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London South Bank University (LSBU) has, for more than 100 years and counting, focused on providing professional opportunity for all students who can benefit from their services.

Originally established as the Borough Polytechnic Institute in 1892, the original aim of London South Bank University was “to promote the industrial skill, general knowledge, health and well-being of young men and women”, which remains remarkably similar to the goals the institute pursues today. Their continuous focus on vocational education and professional opportunity consistently allows them to produce graduates who can meet the challenges of today's workplace.

A Brief History and Timeline of London South Bank University

From its origins in 1892 as the Borough Polytechnic Institute, London South Bank University has evolved into one of the capital’s largest and most innovative universities.

Today the students of London South Bank University, wherever they may happen to come from and whatever their goals and aspirations may be, can look forward to a quality education that develops them both academically and personally, reflects the needs of today’s business and society and equips them for rewarding careers in the future.

History Timeline

For nearly 122 years now, the London South Bank University has been focusing on providing professional opportunities for young men and women.  Below we have compiled some key events and milestones for the university over the course of its history:

1887:  The South London Polytechnic Institute Council is established by Edric Bayley.

1888:  The Charity Commissioners pledge funds to set up three polytechnics in south London including one at the Elephant and Castle, to “improve the mental and bodily health and social happiness” of the local people.

1890: The British & Foreign Schools Society Training College on Borough Road is purchased.

1892:  On September 30th, Lord Rosebery officially opens the Borough Polytechnic Institute, which becomes one of Britain's first great technical colleges and a model educational institution. C.T. Millis is appointed the Polytechnic's first principal.

The 1890s: The first classes of the Borough Polytechnic Institute serve to teach apprentices and tradesmen about local industries including brickwork and masonry; oils, colors and varnishes; plumbing; hat manufacturing; bakery; and leather tanning. Technical classes run for women in subjects such as cookery and dressmaking, as well as “General Knowledge” classes, teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, music and elocution are also held. The Domestic Economy School for Girls opens with courses including waistcoat making, laundry and upholstery. The Technical Day School for Boys also opens with courses including science and mechanics.

1914-1918 (During World War I): Courses are offered for army personnel and munitions and supplies are manufactured.

1930:  On February 20 of 1930, the Duke of York opens new buildings changing the façade of the Borough Road building.

1939-1945 (During WW II):  Despite 13,000 square feet of the campus being destroyed during the Blitz, the Polytechnic runs classes for servicemen and produces gauges, jigs and machine components for the War Effort. The National Bakery and Trade Schools are evacuated to Exeter, and the Women's Department serves meals to locals affected by the bombings and runs war-time cookery and “Mend and Make-Do” classes.

1945:  David Bomberg, today recognized as one of the finest British painters of the twentieth century, begins teaching Art at the school, and the Borough Group is set up as a response to his teachings.

1969: On July 9th, the Duke of Edinburgh opens the new extension buildings, allowing the Polytechnic to expand its courses and student numbers.

1970:  On September 1, 1970, the Polytechnic of the South Bank forms from the merger of the Borough Polytechnic with the Brixton School of Building, the City of Westminster College and the National College for Heating, Ventilating, Refrigeration and Fan Engineering. These mergers allow the school to develop new courses in areas such as architecture, property development studies, chemical engineering and business studies. In 1971 Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of England, attends the designation ceremony of the new Polytechnic.

1976:  Battersea College of Education and part of the Rachel McMillan College of Education merge with the polytechnic.

1989:  The National Bakery School (NBS), which was established in 1894 and is today the oldest bakery school in the world, bakes a cake to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the office of Lord Mayor of London.

1991:  South West London College and the Central Catering College at Waterloo merge with the Polytechnic.

1992:  On June 18, the school is awarded University status becoming South Bank University and in September celebrates their Centenary. Christopher McLaren becomes the University's first Chancellor and Pauline Perry its first Vice-Chancellor.

1994: Redwood College of Health Studies merges with the University.

1995: The Charles West School of Nursing (founded in 1878 as part of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children) merges with the University.

2003:  On September 1, the name of the university is changed from South Bank University to the London South Bank University.  In the same year, the Keyworth Center opens with state-of-the-art teaching and conference facilities.

2012:  The University celebrates its 120th anniversary, and LSBU's new Student Center is opened. The new center brings the University's employability, development and student services together under one roof. Its key features include the Student Life Center—a drop-in service for student information and advice—a new Students' Union, catering outlets and new areas for socializing.

London South Bank University:  Location

The main campus of London South Bank University is located in the heart of London, literally at the center of everything.

Few city center campuses in London are as compact as that of London South Bank University in the Elephant & Castle. Nestled on the border of the city's Zones 1 and 2 for public transport, the school is just minutes away from the entertainment buzz of bars, restaurants and clubs, and just a stone’s throw away from many of the city's world-renowned galleries, theatres, museums and attractions.

Whether students plan to study full-time or part-time, the location of London South Bank University is a major selling point. Situated on a major public transportation hub, students can reach the university easily by bus, train, the London Underground, plane or bicycle. The school is a popular choice for part-time and day release students both in and around the city limits. Furthermore, for students based in Essex who are interested in studying nursing, the Havering campus, located near the partner Trust hospitals, is especially convenient.

Perhaps the best part of London South Bank University’s location is London itself, a leading global city that is often described as a world cultural capital. Strong in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport, it is one of the world's leading financial and legal centers.

London South Bank University: Accommodations

The halls of residence at London South Bank University are comfortable, safe and ideal for living, studying and exploring.

London South Bank University has four halls of residence, giving students a safe and comfortable base. The furthest away, on its Southwark campus, is a mere 10-minute walk from the heart of the university and includes all the amenities of home.

All student residences have outstanding public transport connections, whether travelling by bus, train or the London Underground. The campus is surrounded by many of London's key attractions, and the Elephant and Castle shopping centre offers students a great number of retail and banking opportunities.

In total, London South Bank University has 1,396 single self-contained study/bedrooms spread across four residential buildings. Their single occupancy, self-catered rooms feature:

  • A choice of en-suite or standard rooms
  • Data connections with access to the internet and the University network 
  • On-site laundry facilities
  • On-site management teams and on-call staff for emergencies if and when assistance is needed

All rooms are non-smoking, have access to high-speed internet and include kitchen facilities. Flats accommodate between two and nine residents depending on the building.

International students attending London South Bank University for the first time are guaranteed accommodation provided they meet the allocation criteria and apply to the Accommodation Office by August 1st.

The main role of the Accommodation Service Office is to process applications, and to allocate and offer places in University halls of residence. They cannot offer any legal advice, but they do serve as the students’ first point of reference for basic information and assistance.

London South Bank University:  Student Services

The student services available at London South Bank University exist to support its students' educational, personal, career and spiritual needs.  The institution appreciates that many factors can have an impact on student success, and therefore offers a whole range of services students can rely on.  These services include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

Skills for Learning Services

The Skills for Learning team at London South Bank University, through workshops, courses and one-to-one sessions, supports and develops a variety of academic and professional skills.  This unique service offers Mathematics and Statistics sessions, incorporating Engineering Science and drug calculations, plus Communication Skills Development sessions which include topics such as essay writing.

As well as providing support during the academic year, the Skills for Learning Team also offers its services outside of the traditional school year, which includes a September Postgraduate course and a Summer course for undergraduates and those wishing to improve their skills before coming to the University. Classes are free for all enrolled LSBU students.

Student Life Support Services

The purpose-built Student Life Center at London South Bank University has a wealth of knowledge on all non-academic issues that can affect students while at the university. The center offers general advice in areas such as disability and dyslexia services, mental health services and funding, and can even arrange appointments with specialist teams outside of the university. This unique service serves to ensure that all students are supported appropriately during their stay at the university so as to achieve their academic and professional goals.

Library Services

The libraries on the Southwark and Havering campuses provide LSBU students with access to a wide range of books, journal articles and other specialist materials—materials they will need to complete their studies. E-resources – including over 18,000 full-text journals – can be accessed off-campus 24 hours a day. A team of experienced, professional staff is always on hand to give expert support and provide needed training where necessary. 

IT Support Services

IT support is offered to all students through the Learning Resources Center at the university’s Southwark campus. Here, students have free access to computers – both PCs and Macs – and to software that underpins their course work and research. Specialist software is also available in some departmental labs.

Language Support Services for International/Overseas Students

The English language typically used in higher education can be very different from the colloquial English students learn in high school or college. Therefore, to help students develop the academic English they will need to be successful, London South Bank University offers free language clinics for those international students whose first language is something other than English.

Equality and Diversity

Finally—and perhaps most importantly—London South Bank University is fully committed to equality and diversity on all of its campuses. Consequently, the staff and administration consistently work together to build a learning community that is founded on the equality of opportunity, and one that celebrates the rich diversity of their student and staff populations.

All Programs Available:
  • Architecture, Building and Landscape
    • Architecture
  • Business
    • Business Administration
    • Marketing
  • Communications
    • Journalism
  • Computing
    • Information Technology
  • Engineering
    • Engineering Science
  • Finance
    • Accounting
    • Finance
  • Health
    • Health Occupations
  • Hospitality, Leisure, Tourism and Travel
    • Hotel Management
    • Tourism
  • Law
    • Law
  • Philology, Languages, Literature
    • Philology and Linguistics
  • Sciences
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Anthropology
    • Gardening
Language of instruction


Type of school

Public University


+00 44 020 815 8158


Course Enquiries - 103 Bprough Road, London, The United Kingdom, SE1 0AA

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