Ref NoRC/110
TitleKensington Gore and the Royal College of Art
DescriptionRoyal College of Art.
In 1837 a metropolitan Museum of Design was opened in Somerset House and in 1857 moved to South Kensington as the Normal Training School of Art, to share a site with the newly established South Kensington Museum. In 1863 it was again renamed as the National Art Training School and assumed occupancy of one of the permanent buildings being erected on the east side of Exhibition Road, although lack of space meant that the School was also required to use temporary iron buildings on the east side of Queen's Gate. Both of these premises were still being used in the 1970s after the erection of the College's new home in Kensington Gore. The College also occupied for sometime, until its demolition, the upper floor of the Western Galleries as well as numbers 21 and 23 Cromwell Road. The present name of the Royal College of Art dates from 1897.

Following the 1911 Departmental Committee on the Royal College of Art, whose report drew attention to the 'inadequacy and unsuitability' of the College's accommodation, various projects and remedies were attempted. The Commissioners declined to aid the Government in the first scheme of 1912-14, which was for a new building on the Cromwell Gardens Island site, and it was largely shelved with the outbreak of war.

A later proposal for a site on the main square of the Estate west of the Royal College of Music was unsuccessful because of Imperial College's urgent need for expansion, but on this occasion difficulties were overcome by the 1851 Commissioners' offer to the Ministry of Works, whose responsibility it was to house national institutions, of a site in Kensington Gore. The lease of this site dated from June 1946 and included numbers 11-22 Kensington Gore, with the mews property behind, numbers 197-200 Queen's Gate, numbers 23-25 Kensington Gore, with the mews behind, and finally a garage property in Jay Mews. The lease was assigned to the Royal College of Art from the Ministry of Works in 1951.

Demolition work on the site began in 1959 and plans for the new building by the Architect H.T. Cadbury Brown, in association with Sir Hugh Casson and R.Y. Goodden, were approved by the Royal Fine Art Commission and the 1851 Board of Management. The building went up in stages with funding from the Government and - for the second stage of The Gulbenkian Hall - from the Gulbenkian Foundation.
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