Project information

Morley College Renaissance: the Capital Appeal

In its 125th year, Morley College remains true to its founding ideals, providing highest quality lifelong learning. Morley is also a centre of artistic excellence. The Renaissance is a major capital project that will ensure the continuation of the College as a stronghold of education and creativity.

March 2015 - August 2017

Charity information: Morley College

Morley College logo
  • Need


    Morley flourishes as a centre of learning, creativity and innovation. But we are constrained by our buildings. Morley is a charming hotch-potch with buildings from four eras over the past 125 years. But these need updating and are impractical for public events, and we need to increase space in line with our increasing student numbers. Crucially, not all areas of the College are fully accessible to all.


    A major programme of building and refurbishment will increase the space available for teaching, rehearsal and performance, while improving existing space. There are three main phases: (I) A new entrance courtyard, (II) improved rehearsal and performance spaces with a prestigious new gallery linking up the spaces, (III) extended and improved gallery space and visual arts studios. All areas of the College will be made full accessible to all students, staff and visitors.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide a single main, fully accessible entrance and raise the visual profile of the College


    » Create a new, fully accessible entrance courtyard to link all areas of the College and provide a welcome to students, staff and visitors.
    » Provide improved reception, help-desk and learning support facilities as well as spaces for socialising and display of student work.
    » Improved accessibility and increased space and facilities for Morley's library, archive and research centre.
    » Upgrade the visual profile of the College in line with Morley's status as a highly-valued local resource, signalling our openness and approachability.

    What success will look like

    An enhanced sense of community centred on this shared area. Full accessibility including wheelchairs. Increased engagement with the local community. Increased student numbers.

    Aim 2

    Extend, modernise and make fully accessible our spaces for rehearsal and performance.


    » Create a prestigious new Gallery linking up our rehearsal and performance areas and forming a foyer area for audiences and space for art displays.
    » Improve the acoustics and technical equipment in our main concert hall. Introduce more flexible seating / staging possibilities. Improve accessibility
    » Improve and make accessibly our studio theatre and associated back-stage / green room facilities. Improved acoustics and technical spec.
    » Increase space for rehearsal and teaching, sound-proofing and spaces for tutorials or private study / practice.

    What success will look like

    Performance spaces more used (from 50% of available time to 85%). Wider range of performance styles enabled, More productions mounted. Increased audiences. Full accessibility.

    Aim 3

    Extend and improve Morley's visual arts buildings. Link these areas to main College buildings.


    » Improve Morley Gallery, opening up basement as additional exhibition space, improving accessibility and external visual profile.
    » Improve circulation between Gallery and other visual arts areas. Modernise visual arts studios and improve accessibility.
    » Build a covered walkway across the road between the visual arts areas and the main site. Bridging Lambeth and Southwark (Morley is on the boundary).

    What success will look like

    A wider range of exhibitions enabled due to larger space availability. Greater accessibility. Upgraded equipment and improved facilities for visual arts students.

  • Impact


    In line with demand, Morley is committed to increasing student numbers (by 20% over the next five years), to enable more people to access the benefits of lifelong learning. The building project will enable this increase and ensure that full accessibility is provided. At the same time, the project will help Morley recapture the prestige of its former years as a centre for artistic endeavour of national, even international significance. More students, more exhibitions, more performances.


    Because this is part of a major building scheme affecting the whole College, the planning has been extremely complicated. There is a risk that due to lack of funds, or other unforseen circumstances, work on any area might be delayed and have a "knock on" effect elsewhere. To minimise this, when seeking tenders, we have made detailed contingency planning a central part of the brief to ensure that problems besetting any one area will be minimal and will not jeopardise other areas.


    We will provide beginning, interim and final reports on the building work. Following the building we will report annually with information on student numbers, new productions, concerts, exhibitions etc taking place. Donors will also have the opportunity to visit the site to see improvements.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,833,000 Entrance Courtyard Creating the new Entrance courtyard and frontage to the main building
      £5,265,000 Performance phase Improve performance and rehearsal space, link areas with new gallery.
      £2,902,000 Art gallery and studios Extend, enhance and improve access to Gallery and visual arts studios
  • Background


    Morley is open to all. In particular we serve our local communties in Southwark and Lambeth where the majority of our students live and work, but we also have students from other London boroughs and further afield.


    As mentioned above, Morley serves communities in South London, particularly in Southwark and Lambeth. We are committed to providing access to education to all. We provide access to higher education courses which enable hundreds of disadvantaged young people to attain a diploma and go on to successful study at university. Morley also enhances the cultural life of our communities with its innovative and inclusive arts and performance activities.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Morley College has been at the forefront of adult education, supporting disadvantaged communities, for 125 years. Morley remains committed to that vision, and has the expertise and resources to provide the very best in lifelong learning to increasing numbers of students.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Ela Piotrowska

    Principal - Ela will spearhead the project, leading on fundraising, partnerships and ensuring the whole project is coordinated according to our vision

    Nick Rampley

    Vice-Principal - Nick will oversee the financial and logistical elements of the building project.

    Steve Burr

    Black Architecture - Steve and his team have worked with us to provide a scheme that us responsive to our needs. He will manage the building elements.