There has been an educational establishment on our Wandsworth site in south west London for more than 100 years.
It was founded in 1895, funded by a tax on whiskey! Students had to pay what was then a substantial fee of £1 a term for day classes. There were around 500 students studying there, a large number for those times.
1910-11 College regulations stated that "...each boy must wear the school cap or straw hat; he must also provide himself with a satchel, gymnasium shoes and a swimming costume." Apparently, the caps came in different colours depending on what "House" the student belonged to and, according to one student in 1930, the colours used to run in the rain, staining the students' faces blue, red, green or yellow.
Today, over 21,000 students are enrolled at South Thames College, and government funded courses like BTEC Nationals and A-levels are free for 16-19 year olds.
In 2009, the College merged with Merton College, another thriving education establishment in South West London.
Interestingly, while many things have changed dramatically over the last 100+ years, the focus of what is now South Thames College has not.
In 1895, students were enrolled on 'Trade Classes' designed to train and, maximise the potential of, people looking for skilled work, including carpentry, brickwork, plumbing and hygiene.
Today our vocational courses are still designed to give excellent training and maximise the potential of students looking for skills. These still include carpentry, brickwork, plumbing, and hygiene, but we have expanded into many other areas too.