no reason whatever against her going through the same courses as boys, so the classes are equally open to girls if they choose to use them.
    The government of the College is in the hands of a body appointed by a scheme of the Board of Education, consisting of the president, Sir Edward Clarke, K.C., two vice-presidents, Sir Albert Rollit and Sir Owen Roberts; ten co-optated members and representatives of the Corporation of London, the London County Council, the City Parochial Trustees, the Mitchell Trustees, the London Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Society of Accountants and Auditors, the Surveyors' Institution, the Institute of Actuaries, and the Institute of Bankers. NEAREST Ry. Stns., Moorgate-st, Broad-st and Liverpool-st.

Charles Dickens Jr. et al, Dickens Dictionary of London, c.1908 edition
(no date; based on internal evidence)