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St Martin's College

One of the institutions that formed the University of Cumbria was St Martin's College, which was founded in 1964 in Lancaster by the Church of England to train teachers. The College's gradual growth accelerated rapidly in 1996 when it acquired Charlotte Mason College and again in 1998 when a new campus was opened in Carlisle.

Barracks of the King's Own Royal Regiment

The Lancaster campus of the University of Cumbria started life as a barracks for the King's Own Royal Regiment and it was this association which gave the teaching college its name - St Martin's  - after a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity.

With the kind permission of the Museum for the King's Own Royal Regiment we have a gallery of images from their archive and a collection from our own.

The formation of the College

Post-war review of teacher training led to the instigation of Lancaster College of Education 1962. The first intake of 89 students (supported by 13 staff) was in 1964.

The King’s Own Royal Regiment had vacated the barracks in the previous decade and the site was purchased by the Church of England. Former armouries, barracks houses and other military buildings were converted and others demolished to be replaced by new buildings designed by Charles Pike.

From the start the College planned to teach degrees as well as Certificates of Education and pioneered the four year BA Hons with QTS. By 1966 the College was teaching PGCE students.

As nursing developed as a graduate profession the College developed courses in nursing and later radiography, occupational health, social work and continuing professional development courses for health professionals. Strong relationships were forged with NHS trust training departments. This can be seen in the local hospital trusts where many health professionals can be seen proudly wearing both St Martin’s and University of Cumbria badges on their uniforms. 

The College developed courses in humanities, arts, sport and a mini building boom ensued in the late 1990s with the development of the Sports Centre, Humanities building, Hugh Pollard Lecture Theatre and new accommodation.

In the late 1990s St Martin's took over the management of Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside. The London campuses followed, strengthening the emphasis on teaching.

The acquisition of the former hospital buildings at Fusehill St in Carlisle saw the expansion of health, teaching and arts, humanities and business courses in Cumbria.

The Carlisle campus developed with new halls of residence, a sport centre and in 2006 the Learning Gateway building.

St Martin’s College was one of the three institutions which formed the University of Cumbria in August 2007.