Transforming Lives Since 1828

We’re celebrating our
190th anniversary

The University of Central Lancashire can trace its origins all the way back to the formation of the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge in 1828.

That was the year when a local Preston cheesemonger, philanthropist and all-round good guy named Joseph Livesey inspired a group of local people to form a new Mechanics’ Institute for Preston – a place where local people could get together to share ideas, listen to thought-provoking lectures and enjoy the benefits of a well-stocked library and reading room – all for a modest fee.

Over the years the Institution expanded to include classes on a wide range of subjects, and its successors began to offer university-level education to the people of Preston. We’ve had many name changes through the years. Since 1828 we’ve been known as the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge, the Harris Institute, Harris College, Preston Polytechnic, Lancashire Polytechnic and now the University of Central Lancashire.

Today we’re a thriving community of around 38,000 students and staff. Our alumni make up a worldwide family of over 181,000 people. This year we’re inviting you to join us as we celebrate our rich history and look ahead towards an exciting future.

Right: Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas explains what’s in store for our 190th anniversary celebrations throughout 2018.

Take a trip through time

Left: Take a look at this animated video and enjoy a whirlwind tour through our 190-year history. We’ll take you on a trip through almost 200 years of change in less than 90 seconds.

View an accessible audio description of this video.

We’re inviting everyone who has been a part of our past and present to join in our 190th anniversary celebrations throughout 2018. Be sure to check this site regularly for the latest news and features together with details of our exciting events programme. There will be something for everyone, from thought-provoking public lectures to heritage activities and social events. We’ll be announcing new events regularly.

We’re also looking to build a collection of your stories that will really bring the history of our University to life. Personal or professional, funny or serious – get in touch with us and share your memories.

Visit our ‘Get Involved’ page for more about how you can join in this year’s celebrations and enjoy the benefits of your lifetime membership of our Alumni Network.

We have just launched a range of collectable merchandise to mark our 190th anniversary. Take a look at our Gift Shop to browse the specially commissioned animated prints featuring iconic buildings from the past and present of our University and the City of Preston. Sales of these products include a donation of up to 7.5% to the Harris Bursary Fund. Please note: P&P applies to UK mainland only. Other prices on application.

We look forward to celebrating our 190th year with you during 2018.

1828 - 1899
Founding years

1900 - 1949
Early 20th Century

1950 - 1959
Reaching higher

1960 - 1969
Revolution in the air

1970 - 1979
Major expansion

1980 - 1989
Putting students first

1990 - 1999
Soaring ambition

2000 - Present
Onwards and upwards