The staff of the Polytechnic and the University have always played a key role in both the learning experience of the students and in the running of the institution. Quintin Hogg’s initial vision began with him and his sister Annie teaching bible classes in the Covent Garden area of London. However, as the institution grew and moved into Regent Street, so too did the range and number of classes and the levels of staffing required.

Initially the Regent Street Polytechnic focused on evening courses in technical and vocational subjects but by the 1920s there were 2,500 day students and classes were increasingly offered in arts-based subjects.  Today the University offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in a range of subjects, from Accounting and Architecture to Computing, Fashion and Law; and undertakes international research in media, biosciences and geography.

The University has employed a wide variety of staff from various backgrounds, many of whom have worked at the institution for a large part of their career. In 2002 the University opened the Westminster International University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s first international university and the first in Central Asia to offer a Western education.  Today, the University of Westminster staff include academics, technicians, librarians, designers and administrators.

Period: 1960s

Chris Wilkinson studied Architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic during the 1960s.  He has gone to be part of Wilkinson Eyre Architects who designed the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the London Emirates Air Line cable car and the BBC’s new home at MediaCity in Salford. In this excerpt he discusses the teaching staff on the architecture course.

From 1891 there was a School of Architecture providing evening classes (and day classes from 1894) in a variety of subjects allied to the Architecture and Building trades, as well as preparation for professional examinations including those of the Surveyor’s Institution, Royal Engineers and Royal Institute of British Architects.

After World War One the School of Architecture taught evening classes in architecture and architectural draughtsmanship, building, surveying, geometry, building law, mathematics and mechanics, as well as technical craft subjects (carpentry, joinery and cabinet making).  The Day School provided a three year Diploma course which on completion meant exemption from the RIBA intermediate examination.  The Architects (Registration) Act 1931 recognised the School’s Diploma Final Examination in Architecture as qualification for registration.

In 1970 modern purpose-designed premises at Marylebone Road were built for the College of Architecture and Advanced Building Technologies which comprised the Department of Architecture, Surveying and Town Planning and the Department of Civil Engineering.  These facilities included a concrete testing laboratory, now the gallery space P3.

Period: 1980s

Donald Lush studied Film and Photographic Arts at PCL in the early 1980s.  In this excerpt he discusses staff member Ian Green’s Wednesday afternoon films for students and the attitudes of the other Film and Photography staff.

Photography has always been a key subject at the University.  The Royal Polytechnic Institution at 309 Regent Street had the first photographic studio in Europe and classes in photography began in 1852.  Hogg continued these classes when he acquired the building under the auspices of Howard Farmer.  In 1943 Margaret Harker joined the Poly staff becoming Britain’s first female professor in photography.  She later became head of the school.  In 1960 the Poly established its first full time 3 year diploma in photography and in 1966 the World’s first BSc in the subject.  Originally based at Regent Street and then Little Titchfield Street, photography is now at our Harrow campus.

Period: 1950s

Peter Brooks studied for a Diploma in Engineering at the Regent Street Polytechnic from 1959.  In this excerpt he discusses the teaching staff on the course.

The Regent Street Polytechnic had a School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering from its early days.  Initially housed at Regent Street the School of Civil Engineering moved to the new premises at Marylebone Road in 1970.

Period: 1980s

Stephen Moulds studied Film and Photographic Arts at the Polytechnic of Central London in the early 1980s.  In this excerpt he discusses the interaction between students and staff on the course.

Photography has always been a key subject at the University.  The Royal Polytechnic Institution at 309 Regent Street had the first photographic studio in Europe and classes in photography began in 1852.  Hogg continued these classes when he acquired the building in 1882, under the direction of Howard Farmer.  In 1943 Margaret Harker joined the Poly staff becoming Britain’s first female professor in photography.  She later became head of the school.  In 1960 the Poly established its first full time 3 year diploma in photography and in 1966 the World’s first BSc in the subject.  Originally based at Regent Street and then Little Titchfield Street, photography is now at our Harrow campus.

Period: 1960s

Vernon Dewhurst studied Photography at the Regent Street Polytechnic in the 1960s. The head of the School of Photography at the time was Margaret Harker, Britain’s first female professor of photography. In this extract he discusses the teaching staff on the photography course.

309 Regent Street has a long history with Photography. In 1848 Europe’s first photographic studio opened at the Royal Polytechnic Institution on its roof and members of the public could come and have their portraits taken. Charles Dickens was among the customers. In 1852 photography classes began. Quintin Hogg continued these classes when he acquired the building. In 1960 the Poly established its first full time 3 year diploma in photography and in 1966 the World’s first BSc in the subject.


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