Education for working people has been the driving force of the University of Bolton since its first days as a mechanics’ institute in the 1820s.
And while buildings, classrooms and technology have changed beyond the imagination of those first 19th century lecturers, today training people for the professions they want to pursue is still at the heart of the university.
Subjects such as engineering have been a key part of Bolton’s story for decades.
Some of the university’s first degree and postgraduate programmes in the 1960s and 70s were in civil, electrical and electronic engineering.
Today, the university boasts a unique Centre for Advanced Performance Engineering (CAPE) which gives students a matchless insight into motorsports — they are on a professional racing team and that team is based on campus — a first for any UK university.
The university has joined forces with Le Mans race team RLR Msport to create a specialist, high-performance automotive engineering centre; and with Keating Supercars so that students get hands-on experience.
Teacher training and art and design are both cornerstones of the university.
Bolton College of Education and Bolton College of Art were two of the three founding institutions which made up Bolton Institute of Higher Education.
Teacher training has been a major strength for the university, attracting many international students to its postgraduate and professional development courses.
You can find Bolton graduates among the senior management of most British further-education colleges and among the senior officials in technical education ministries in many countries in Africa, Asia, South America and Southern Europe.
Similarly, art and design was a subject inherited from Bolton College of Art and has developed into a major area for the university, with the addition of specialist areas in fine art, textiles, design and photography.
The university has a proud record in humanities and social sciences, being one of the first institutions outside the old university sector to offer a professionally accredited degree in psychology.
In the 1990s, many new subject areas were added to the university’s portfolio, helping to create the all-round academic provision expected.
- This story appeared in a special University of Bolton 190th anniversary supplement, which you can download here: University of Bolton 190th anniversary.pdf