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Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow

Corporate Biography



Location of main offices

George Street, Glasgow, Scotland

Main function

Higher education institution

Related authority entries

University of Strathclyde

University of Glasgow

Alternative name(s)

Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College 1887-1912

Royal Technical College 1912-1956


The Royal College of Science and Technology originated as the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, which was formed in 1887 from the amalgamation of Anderson's College, the College of Science and Arts, Allan Glen's Institution, the Young Chair of Technical Chemistry and Atkinson's Institution. After seeking permission from King George V in 1912 the College changed its name to the Royal Technical College. In 1956 there was another change of name for the College and it became the Royal College of Science and Technology. Under the recommendation of the Robbins Committee, the Scottish College of Commerce amalgamated with the College to form the University of Strathclyde in 1964.

Details of premises

Initially the College was housed in the former Anderson College building on George Street, but by the beginning of the twentieth century, a new building was required following the increase in student numbers. Additional adjoining sites were therefore purchased and on 14 May 1903King Edward VII laid the foundation stone of the new building at 138 George Street, Glasgow. The new building was built in four sections and was finally completed in 1910. It was the largest single educational complex in Europe at the time.


In terms of teaching subjects the College was very much influenced by the needs of industry as technical changes occurred and it maintained good relationships with the principal industries of Scotland. After becoming the Royal Technical College there was a growing emphasis on research.

Between 1887-1896 a departmental structure emerged with Departments in Agriculture, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture, Electrical Engineering, Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Metallurgy, Mining Engineering. Later, Departments of Chemistry, Mathematics and Natural Philosophy were established. These departments taught day students for certificates and diplomas and also provided evening classes. The certificate and diploma system of awards that emerged was based on the model set by the College of Science and Arts who had constructed diplomas in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemistry and naval architecture. In 1888 the University of Edinburgh recognised the new College's course in agriculture as qualifying in part for the BSc. In 1889 the University of Glasgow recognised the diploma in engineering as exempting Technical College students from the first two years of the BSc course. In 1899 the College's Agriculture Department moved to form the West of Scotland Agricultural College with the Scottish Dairy Institute, Kilmarnock. Other vocational subjects soon took its place such as the industrial arts.

From 1903 the College offered a joint diploma in architecture with Glasgow School of Art. A joint School of Architecture was established with classes in construction being taught at the College and classes in design at the School of Art. The first diplomas were awarded in 1910. In 1924 the University of Glasgow set up a BSc in Architecture to be taught at the School of Architecture.

Following the College's merger into the University of Strathclyde, however, the joint Glasgow School of Architecture came to an end and the last students transferred to Strathclyde degrees and graduated in 1968.

In 1908 the College absorbed the Incorporated Weaving, Dying and Printing College. In 1914 the College transferred its decorative trades classes to the new Decorative Trades Institute, which was affiliated to the Glasgow School of Art. These included house painting and sign writing, furniture design and cabinet making and plasterwork. In 1947 the Department of Industrial Administration was established

Administrative structure

In 1901 the College was designated a Central Institution. In 1913 the College was affiliated to Glasgow University. Students could then matriculate in the University and receive Glasgow degrees in applied science, including engineering, applied chemistry and pharmacy. Joint Boards of Studies were established and the chemistry departments of the two institutions began to work closely.

Reference codes of collections created by the corporate body

GB 0249 OE


List of sources for the administrative information:

Butt, J., John Anderson's Legacy: The University of Strathclyde and its antecedents, (East Linton, Tuckwell Press Ltd, 1996)

Brown, A.L. and Moss, M., The University of Glasgow, (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1996)

Rules or Conventions

Authority record created according to the National Council on ArchivesRules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names (NCA Rules)1997 and International Council on Archives: Ad Hoc Committee on Descriptive StandardsInternational Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR)CPF1995.

Date of Creation

Corporate name authority record compiled for the GASHE project by Emily Woolmore, GASHE project archivist,, 29 March 2000