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Waltham Forest College marked its 85th anniversary with a launch of Creating Futures: Arts, Heritage, and Community exhibition, showcasing the rich and exciting heritage and the key role it played as an anchor institution from 1938 to the present time.


The exhibition brought back to life historical archive material, showcasing material from contemporary artists, including artwork, memorabilia, photography and film. The exhibition also shares the memories and stories of those who have worked, studied or visited the college during the past 85 years.  

Other materials such as prospectuses, uniforms, report cards, newsletters and filming of the official College opening are part of the exhibition. Former alumni are showcased including Patricia Heath, who was appointed the first ever Head Girl in 1939 and Sam Everton who immigrated to the UK and after studying at the College joined the Royal Air Force (RAF). Featured artists JC Candanedo, Thais Verhasselt, Laura Chevalier and the Prince’s Trust – Team 16 also formed part of the exhibition.


Key stakeholders and industry figures were invited to the launch event to commemorate the College’s long-standing history of raising aspirations and supporting education and skills for over 85 years. Attendees included: Cllr Grace Williams (Leader of Waltham Forest Council), Mary Vine-Morris MBE for Association of Colleges and representatives from the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Paul Butler, Chair of the Corporation, commented; Waltham Forest College has a long, proud and distinctive history stretching back to 1938 since its formation as the South-West Essex Technical College and School of Art. It has transformed the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. I am proud of the significant achievements of the College in the recent years and the role it continues to play within the local community”.

The Creating Futures Exhibition is being held in Love Our Colleges Week, which recognises and celebrates the valuable social and economic contribution of Further Education Colleges across the UK.


Janet Gardner, Principal and CEO, commented:

“The resilience, commitment, and hard work of all the staff and students at Waltham Forest College makes this the special place that it is. Since this grand building opened its doors in 1938, so much has changed. However, our core purpose remains the same as we continue to meet the skills needs of London and our local communities by offering inspirational, high-quality education and training to shape and lead London’s workforce”.

The College is currently undergoing £20 million of capital investment upgrading the estate and facilities to ensure it continues to lead the way by providing high quality training and skills for future generations.

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