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Campus History


David Game College is in the Portal Trust (previously Sir John Cass’s Foundation) building in the heart of the City of London. Our campus is near historic and modern landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Bank of England, Lloyds of London, the Gherkin and numerous other skyscrapers. The skyline of the City of London has changed so much over the last decade, but David Game College’s current building is steeped in history. In 2017, David Game College moved from its location in Notting Hill to become the tenant of the Portal Trust Building at 31 Jewry Street, EC3N 2ET in the heart of the City of London.

The Portal Trust is one of the most recognised and prestigious educational foundations in the UK. After significant investment, the building was brought back to life and now has excellent facilities that any modern college would be proud of. The move from Notting Hill to the City realised a transformation in the size and ambition of David Game College, but it also started a professional relationship between The Portal Trust and David Game College. Founded by Sir John Cass in 1748, the current Trust supports a wide range of educational establishments. It provides support to a number of schools in the area as well as the Bayes Business School, one Europe’s leading business schools.

Our historic building is unique. It features a large collection of contemporary paintings – including some very well regarded artists, such as Keith Grant and Edward Stone – that hang on the walls all over the college. All this artwork brightens up the college and provides a visual feast for those who love art as they move around campus.

The building

The foundation stone of the college building was laid in 1899 by the Bishop of London and the building designed by the award winning architect A.W. Cooksey. Lord Avebury officially opened the building on the 5th June 1902, with the statue of Sir John Cass displayed in a bay situated above the main entrance.

A new wing of the building was opened by the Earl of Athlone on the 10th December 1934 (this part of the building is currently occupied by our University Foundation Programme and Higher Education Department). The building was originally designed for education and was first named as the Sir John Cass Institute and then in the 1950s renamed as the Sir John Cass College. It later became the City of London Polytechnic, which then became London Guildhall University. In 2002 the London Guildhall University, following a series of mergers, became London Metropolitan University, which occupied the building until 2015; David Game College took over the tenancy in 2017.

Having been a university campus previously, David Game College has access to a large auditorium that takes up to 250 people and a small auditorium that takes 70 as well as over 80 large, high ceiling classrooms that provide a real sense of space and scholastic atmosphere.

Owing to its design and various original features, the building is Grade II listed and comes under English Heritage protection and oversight. It was listed in 1972 for it special architectural and historic features such as its general design and its red brick and Portland stone structure and its brown glazed bricks that are a distinct feature on the lower part of the building.

Some very interesting artefacts and features are present within the college as the building stands on the line of the Roman wall of Londinium, parts of which are present and protected in the basement of the college – the College magazine is called Londinium by association!

In addition to having parts of the Roman Wall, the College building also has a beautiful stained-glass window just near the main entrance that celebrates the heroic acts of those who fought and died in the First World War. This very noticeable and elegant feature is situated near the main entrance adjacent to the original staircase that takes you to David Game College’s Reception.

Also, as you walk in the front entrance you immediately notice (because you step on it!) a tiled crest (Sir John’s own coat of arms), which depicts a grasping hand holding a fish. This image helps to remind all students to seize the opportunity, grasp the chance of new learning and appreciate new experiences. These are very much part of David Game College’s values.

During 2016-17, the Principal, Mr David Game invested millions of pounds into the re-development of the building and brought it back to become a vibrant and modern educational establishment. It now has excellent facilities, including:

  • Three new purpose-build university-style laboratories
  • A spacious art room with excellent natural light
  • A photography suite and dark room facilities
  • Two state-of-art computer rooms
  • A large study library
  • Two large university-sized lecture auditoriums
  • Gym
  • A large dance floor
  • A purpose-built canteen

At 58,000 sq ft, the building has enough space for the college to realise its ambitions and provide students with a first rate educational experience.

Founder’s Day

The College experiences a colourful and vibrant procession every year to celebrate the formal establishment of the Sir John Cass Foundation in 1748. Called Founder’s day, the very first procession took place in 1749 when the children of the area walked to the local church, St Botolph’s Aldgate, which still stands around the corner from the college. Members of the College’s senior management team follow the procession as its makes it way from the College towards the local Church, St Botolph-without-Aldgate and then onto Sir John Cass’s Primary School nearby. Dignitaries attending the procession typically include the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Dean of Cass Business School, and the Assistant Commissioner of the City of London Police as well as executives from Sir John Cass and local school children. The procession is preceded by the Foundation Beadle, who carriers an impressive silver Mace, as well as volunteer militia of the London Ward of Portsoken (originally formed in 1798 to ward off Napoleonic invasion) in their extremely colourful eighteenth century army uniforms and muskets, all to the beat of a military drum. This important historical spectacle is enjoyed by all students and is an important reminder of the history of the building and the Foundation.

The future

There is little doubt that being in education is challenging and exciting. David Game College Group has witnessed a significant development in its mission and ambition in terms of what we can achieve in this wonderful building, replete with history and character. All departments – GCSE, A level, our University Foundation Programme and our rapidly expanding Higher Education Department – feel a new sense of urgency, pride and passion for what we do. As life continues after the disruption of the pandemic, we will continue to ensure that all students receive an exceptional academic and pastoral experience. We are also committed to continue building new courses and more support activities for our community at DGHE. We hope that you can become part of our success story and we welcome you in our building.