World War One at St Paul’s College in Cheltenham


The University of Gloucestershire has a long history as a teacher training college, stretching back to 1847 when it was first established as Cheltenham Training College in St Paul’s. In a series of blog posts, we explore our teacher training history using the University’s Special Collections and Archives. Follow them on Twitter.


Unsurprisingly, World War One had a destabilising effect on St Paul’s College (now Francis Close Hall campus). By January 1915, 60 per cent of second-year students had enlisted to join the war effort.

Temporary closure in 1915 meant that first-year students went to Chester, whilst second-year men were sent to Saltley and Battersea to study. For a continued sense of identity, a lecturer was sent from Cheltenham to accompany first-year students at their new college.

Between 1916 and 1919, no new male entrants enrolled at St Paul’s. However, female students from St Mary’s (now Park campus) came across to St Paul’s as one of their own buildings was taken up by the Red Cross. It was in 1919 that men were once again able to enrol on teacher training courses at St Paul’s.

» From 5th – 9th November, the University of Gloucestershire will be remembering the 264 alumni who died during World War 1 by holding a display of crocheted poppies. There will also be a short service on 9th November. More information can be found here.

» Click here to read about life during World War Two at St Paul’s College


Tom Brunsdon is a Technician Demonstrator for the School of Education. Do you have memories you would like to share about your teacher training days in Cheltenham? If so, get in touch with Tom by email.

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