Nottingham Trent University, School of Art and Design

Last updated

Founded in 1843, the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University is one of the oldest in the United Kingdom. [1]



Nottingham School of Art on Waverley Street. Nottingham College of Art building, Waverley Street.jpg
Nottingham School of Art on Waverley Street.

In 1836, the Government Select Committee on Art and Manufactures produced a report highlighting concerns about the standard of design in the industry. Higher standards abroad forced manufacturers to buy or copy foreign designs. Later in 1836, the Board of Trade established the ‘Government School of Design’ in London, where, in 1837, it opened at Somerset House. [2]

In order to encourage Practical Art in other populous areas of the UK, a ‘Government School of Design’ was then established in each of several provincial towns, where manufacturing industries were already in existence. Inevitably, the original title was adjusted to include the name of the town where it was located – whilst locally, being simply referred to as, the ‘School of Design’.

Historical Locations

The ‘School of Design’ opened on the 1 April 1843, at the People's Hall [6] in Beck Lane (now Heathcote Street), moving to Plumptre House in Stoney Street in 1852, and to Commerce Square, off High Pavement, in 1858. In 1863, a site was purchased in Waverley Street for the construction of a building specifically for the school.

Building work started on 23 May 1863 but the foundation stone wasn't laid until 22 October that year when Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle was available for the ceremony. [7] The school was opened by Henry Pelham-Clinton, 6th Duke of Newcastle on 19 June 1865. The architect was Frederick Bakewell. In front of the building is a statue of the artist Richard Parkes Bonington, produced by Watson Fothergill.

Current status


Nottingham Trent University's City site is based close to Nottingham city centre.

The School of Art and Design is based at the university's City site, about half a mile from the city centre.

Art and design facilities

All of NTU's art and design courses are based at three buildings on the university's City site.

Bonington building — a labyrinthine three-story building.

Opened in 1969 by the Duchess of Kent, [8] and upgraded in 2005. Included in the design, at the heart of the building, is a high-ceilinged exhibition space, known as 'Bonington Gallery'. It is one of the oldest art galleries in Nottingham. [9] Bonington was officially re-opened in May 2006 by Sir Paul Smith. [10]

Waverley building — a restored, listed building with design heritage.

The Waverley building houses the Nottingham School of Art and Design since 1865. As part of the NTU's buildings regeneration plan, and in recognition of its importance and provenance, the university arranged for constructional adjustments and refurbishment to upgrade all the facilities, including an exhibition space, disabled access and an improved environment for both staff and students. The upgrade being completed in the year 2000 at a cost of £1.4M [11]

Maudslay building — a centre for industry and technology.

During 2006, the Maudslay building was upgraded to incorporate design facilities and studios.


Courses are offered at undergraduate levels (BA Hons in numerous disciplines) [14] and also MAs [15] in a wide range of subjects.

There is an MA by 'Registered Project or thesis', offered as a flexible postgraduate course, allowing students to tailor their course specifically around their areas of individual interest. [16] There are a variety of Part-time, Art and Design MA courses beginning in 2022 and 2023. [17]

In the field of art and design, NTU [18] has links with a wide range of companies, professional bodies and institutions on an international level, including Apple, Arcadia Group, Boots (company), Broadway, [19] Fashion Institute of Technology, Association of Illustrators, Marks & Spencer, Sony, and Sophie Steller. [20]

International students

The university has international liaison staff, course tutors and trained counsellors to give international students advice and practical help, and also offers a detailed orientation programme the week before term begins. [21] University representatives regularly travel to international education fairs to give advice and information to overseas applicants. [22]

International exchanges

NTU has links across Europe, the United States, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, India, Africa, and the Far East, both through individual contacts and exchange programmes. [23]

Many of NTU's undergraduate courses offer the opportunity to spend time studying at a university overseas. Students can do this in Europe through the Erasmus Programme, previously known as the Socrates programme from 1994 until 1999, and then Socrates II from 2000 until 2006. For countries worldwide, there is the university's study abroad scheme. [24]

The NFFC Badge

In early 1973, Mr R. Lyon FRSA, the deputy director of Trent Polytechnic, and Mr W. Payne ARCA, the Associate Head of the Graphics Department of the College of Art, were approached by the Nottingham Forest Football Club, for advice regarding the design of a new badge. The Nottingham Evening Post Sports Editor was then consulted, resulting in a competition being organised, which was announced in March 1973. [25] There were 855 entries, some from other countries. (587 in the adult section and 268 in the junior section.)

The winning design was by Trent Polytechnic graphic designer and lecturer, David Lewis. [26] To maintain anonymity, David Lewis entered his design using his mother's maiden name. The reason being, that one of the five judges was Mr W. Payne, his head of department at Trent Polytechnic. [27] After winning the competition, David Lewis adapted his entry to produce the final design. His explanation, describing the new badge, is reproduced below, as printed on page eleven in the Forest Programme of Saturday 8 September 1973:

' The main visual elements in the final design: Equal thickness of heavy line treatment gives a ″completeness″ (fairly weighty appearance is much more likely to identify with supporters than a spindly one). The straight and relatively short tree trunk gives strength and prevents the tree top and the water becoming too separate. The tree achieves a unique quality through its shape — the triangular shape adds stability. The small ″E″ in ″Forest″ helps give a personal identity to the name — it becomes something more unique than just the word. [28] [29]

David Lewis — Designer/Lecturer in Graphic Design, Trent Polytechnic. '

The above paragraph is quite similar to the final part of this longer piece. [30] Also see 'Talk' for anecdote.

Notable alumni

Related Research Articles

Nottingham City and unitary authority area in England

Nottingham is a city and unitary authority area in Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England. It is 128 miles (206 km) north of London, 44 miles (71 km) south of Sheffield, 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Birmingham. Nottingham has links to the legend of Robin Hood and to the lace-making, bicycle, and tobacco industries. Nottingham is also the county town of Nottinghamshire and the settlement was granted its city charter in 1897, as part of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Nottingham is a tourist destination; in 2018, the city received the second-highest number of overnight visitors in the Midlands and the highest number in the East Midlands.

The University of Brighton is a public university based on four campuses in Brighton and Eastbourne on the south coast of England. Its roots can be traced back to 1858 when the Brighton School of Art was opened in the Royal Pavilion. It achieved university status in 1992.

Middlesex University Public university in Middlesex, London, England

Middlesex University London is a public research university in Hendon, northwest London, England. The name of the university is taken from its location within the historic county boundaries of Middlesex.

Birmingham City University University in Birmingham, England

Birmingham City University is a university in Birmingham, England. Initially established as the Birmingham College of Art with roots dating back to 1843, it was designated as a polytechnic in 1971 and gained university status in 1992.

National Film and Television School Film school in Buckinghamshire, England

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) is a film, television and games school established in 1971 and based at Beaconsfield Studios in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England. It is featured in the 2021 ranking by The Hollywood Reporter of the top 15 International film schools.

Nottingham Trent University Public university in Nottingham, England

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is a research university in Nottingham, England. Its roots go back to 1843 with the establishment of the Nottingham Government School of Design, which still exists within the university today. It is the 9th largest university in the UK with 35,785 students split over five different campuses.

Cork Institute of Technology Former third-level educational institution in Cork, Ireland

Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) was a third level educational institution in Ireland, located in Cork. Upon its dissolution, the institute had 17,000 students in art, business, engineering, music, drama and science disciplines. The institute had been named as Institute of Technology of the Year in The Sunday Times University Guide for Ireland on numerous occasions. On 1 January 2021, CIT merged with IT Tralee to become Munster Technological University, Ireland's second Technological University.

Staffordshire University University in Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom

Staffordshire University is a public research university in Staffordshire, England. It has one main campus based in the city of Stoke-on-Trent and three other campuses; in Stafford, Lichfield and Shrewsbury.

Fleming College, also known as Sir Sandford Fleming College, is an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology located in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The college has an enrollment of more than 6,800 full-time and 10,000 part-time students.

Grays School of Art

Gray's School of Art is the Robert Gordon University's art school, located in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of the oldest established fine art institutions in Scotland and one of Scotland's five art schools today, and ranked among the Top 20 Schools of Art and Design in the United Kingdom. The School is housed in a modernist building at the university's Garthdee campus in Aberdeen. As well as degree-level training in fine art, applied art and design, Gray's School of Art offers short courses and evening classes to the general public in a wide variety of mediums. Many of these are designed for those with no previous formal training, and can also be used to develop a portfolio prior to applying for degree-level study. The School also mounts exhibitions, including the annual Degree Show which showcases the work of students on its programmes.

Burton and South Derbyshire College is a college located in Burton upon Trent in England. Early in 2011 the college was renamed from "Burton College".

Nottingham College is one of the largest further education and higher education colleges in the United Kingdom. Based in the city of Nottingham in England, it provides education and training from pre-entry through to university-degree level at its 10 centres in the city and around Nottinghamshire.

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore post-secondary institution specializing in fine arts

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA); is a publicly-funded post-secondary arts institution, and a soon-to-be University of the Arts by 2023 in alliance with LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore.

Burslem School of Art

Burslem School of Art was an art school in the centre of the town of Burslem in the Potteries district of England. Students from the school played an important role in the local pottery industry. Pottery was made on the site of the school from the early Middle Ages. The venue was refurbished and re-opened for the arts in 1999.

Nottingham Law School is a law school in the UK with over 100 full-time lecturers and over 2,500 students. It is an academic and professional institution, part of Nottingham Trent University. Not to be confused with the School of Law at University of Nottingham.

The University of Nottingham operates from four campuses in Nottinghamshire and from two overseas campuses, one in Ningbo, China and the other in Semenyih, Malaysia. The Ningbo campus was officially opened on 23 February 2005 by the then British Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, in the presence of Chinese education minister Zhou Ji and State Counsellor Chen Zhili. The Malaysia campus was the first purpose-built UK university campus in a foreign country and was officially opened by Najib Tun Razak on 26 September 2005. Najib Tun Razak, as well as being a Nottingham alumnus, was Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia at the time and has since become Prime Minister of Malaysia.

University of Nottingham Russell Group public research university in Nottingham, England

The University of Nottingham is a public research university in Nottingham, United Kingdom. It was founded as University College Nottingham in 1881, and was granted a royal charter in 1948. The University of Nottingham belongs to the elite research intensive Russell Group association.

Nottingham Conference Centre

Nottingham Conference Centre is a modern conference facility in the heart of Nottingham city centre. It was created in 2009 as part of the Newton-Arkwright regeneration development at Nottingham Trent University and designed by Hopkins Architects.

Coventry School of Art and Design

Coventry School of Art and Design is part of Coventry University in Coventry, West Midlands in the UK. It is home to a number of departments that teach and research in the areas of art, media and design including the Department of Industrial Design, the Department of Media, the Department of Design and Visual Arts and the Department of Performing Arts. It is most known for its world-famous courses in Automotive Design. The school also includes the Lanchester Gallery and the Institute for Creative Enterprises (ICE).

Accra Technical University Public technical university school in Accra, Ghana

The Accra Technical University was established in 1949 as a Technical School in Ghana and commissioned in 1957 as Accra Technical Institute and converted into a Technical University by the Parliament of Ghana in 2013.


  1. NTU Art & Design
  2. Government School of Design, 1843
  3. Royal College of Art archive
  4. York School of Design
  5. York Museums Trust
  6. People's Hall
  7. "Nottingham School of Art" . Nottinghamshire Guardian. England. 30 October 1863. Retrieved 23 March 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. Duchess of Kent
  9. Bonington Gallery
  10. The Career of Sir Paul Smith
  11. Waverley Building, Refurbishment
  12. About The Hive
  13. Dryden Enterprise Centre
  14. BA
  15. MA
  16. Page 23
  17. Part-time MA
  18. "Industry links – Art & Design – Nottingham Trent University".
  19. David Jackson
  20. Profile
  21. Advice
  22. Events
  23. International exchanges
  24. Study Abroad
  25. Forest Programme – 6 March 1973
  26. Newspaper cutting. (Writing and doodled.)
  27. Nottingham Evening Post – Bygones – 3 April 1999 – P.25
  28. New Badge
  29. Crest on shirt
  30. Forest badge—3 Programmes—1973

Coordinates: 52°57′33″N1°09′23″W / 52.9593°N 1.1565°W / 52.9593; -1.1565