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A celebration of further education in Crewe

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Cheshire College – South & West has been presented with a civic award by Crewe Town Council in recognition of its commitment to providing education, training and skills development for the local community.

The award was presented to the college by for its outstanding contribution to further education in the town.

Principal and chief executive Jasbir Dhesi accepted the award on behalf of the college from the mayor of Crewe, Cllr Diane Yates, at a special event to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the college in Crewe.

Dhesi commented: “It is with great pride that I represent the college and I am delighted to accept the award on behalf of the governors, staff and learners who show outstanding dedication and commitment in their profession and studies.

“We are dedicated to providing young people and adults within the community with the opportunities to develop their education, skills and training to improve their career prospects and personal development.”

The event marked 175 years of further education at the college in Crewe and featured a fascinating display of its history on boards located around the room.

Cllr Yates commented: “The town council is thrilled to be celebrating an important landmark date with the college.

“Its staff and students alike are amazing and Crewe Town Council is honoured to be able to work so closely with you all. Long may this continue and here is to another 175 years of achievements to come.”

The origins of further education in Crewe can be traced back to 1843 when workers and their families were settling into their new homes in Crewe where the Grand Junction Railway Company had established its brand new workshops.

Many of the workers were from Edge Hill in Liverpool and the GJR directors thought a reading room should be provided as the men had been accustomed to using the Mechanics Institute in Liverpool.

A temporary assembly hall, schoolroom, newsroom and library were therefore built in Moss Square.

This came to be called Crewe’s Mechanics Institution and by 1868 there was a wide selection of classes including: reading, writing, arithmetic, algebra, mechanical drawing, singing and dancing, geography, history and science.

In 1897 the new Technical Institute and School of Art was opened on Hightown, which was the start of what we know today as Cheshire College – South & West (formerly South Cheshire College).

A handsome sixteen-room building, it was to become a serious rival to the Mechanics Institution.

Alongside science and engineering classes, there were art classes as well as commercial subjects such as typewriting, shorthand, accountancy and book keeping plus Women’s Institute classes.

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