Building a successful University

In 1869, our earliest predecessor institution was established, the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art. The University now has over 23,000 students and is the 37th best University in the UK, according to the Guardian University Guide 2018. View this timeline to find out more about key events that led to our success as we develop and grow in an ever changing world.

You can navigate the timeline by dragging the viewfinder at the bottom of the timeline. You can also click anywhere in the time scale at the bottom to jump quickly to that point in time.;xNLx;;xNLx;The information for this timeline has been obtained from numerous sources, including the University of Portsmouth archives. ;xNLx; Copyright over the images on this timeline belongs with their respective owners.

1869-11-19 13:20:52

Earliest predecessor institution established

Agreement to establish the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art was made at a public meeting in the Guildhall on 19 November 1869. The school was part of a government initiative ‘of encouraging throughout the country, and especially among the industrial classes a more general knowledge of science and art' [Portsmouth Times 27 November 1869].

1871-06-01 13:27:05

Portsmouth & Gosport School of Science and Art opens

Official opening of the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art. The School's main premises were located in the former Crown Sale Rooms in Pembroke Street, Old Portsmouth. Classes in mathematics and Animal Physiology took place at All Saints School, Clarence Street and St Luke’s School, Hampton Street respectively. The affiliated Gosport branch was based at Holy Trinity Infant School.

1889-11-27 03:12:07

Art focus for Portsmouth & Gosport School of Science and Art

In 1889 the town School Board took over responsibility for all science classes and the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art, became mainly a school of art. In order to continue the school moved to 6 Clarendon Buildings.

1891-09-06 21:31:17

Passing of the Technical Instruction Act 1889

The passing of the Technical Instruction Act 1889 allowed municipal authorities to fund technical education through taxation.

1894-12-01 00:30:47

School of Art relocates

The former Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art, now just a school of art moved to Elm Grove

1895-01-08 18:43:45

First session of the Portsmouth Municipal Technical Institute

The first session of the Portsmouth Municipal Technical Institute took place on 8 October 1894 with a formal opening ceremony on 21 January 1895.

1895-12-20 03:39:01

Portsmouth & Gosport School of Science and Art renames

Borough of Portsmouth School of Art was a successor to the original Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Art.

1898-09-07 16:02:26

Portsmouth School of Art relocates

Portsmouth School of Art moves to 73 Victoria Road South.

1901-11-05 15:14:52

Portsmouth Municipal Technical Institute award gold medals

Gold medals awarded to best students at a course of study at Portsmouth Municipal Technical Institute The medals were provided by Alderman Abraham Leon Emanuel, a local jeweller, who served his second term as Mayor of Portsmouth in 1900/1901.

1904-07-22 09:09:10

Laying of foundation stone of Portsmouth Municipal College

The stone was laid by John Edward Pink, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. This is now known as Park building.

1907-07-11 12:39:46

Portsmouth Day Training College established

The college was established to train teachers, and for many years taught women only. The college was first based in a hut in the playground of Francis Avenue School. Miss Edith L. White was appointed the first Principal.

1908-09-10 03:01:46

Portsmouth Municipal College opens

The prestigious new building was designed by architect G.E. Smith. The importance attached to the project by the Town Council was demonstrated by the fact that building the College consumed 43% of the civic expenditure in its first year. This building accommodated not only the Technical College, but also the College of Art and the Central Library, and a little later the Training College for Woman Teachers. This building is now known as Park building.

1911-11-13 09:52:13

First ever edition of the student magazine

The first edition of The Galleon student magazine produced by the recently formed student unions. Initially there were separate unions for female and male students.

1914-08-12 03:16:53

School of Art appoints principal

Thomas T. Nelson A.R.C.A. (Lond.), A.R.C.A. (Des’n), (A.M.C.) was Principal of the School of Art until 1938.

1916-07-14 12:39:46

Foster halls opens

Foster halls of residence in Milton opens as accommodation for the students of Portsmouth Training College. They had formerly lived in a number of hostels across Southsea.

1919-11-06 07:10:53

Approval given to Municipal College pharmaceutical course

The special pharmacy course was approved by Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. This included 25 ex-service students under the Government Scheme of Training. a pharmaceutical laboratory was created at the Municipal College for the purpose.

1926-04-21 11:47:54

Portsmouth gains city status

Portsmouth was raised to the status of city and the town hall was simultaneously renamed the Guildhall.

1929-06-13 23:36:07

Principal of Portsmouth Municipal College appointed

Leonard B. Benny appointed Principal of Portsmouth Municipal College. Benny remained as college Principal for 23 years.

1929-12-09 05:38:05

25th Anniversary of Municipal College

The 25th Anniversary celebration was attended by HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught.

1932-03-03 08:58:14

Portsmouth Training College appoints principal

Dorothy Dymond becomes Principal of Portsmouth Training College.

1939-01-10 00:00:00

Training College for Women Teachers relocates

The Training College for Women Teachers moved to its own premises. Throughout the First World War the College continued to function in the city and practically the whole of its resources were devoted to the training of technical personnel for all branches of the Armed Forces, and to the upgrading of skilled technicians for industry.

1939-07-14 20:31:49

Evacuation of colleges

During World War II, Portsmouth Municipal College continued to function in the City and practically the whole of its resources were devoted to the training of technical personnel for all branches of the armed Forces, and to the upgrading of skilled technicians for industry. However, at times students were evacuated to Stockbridge. The Training College was evacuated twice: firstly to Homerton College in Cambridge and later to Bishop Otter College in Chichester.

1945-01-01 12:16:55

Portsmouth Municipal College diversifies

The college diversified its syllabus adding arts and humanities subjects after World War II, in response to a decline in the need for engineering skills.

1950-07-06 10:15:32

College of Art appoints principal

W. J. L. Gaydon was Principal from 1947 to1966.

1952-10-21 23:51:31

Portsmouth Municipal College expands

The college expands, in response to the increasing number of students, into new premises in Angelsea road accommodating the departments of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and Naval Architecture, Building, Hotel and catering, Domestic science and management studies.

1953-06-09 22:22:56

Municipal College renames

The Governing Body changed the College name to The City of Portsmouth College of Technology, so as to depict more accurately the nature, scope and standard of the education and training given in the College.

1960-01-01 12:16:55

Portsmouth College of Technology purchase Mildam

The Milldam building was purchased. It had been used as a gathering space for local militia as far back as the Napoleonic Wars.

1960-06-02 06:05:10

Portsmouth College of Technology appoints principal

Dr William Davey was also the first President of Portsmouth Polytechnic. He left in 1982 when the student population was over 6000.

1960-11-02 00:00:00

College of Art moves to new premises

Purpose built premises in Hyde Park Road (now Eldon Building) opened. During 1960's Architecture and Fine Art courses transferred to Portsmouth College of Technology.

1964-04-01 00:00:00

Portsmouth College of Technology expands

Mercantile House was added to the college and premises on Hay Street, Burnaby Road, Spring Gardens and the High street, Old Portsmouth.

1969-09-01 00:00:00

College designated a Polytechnic

The secretary of State for Education and Science designated the Portsmouth college of Technology Polytechnic status. Harry Law was President of the Polytechnic until he died in 1990.

1969-09-01 00:00:00

Polytechnic opens halls of residence

The Polytechnic took over the Old Royal Pier Hotel and converted it into Rees Halls. Similarly the former Trafalgar Church of England Soldiers and Sailors Institute on Edingburgh Road became Trafalgar house. During the 1970's further halls were built Burrell House and Bateson Hall. By 1991 the University could accommodate 1000 students.

1975-09-03 00:27:11

A snapshot of student societies

All Student Union societies were listed in the 1975/76 Portsmouth Polytechnic Prospectus.

1976-04-01 06:36:38

College of Education merges with Polytechnic

1980-01-01 12:16:55

Frewen Library officially opens

Although already open to students for several years, the building was officially opened by Lady Jane Frewen at a 1980 ceremony. A new centralised library named after Admiral Sir John Frewer was built on the former site of Ravelin House. This building is now known as the University library.

1991-09-18 21:36:31

Polytechnic rebrands

The Polytechnic was rebranded with the purple ball design, replacing the galleon logo, in preparation for receiving University status the following year.

1992-07-07 00:57:29

Polytechnic granted University status

Portsmouth polytechnic is granted university status becoming the University of Portsmouth on 7 July 1992, following the introduction of the Further and Higher Education Act. The formal inauguration ceremony took place at Portsmouth Guildhall. The celebrations also included a service at St Thomas' Cathedral and a ball in Ravelin Park. The academic dress that is still worn today was designed in 1992 and the distinctive hoods incorporate the University purple, varying by award.

1992-07-07 04:46:27

University of Portsmouth's first Chancellor

Lord Peter Palumbo became Chancellor when the University was inaugurated. He summed up the opening ceremony with these words "Today we shed the chrysalis. Tomorrow we fly".

1993-09-03 10:10:49

Hampshire County Council presents University with Mace

Hampshire County Council presented the University with a mace in recognition of gaining University status. The mace represents a university's authority to confer awards. During today's graduation ceremony's the mace rests on a plinth fashioned from an oak timber removed from HMS Victory.

1994-08-01 00:00:00

College of Art merges with University of Portsmouth

College of Art merged with University of Portsmouth and became the Portsmouth School of Art, Design and Media.

1996-01-19 21:07:48

University of Portsmouth appoints Vice-Chancellor

Professor John Craven appointed as Vice-Chancellor.

1996-07-08 03:55:33

Portland building opens

Portland building opens, home to parts of the Faculty of Technology and Portsmouth business school.

1997-03-13 17:30:11

St Michael's Building opens

St Michael's Building provided six floors of the latest equipment and specialist laboratories for science.

2000-07-13 17:34:30

First edition of 'The Island' newsletter

'The Island' was created as a monthly newsletter for international students.

2000-07-19 21:07:48

St Pauls Sports Centre opens

Sports facilities are developed for staff and students.

2001-07-19 21:07:48

Margaret Rule Halls opens

Margaret Rule halls of residence has 342 city centre rooms in self-contained flats for 3 to 8 students each. Located in the heart of the city centre, near the Portsmouth and Southsea train station. In 2016 Unite took over management of the building.

2001-07-19 21:07:48

Trafalgar Halls opens

Trafalgar halls of residence has 288 city centre rooms in self-contained flats for 6 students each. In 2016 Unite took over management of the building.

2002-01-19 21:07:48

New student Union opens

Purpose built student union opened after the closure of Alexandra House, our old Students’ Union on Museum Road.

2003-01-19 21:07:48

James Watson Halls opens

James Watson halls of Residence has 688 city centre rooms in self-contained flats for 4 to 6 students each. In 2016 Unite took over management of the building.

2003-07-19 21:07:48

Spinnaker Sports Centre opens

The University sports facilities develop.

Building a successful University

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