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Chelsea Polytechnic, 1922-1956

Botanical Laboratory at Chelsea Polytechnic, 1928 (Ref: C/PH1/2)Botanical Laboratory at Chelsea Polytechnic, 1928 (Ref: C/PH1/2)In 1922, South-Western Polytechnic Institute evolved into Chelsea Polytechnic. The College at this point comprised of eight departments: art, chemistry, domestic science, mathematics, music, natural science, physics and physical training.

A concentration of disciplines at the Polytechnic from 1919 had led to a number of positive outcomes, and throughout the 1930's Chelsea became established as the chief centre in London for classes in biological sciences, pharmacy and geology. Studies in art and metallurgy were also increasingly popular, and the Department of Chemistry began offering courses in dairy science, food and drugs, and refrigeration. From 1949 the Polytechnic, which had always borne the insignia of the Cadogan family, began using its own Coat of Arms on College documentation.

Chemical research at Chelsea Polytechnic, 1950s (Ref: C/PH4/4)Chemical research at Chelsea Polytechnic, 1950s (Ref: C/PH4/4)The increasing popularity of scientific training at Chelsea, particularly following the Second World War, was to have considerable bearing on the future of the College. The new focus of the Polytechnic had been partially indicated with the loss of the College of Physical Education, which did not return to London following its wartime evacuation to Eastbourne. In 1956, a full inspection of the Polytechnic was conducted by London County Council, in preparation for the Government’s White Paper on Technical Education. When published in 1957, the paper designated Chelsea Polytechnic a Centre of Advanced Technology. As a result, all future developments at the College were to concentrate on advanced education in close collaboration with industry. This saw the Polytechnic renamed as Chelsea College of Science and Technology, and the discontinuation of the Schools of Art and Chiropody.

For more images of Chelsea Polytechnic, see our gallery.

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