Hornsey College of Art

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Hornsey College of Art (aka Hornsey School of Art) is a former college centred on Crouch End in the London Borough of Haringey, England. The HCA was "an iconic British art institution, renowned for its experimental and progressive approach to art and design education".[1]

Background[edit]

The college was founded in 1880 as the Hornsey School of Arts by Charles Swinstead, an artist and teacher who lived at Crouch End, Hornsey. During the inter-war years the schools curriculum was composed of Fine Art, Advertising Design and Industrial Applied Art. It bravely continued its day-time classes during World War II and was one of only two London art schools that did not vacate the capital during the blitz.

It became Hornsey College of Arts and Crafts in 1955. It survived until 1973 as a named entity, when it joined Enfield Technical College and Hendon Technical College to become Middlesex Polytechnic. The Polytechnic later became Middlesex University.

The 1968 sit-in[edit]

During 1968, the college was the scene of protests when students occupied the Crouch End Hill site.[2] Students attending the multi-site college convened to discuss the withdrawal of Student Union funds and resolved to sit-in. During this period they effected a temporary administration of the college, and called for major and consultative review of the art curriculum, supported by sympathetic academic staff and visiting artists. They offered a major critique of the education system at the time.[3] Some of these documents were presented as part of a project called The Hornsey Project. The college was repossessed by local authorities at the beginning of the summer break.

Hornsey achieved notoriety because of the scale of the all night protests and sit-ins, which were copied in similar art schools around the UK. During the six weeks that the riots lasted, Hornsey became the focus of debate about the method of art education and teaching in Britain. Hornsey was, and still is, afforded the blame for these disturbances that swept the student fraternity nationwide.[citation needed]

Kim Howells, a student and Nick Wright, then President of the Students' Union on a sabbatical year, initiated the sit-in.[citation needed] Howells later became a trade union official and a Minister in Tony Blair's government. After the protests, Tom Nairn, then a sociology lecturer, was dismissed from the college.[4]

"The Hornsey Affair", a book by students and staff at Hornsey, was published in 1969 by Penguin Books.[3] [1] A documentary film, Our Live Experiment is Worth More Than 3,000 Textbooks, about the Hornsey sit-in was directed by John Goldschmidt for Granada Television and transmitted in 1969.

Recent use of the building[edit]

Middlesex University vacated the Crouch End building at an unknown time. Since 2008, the building has been a part of Coleridge Primary School, upon its expansion to four-form entry.

Notable alumni and teachers[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 51°38′37″N 0°08′50″W / 51.6436°N 0.1472°W / 51.6436; -0.1472