The College of North West London celebrated its 75th birthday at the Dudden Hill Lane campus this October when staff cut a giant iced birthday cake in the shape of 75.
The College opened its doors to students on 12 October 1934 as Willesden Technical College, and apart from a short period of closure, it soldiered on throughout the Second World War – only once disrupted by tragedy in November 1940, when seven bombs fell on the site one Sunday, killing 11 members of the public in the College air raid shelters and injuring 19 people.
In September 1991 the Tech merged with Kilburn Polytechnic to become the College of North West London. More buildings were added to the Willesden site – the latest being the £13 million state-of-the-art technology block known as the Telford Building, which opened in April 2009.
From a few hundred students and 28 staff in 1934, the College now has over 13,000 students and more than 900 staff across three sites – Willesden, Kilburn and Wembley Park.
Special guests at the cake ceremony included Kenneth Lewis, aged 85, who was a plumbing student at the College from 1938-40 and became an RAF pilot during the war. He trained as a surveyor and rose to be managing director and chairman of the renowned Haymills construction company before retiring, but continued flying as a hobby until he was 80.
The College found Kenneth on the Friends Reunited website, where nearly 900 people are registered as former students of Willesden Technical College or Willesden College – but sadly there is nobody from the earliest year of 1934-35.
The College anniversary web page containing interesting facts and information, will be updated on a regular basis. The web page will run all through the anniversary year from the end of October until October 2010, and the public will be able to send in their comments and memories. Visit www.cnwl.ac.uk.
Source: Brent BRAIN (Brent’s Community Network)