Our Past

Bucks New University was originally founded in 1891 as the School of Science and Art. Back then the School offered evening classes to people in the local area – and was initially funded with a tax on beer and spirits!

In the 20th century the School started to develop strong links with local crafts like furniture making and cabinetry. It was the beginning of our long association with furniture design and manufacture.

After the Second World War the School expanded, and became known as the High Wycombe College of Art and Technology. High Wycombe became a centre for the furniture making industry and estimates say that around 80% of all the nation’s wooden chairs were made in the town during the 1960s.

In 1999 we were awarded University College status by the Government, and became known as Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College. It wasn’t until 2007 that we changed that to the snappier name of Buckinghamshire New University.

A period of development

Up until the 2000s, the University had been split across a number of sites. In 2009 we consolidated, creating three campuses, with the main facilities at our High Wycombe Campus. The late noughties saw a lot of development work as the campus was expanded, and our innovative Gateway Building was opened. This state-of-the-art integrated learning complex was ahead of its time and won a prestigious RIBA award in 2010.

We’ve now been providing education for over 125 years, and welcome around 9,000 students a year to our campuses.

Some famous alumni

Noel Fielding – Noel is a well-known comedian and originally starred in The Mighty Boosh. You’ll now find him on Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off. Noel studied Graphic Design and Advertising while he was here.

Naomi Riches – Naomi is an adaptive rower who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics and a gold at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Very appropriate perhaps, as she studied Designed Metalwork & Jewellery with us.

Chloe Rogers – Chloe is one of the country’s best hockey players, and won an Olympic bronze medal at London 2012. She’s played for England and Great Britain an incredible 162 times.