North Glasgow College: A Beacon of Education and Regeneration

North Glasgow College: A Beacon of Education and Regeneration

Nestled in the heart of Springburn, Glasgow, North Glasgow College emerged from the remnants of industrial decline to become a symbol of educational excellence and urban revitalisation. Its story is one of transformation, from the annexe of a locomotive company to a cutting-edge institution of learning, culminating in the award-winning campus that stands proudly today.

The origins of North Glasgow College can be traced back to the tumultuous years of 1961 when financial woes befell the North British Locomotive Company. With the sale of the company's administration building on Flemington Street to Glasgow Corporation, the foundation was laid for what would eventually become a hub of technical education. Initially serving as an annexe of Stow College, it evolved into Springburn College of Engineering in 1965, reflecting its focus on nurturing the next generation of engineers amidst the industrial landscape of Glasgow.

 Springburn College in Flemington Street. The building was designed by James Miller and built in 1909, originally as the offices of the North British Locomotive Co. It was converted to a college of engineering in 1962-1965 and it is thought that this photograph was taken at about that time. It became North Glasgow College in 1991.

Evidence of the building's history can be found either side of the main entrance, where the figures of Speed in her chariot and with flying cloak, and Science seated on a globe holding dividers and a torch, are depicted in stone.


Through the decades, the college underwent various iterations, adapting to the changing needs of society. By 1981, it had shed its singular focus on engineering to become Springburn College, embracing a broader spectrum of disciplines. However, it wasn't until 1990, with its merger with Barmulloch College, that the institution truly came into its own as North Glasgow College, expanding its reach and impact within the community.

The defining moment arrived in early 2009 when North Glasgow College embarked on a bold new chapter in its history. Relocating to a purpose-built campus opposite the former headquarters of the North British Locomotive Company, the college signalled its commitment to innovation and progress. Designed by renowned architects, the new campus garnered acclaim, winning the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award for its visionary design.

The architectural marvel boasted sharp, clean lines and a bright, reflective facade that exuded modernity and purpose. Rising five stories high, it stood as a beacon of opportunity, inviting learners from all walks of life to partake in its offerings. The landscaped plaza, adorned with cherry blossom trees and benches, provided a welcoming space for students to gather and engage in social exchange, fostering a sense of community within the bustling urban landscape.

But North Glasgow College wasn't just a triumph of design; it was a testament to the power of education in driving societal change. The £20 million investment in the campus symbolised a commitment to the regeneration of North Glasgow, breathing new life into a once-declining area. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including a games hall, music rooms, and libraries, the college became a catalyst for empowerment, offering opportunities for personal and professional growth to the local populace.

Central to the college's mission was ensuring the safety and well-being of its students and staff. Architects and builders spared no expense in sourcing high-quality materials, such as Leaderflush Shapland's performance doorsets, to fortify the campus against the ravages of fire and noise. The meticulous attention to detail underscored the institution's unwavering dedication to providing a secure and conducive learning environment for all.

As North Glasgow College continued to flourish, it maintained a shining example of the transformative power of education and the enduring spirit of resilience. From its humble beginnings as an annex to a locomotive company to its current status as a sector exemplar for good design, the college stands as a testament to the boundless potential of human endeavour in overcoming adversity and building a brighter future for generations to come.