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(Or a tale of war, buildings, polar expeditions and kidnapped grizzly bears!)

1908 - Guildford Technical Institute built in Park Street. Becomes too small to cope with rising demand for technical education and after 31 years, moves to the site at Stoke Park.

1937 - Foundation stone for the College and original air raid shelters laid by Sir Philip Henriques KBE, Chairman of Surrey County Council. Traces of underground bunker system remain today.

1939 - College building completed and opened. Parts are immediately requisitioned for war purposes. Wandsworth Technical School and sections of County Hall evacuated here.

Young RAF and Naval Officers trained on the site in radar technology.

Courses are offered in commerce, science, engineering, building and domestic subjects, almost entirely in the evening.

1947 - College now has five departments, complete with heads of unit, full-time and part-time staff.

1949 - Precautions taken following notification of student from Eversley suffering from infantile paralysis. Headline reads: “School placed in quarantine”.

1959 - HRH Princess Margaret visits the St John Ambulance Headquarters in Guildford - second year catering students appointed to wait table.

1960 - College athletes carry off all trophies in the Surrey Inter-Collegiate Sports Meetings. Success is repeated the following year.

1962 - Most of Stoke Park Mansion is in use by the College. The new building block is formally opened.

Expedition to uninhabited islands of Spitzbergen, 600 miles from North Pole, undertaken for second year running by four College students with Cambridge University group. Former student Mr N S Mann is lost in a blizzard and presumed dead. Despite air searches no signs found of him, his sledge or his dogs.


1963 - College mascot, a stuffed Canadian grizzly bear, discovered mid-Atlantic on board liner bound for America. Bear is rescued, brought home and renovated. But where is he now?!

1969 - New five-storey block completed and opened and music studio re-opens, after being destroyed in a fire.

1972 - Academic Board established in common with other colleges in country, and is instrumental in achieving College re-organisation.

1978 - Stoke Park Mansion demolished, having become uneconomic to maintain and repair.

1991 - Jubilee House opens opposite main building, complete with industry standard training kitchens and restaurant and with state-of-the-art library. Hair and beauty salons added in 2001.

1992 - Guildford College of Technology becomes Guildford College of Further and Higher Education at time of incorporation.


2001 - College wins string of awards. First South-Eastern educational institution to win Excel-SE bronze award for business excellence. Named in Vision 100 index of visionary public and private sector organisations in the UK (the only listed further and higher education institution). Also became one of first members of GoodCorporation following verification for ethical business practice.

2002 - Awarded national Centre of Vocational Excellence status for Travel and Tourism. Second CoVE added two years later in Business, Finance and Accounting.

2003 - Guildford and Merrist Wood Colleges merge, having gained Government approval.

2004 - Pioneering American educator Jane Elliott visits Stoke Park Campus to deliver a hard-hitting lecture entitled the Anatomy of Prejudice challenging myths about prejudice.

Champion racing driver Damon Hill and then MP Sue Doughty are guests of honour at the College's first joint Graduation and Awards Ceremony for both campuses.

2005 - The merged College has a successful OfSTED Inspection. The Report highlights the strong strategic leadership from the College’s senior management team and the high regard in which its students hold the College.

A strong culture of staff development wins the College Investors in People (IiP) status for the fourth time.

2006 - The 1000th student enrols on the full-time English programme since the International Centre opened in 2001. The International Centre is also one of only 10 institutions in the UK to be visited by a delegation of educational consultants from Korea, organised by the British Council in Seoul to facilitate understanding of British education.

2007 - The College is the first in Surrey to achieve Action for Business College Accreditation from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the South-East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

Guildford College's International Centre is accredited by the British Council as an approved centre for the teaching of English language subjects.

Following Government approval, Guildford and Farnham Colleges merge.

2009 - The College's Ofsted grades the College as "good" overall.

2010 - The College joins a select group of 3,000 organisations to celebrate 10 years of Investors in People.

The College is recognised as an 'approved training centre' by Napit for its Electrical Installation courses - the first and only one in the south east.


2011 - The Central South East Retail Skills Shop is the latest addition to a network of government-backed training centres set up to increase productivity in the retail sector. Guildford College is part of a partnership with four other Colleges to provide a unique training experience for retailers, including two specialist training ‘shops’ which will offer courses developed to meet the needs of retailers in the area. 

2011 - Media, IT and graphics students took a leading role in a transatlantic satellite lesson at London arts college Central St Martin’s, in the world’s first Mobile Digital Art Conference.



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