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Oxford Brookes University began life as the Oxford School of Art in 1865. It occupied one room on the ground floor of the Taylor Institution in the centre of the city.
Five years later the School of Science was incorporated. Classes in a range of scientific and technical subjects were available. As well as evening classes in the University Museum. In 1891 the School was taken over by the Technical Instruction Committee (part of Oxford City Council), and renamed Oxford City Technical School.
John Henry Brookes became Vice-Principal of the Oxford City Technical School and Head of the School of Art in 1928. Over the next 30 years he worked on the development of the institution. His goal was to make education available to all.
In 1949, the School moves to a 25-acre site in Headington. Brookes referred to the move as 'setting foot in the Promised Land'. Lord Nuffield laid the foundation stone six years later. Over the years there were more merges and name changes. Finally in 1992 it was named Oxford Brookes University.
Today, Oxford Brookes University is a thriving community of staff and students. Committed to helping our students achieve their potential. And to become graduates prepared for fulfilling and valuable lives.
John Henry Brookes (JHB) was an artist and craftsman, teacher and outstanding educationalist. He is often described as the spiritual founder of Oxford Brookes University.
JHB was born in Northampton in Victorian times. His father was a highly skilled bootmaker and his mother a tailoress. Craftsmanship and teaching were an integral part of his family history.
He became Vice-Principal of the Oxford City Technical School and Head of the School of Art in 1928. Over the next 30 years he exerted a powerful influence on the development of the institution. Throughout his life, he was committed to the goal of making education available to all.
In 1992 Oxford Polytechnic became a university and decided to honour its founding Principal, John Brookes, in its new title. Oxford Brookes University.
Important dates in our history
A timeline of the social history of Oxford Brookes, created specially to mark our 150th Anniversary