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.

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Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021