Undergraduates and post-grads depart for the new East Bank campus
London College of Fashion’s Lime Grove campus closes its doors on a long history of fashion, journalism and media excellence this summer. The college’s move to a new building on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this September will surely leave a mark on students, staff and the surrounding community.
The campus is tucked away from the bustling streets of Shepherds Bush, running adjacent to the infamous market. The college has housed nearly 2,000 students taking part in BA and MA courses every year and this last semester will see an end to nearly two decades of the site’s operation and influence in the local area.
The site itself has a long history in arts and culture. It was originally home to Hammersmith College of Art and Building, which moved to Lime Grove in 1908 after being taken over by London County Council in 1904. Architect, designer and first advisor to LCC’s technical education board, William Lethaby played a dominant role in developing a facility for practical and technical education in the arts and saw the site evolve into a trade school for women specialising in dressmaking, millinery, embroidery and hairdressing in 1914. Later merging with Chelsea College of Arts in 1975, the school remained on the site until 2001 when London College of Fashion moved in.
UAL and Lime Grove will not be entirely cutting their ties, however. The university will still be using the space at Lime Grove to nurture the next generation in fashion through its pre-degree and Further Education courses. The site has been a valued home to the BA and MA students of LCF but with the highly anticipated move to Stratford now imminent Daniel Mensah, head of security, says that despite the promise of foundation students occupying the space as of September 2023, his team are apprehensive. “It will be a bit slow. The way we have all the students here, the place is always active,” he says. “We don’t know how busy it will be but we are looking forward to seeing how it will go.”
The East Bank development on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be the location for the London College of Fashion’s new home and is part of a cultural and educational redevelopment of the area. LCF will be joining other world-leading universities Sadler’s Wells, Loughborough University and UCL and arts and culture organisations including the V&A and the BBC in hopes of building a different community that will open up new opportunities. Millie Noon, Year 2 Fashion Journalism and Content Creation student tells Shift she is excited, “It’s going to be a better sense of community having everyone all in one space.”
Although the colleges move east will be an exciting expansion of UAL, the much loved West London location, which is steeped in history will be sorely missed by students. “For the last two years it has been my comfort zone,” says Millie, “but I really think its time for something new.”