Our timeline

Explore our timeline to see how key events from our past are shaping our future, and how we are investing for the next 175 years – though the UK City of Culture 2021 and beyond.

Celebrating our 175th anniversary


Then: Coventry School of Design opens in a former ribbon factory at the Burges to provide core skills to the community.

Now: This ethos remains in work-based learning and business-backed teaching. School of Design - 1843


Then: A new School of Art building opens in Ford Street at a cost of £2,586 seeing growth of dedicated teaching sites.

Now: We are continuing to invest in our students and communities with continued regeneration across the city.


Then: The School of Art is ranked as 15th out of 102 facilities in the country.

Now: Coventry is continuing to be rewarded for its excellence in teaching and learning. School of Art - 1868


Then: A Technical Institute opens to stop Coventry falling behind European competitors in education provision.

Now: We still teach for a global workplace and create industry-ready graduates.


Then: The renamed Technical College replaces the former Technical Institute.

Now: Coventry continues to offer technical education, encouraging more women in science and engineering than ever.


Then: Rugby College of Technology and Arts opens as one of three institutions that would later become Coventry University.

Now: Our teaching spreads across the UK to offer flexible learning options and widen access to education.


Then: Bombing during the Coventry Blitz in November destroys two thirds of city buildings including the School of Art and cathedral.

Now: The community responded with resilience and city is still recognised as a place of peace and reconciliation. Coventry Cathedral


Then: The NHS is born and healthcare training including nursing and midwifery will soon come to Coventry.

Now: Coventry University now trains 75% of the Midlands’ healthcare professionals and offers care services for the community.


Then: The first Students’ Union forms at Lanchester College of Technology.

Now: CUSU still runs social groups and activities and helps students link with the city through community and volunteering projects. Coventry Cathedral


Then: Coventry University begins to emerge as a leader in the field of research.

Now: This investment continues today with a wide range of innovative research projects with global impact.


Then: Lanchester (Coventry) Polytechnic forms through mergers of city institutions.

Now: The legacy of Frederick Lanchester lives on to inspire a new generation through the Lanchester Interactive Archive.


Then: A new movement of 2-Tone Ska begins at 'The Lanch’ students' union

Now: We continue to support emerging talent and preserve our music legacy. Ska Music


Then: Coventry Business School founded in a restructuring of Coventry Polytechnic.

Now: Teaching now covers business and law and includes distance learning and industry-supported courses. Coventry Business School


Then: Coventry Polytechnic becomes Coventry University under The Further and Higher Education Act.

Now: Coventry University is now investing in teaching globally and continuing to see league table success globally.


Then: Lord Charles Henry Plumb becomes university’s first chancellor, holding the position until 2007.

Now: Building on her work in diversity and inclusion, Margaret Casely-Hayford was appointed in 2017. Lord Plumb


Then: Ellen Terry building opens to performing arts students in the former Odeon cinema.

Now: The building now hosts performing arts teaching and annual Degree Shows.


Then: Coventry University London Campus opens in the heart of the capital city.

Now: Renamed, Coventry University London, it still specialises in postgraduate teaching predominantly for business studies.


Then: Coventry University Social Enterprise is created to help support student entrepreneurs.

Now: CUSE now helps student businesses and community starts-ups across the city.


Then: The new HLS building in Whitefriars Street is officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Now: Thanks to innovative facilities the university now offers state-of-the-art healthcare training to students.


Now: Coventry is awarded the title of City of Culture 2021 after a successful joint bid.

The future: The eyes of the world will be watching Coventry as it celebrates diversity and inclusion with a year of activities.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021