This college has its origins in the temperance Royal Victoria Coffee and Music Hall. In 1882, using the back-stage and the dressing rooms of the theatre, Emma Cons introduced Tuesday “penny” lectures. In 1889, funded by an endowment from Samuel Morley, the Morley Memorial College for Working Men and Women opened, still using the theatre spaces. In the 1920s Lilian Baylis raised funds enough to acquire the current site on which to run the College, separate from the theatre.
The Victorian building was lost in WW2 but a 1937 extension by Maufe survives (the western wing of the current site). The post-war buildings are by Charles Cowles-Voysey and Brandon Jones and were completed in 1958.