Westminster Kingsway College – Soho Centre Centenary (1913-2013)
Westminster Kingsway College was founded in September 2000 following the merger of the former Westminster College and Kingsway College. The College is based on several sites across two London boroughs: Camden and Westminster. Today it is one of the largest Further Education colleges in the UK with approximately 15,000 students across all age groups and offers a wide range of further, adult and higher education programmes as well as a school link provision.
The College offers a choice of full-time and part-time courses giving students the opportunity to gain vocational, professional and academic qualifications at different levels that are tailored directly to employment opportunities. The College works with employers from a wide range of industries across the capital to provide them with work-based training and development programmes.
Soho Centre, Peter Street, London W1
The Soho Centre of Westminster Kingsway College, located in the heart of London’s West End, has been used to provide language courses since 1913.
It was previously founded as the Pulteney General Institute in September 1882 at the site of the Crown Street School in Soho. The Institute was founded to provide evening classes appropriate to the needs of the local community which included language classes.
The “Pulteney” moved to Peter Street in Soho in 1913. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Soho Centre was home to the School of Languages and General Studies.
Today, the Soho Centre at Westminster Kingsway College provides a large part of the College’s ESOL and English Language provision as well as being the location of the Creative Media Hub and 01zero-one.
The Creative Media Hub and 01zero-one provides industry led skills development and training for London’s audio visual and digital media industries from the basement location at the Soho Centre. In the heart of Soho, our basement location can be hired for conferences, exhibitions, parties, meetings, editing and training sessions and has a fully equipped broadcast Film Studio. The courtyard is perfect for summer parties/BBQs or breakout space for team building sessions.
History of Peter Street, Soho
Peter Street: This street probably originated as a passage-way to the saltpetre house which was built about 1656 on a site between this street and Brewer Street. The street name (which probably derived from this building) first appears in the ratebooks for 1675 and Ogilby and Morgan’s map of 1681–2 shows buildings along the greater part of both sides of the street. After the grant of the building lease of 1685 to Pollett and his associates a number of new houses were erected there between 1686 and 1693. The building tradesmen who took up leases include Thomas Husbands, painter, and John James and Abraham Bridle, carpenters. In 1720 Peter Street was described as ‘a Street not over well inhabited’, and in the 1830’s as ‘a short dirty street, without any thoroughfare’. By the late nineteenth century the buildings had become ‘wretched hovels, and a disgrace to humanity’. Most of the street has been rebuilt during the last hundred years and the earliest surviving houses are of the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries.
Nos. 2–4, 20–22 (consec.), and 28 Peter Street: Nos. 2 and 3 were built as a pair probably in the early nineteenth century, of brick since painted. Both consist of a basement and three low storeys, with a shop on the ground floor and one wide three-light window to the front room on the two upper storeys (segmental-headed at No. 2, flatheaded at No. 3, both with plastered reveals), and a parapet concealing the roof. No. 4 next door, two windows wide and four storeys high, carries the inscription ‘JP1828’ between the first and second floors.
Nos. 20–22 (consec.) form a four-storeyed terrace of three houses, each two windows wide, and resembling Nos. 33–36 Marshall Street. The ground floor, with thin pilaster-strips and meagre continuous entablature, was apparently planned for shop-fronts, but each contains only one domestic window. The top floor has been renewed. No. 23 has been rebuilt above the ground floor, which has the remains of a continuous range of small-paned shop windows. The cement faced front of No. 28, three storeys high and three windows wide, has a pilaster-strip at the east end, above a nineteenth-century shop-front.
Peter Street Chapel (now demolished): In 1734 Dr. James Anderson and part of his congregation left the Scottish church in Swallow Street (see page 63) and established themselves in Lisle Street chapel, near Leicester Square. When they were unable to renew the lease of this building in 1755, the congregation, now led by Dr. John Patrick, acquired two houses in Peter Street and used their sites for a new church, described as ‘a small neat building, with three galleries and conveniently fitted up with pews’. In 1815 it was listed as an independent chapel, but later reverted to Scottish Presbyterianism. In the 1850’s it was used by the Wesleyans, but it evidently ceased to be used as a chapel in 1858, when all the internal fittings were offered for sale. The chapel was situated on the north side of Peter Street, one door west of Hopkins Street, and later became the St. Luke’s National School, which was demolished in 1880 for the erection of a London School Board school (see below).
Pulteney L.C.C. School: This building was erected for the London School Board in 1880 by the builders Messrs. Wall Brothers of Kentish Town, from the plans of E. R. Robson, architect to the Board. The site had previously been occupied by a number of small houses and by St. Luke’s National School.
This is one of the plainer buildings designed by Robson for the London School Board. It is a single tall block of three storeys in yellow stock brick with red brick dressings. The windows have white-painted glazing-bars and the coved main cornice is painted white, the only other notable decorative element being the lofty arcade of shallow segmental-headed recesses with white keystones on the top storey, containing flatheaded windows. A two-storey cottage of the same materials stands west of the school.
For further information about the College’s history or to contact the College email firstname.lastname@example.org.