History of Ruskin


Our founders understood that education is power.

Founded in 1899 at a time of ferment in political and educational ideas, Ruskin College aimed to provide university-standard education for working class people to empower them to act more effectively on behalf of working class communities and organisations such as trade unions, political parties, co-operative societies and working men's institutes.

Our ethos remains the same. We’re committed to providing learning that transforms individual lives and societies.

Ruskin students have frequently gone on to work in education, in social work and social care, in the media, in trade unions, in management and in politics. A large proportion of our students progress to the next levels of higher education, here at Ruskin or within other institutions - including many of our most famous universities.

Ruskin in the First World War

To mark the anniversary of the start of the First World War in 1914, the Ruskin Fellowship, in 2013, chose to produce a pamphlet giving the history of the College and the Fellowship during that time. The history of the College during that period was unknown to the Fellowship when that decision was made and the initial understanding was that the College closed during the war. However, the College archives told another story – and that story is summed up in the final pamphlet.
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