Central St Martins College of Art

Central Saint Martins
College of Arts and Design
The King's Cross campus of Central Saint Martins.
  • 1854 - Saint Martin's School of Art
  • 1896 - Central School of Art and Design
  • 1910 - Byam Shaw School of Art
  • 1963 - Drama Centre London
  • 1989 - Central Saint Martins
Head Jeremy Till [1]

London, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51°32′8″N 0°7′30″W / 51.53556°N 0.12500°W / 51.53556; -0.12500

Campus Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, King's Cross, London, N1C 4AA
Affiliations University of the Arts London

Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, often abbreviated to Central Saint Martins or CSM, is a public tertiary art school in London, England. It is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London.[2][3] It offers full-time courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and a variety of short and summer courses.


Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design was formed in 1989 from the merger of the Central School of Art and Design, founded in 1896, and Saint Martins School of Art, founded in 1854.[4] Since 1986 both schools had been part of the London Institute, formed by the Inner London Education Authority to bring together seven London art, design, fashion and media schools.[5] The London Institute became a legal entity in 1988, could award taught degrees from 1993, was granted University status in 2003 and was renamed University of the Arts London in 2004.[5] The Drama Centre London, founded in 1963, joined Central Saint Martins in 1999 as an integral school, maintaining its name and teaching approaches. The Byam Shaw School of Art, founded in 1910, was merged into Central Saint Martins in 2003.

Central School of Art and Design

The Central School of Art and Design was established as the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1896 by the London County Council. It grew directly from the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris and John Ruskin. The first principal, from 1896 until 1911, was William Richard Lethaby; a blue plaque in his memory was erected in 1957.[6] The school was at first housed in Morley Hall, rented from the Regent Street Polytechnic. In 1908 it moved to purpose-built premises in Southampton Row, in the London Borough of Camden.[7] In the same year the Royal Female School of Art, established in 1842, was merged into the school.[8] Central became part of the London Institute in 1986, and merged with Saint Martin's in 1989.[9]

Saint Martin's School of Art

Main article: Saint Martin's School of Art

Saint Martin's School of Art was established in 1854 by Henry Mackenzie, vicar of the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. It became independent from the church in 1859.[7] Frank Martin became head of the sculpture department in 1952; he brought in young sculptors and recent graduates of the department as teachers. Among these, Anthony Caro was particularly influential. The group around him came to be known as the New Generation of British sculptors and the sculpture department of Saint Martin's became, in the words of Tim Scott: "the most famous in the art world".[10] Saint Martin's became part of the London Institute in 1986, and merged with Central in 1989.

Drama Centre London

Main article: Drama Centre London

The Drama Centre London was founded in 1963 by a breakaway group of teachers and students from the Central School of Speech and Drama, led by John Blatchley, Yat Malmgren and Christopher Fettes. The school is a member of Drama UK[11] and its undergraduate Acting course is accredited by Drama UK.[12] The Drama Centre London merged with Central Saint Martins in 1999.

Byam Shaw School of Art

The Byam Shaw School of Art was founded by the artists John Byam Shaw and Rex Vicat Cole in 1910 as a school of drawing and painting. It was originally located in Campden Street, Kensington, and moved to larger premises in Archway in 1990. It was subsumed by Central Saint Martins in 2003.

Awards and assessment

In 1998 the London Institute received a Queen's Anniversary Prize for the "massive contribution" of Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design to the growth of the fashion industry in Britain.[13] Central Saint Martins became a Skillset Media Academy in 2007.

CSM did not receive independent assessment in the 2014 Complete University Guide league tables, but was ranked as part of the University of the Arts London, which received an overall ranking of 67 out of 124 institutions, down from 48th place in 2013 and 59th in the 2012 ranking. UAL was ranked 102nd out of 124 for graduate prospects, and 123rd out of 124 for student satisfaction with teaching.[14][15]

Schools and location

Central Saint Martins consists of four schools: the School of Art; the School of Fashion & Textiles; the School of Communication, Product and Spatial Design; and the Drama Centre London.[16]

Central Saint Martins moved to a purpose built complex near Granary Square at King's Cross in 2011. The move created one college site unifying all the schools at one location except for the former Byam Shaw building in Archway, where the first year BA Fine Arts and MA Fine Arts are based, and the Farringdon campus where foundation students are based.

Lethaby Gallery

At King’s Cross, Central Saint Martins houses the Lethaby Gallery, which exhibits historical and contemporary collections. Established in 1896, the gallery displays a wide variety of artefacts including books, prints and original works of art and design. The College collects contemporary work by its staff, students and alumni. The College also does research, produces publications and curates exhibitions based on the collections it holds.

Platform Theatre

The Platform Theatre is part of the Central Saint Martins complex at King's Cross. It is a receiving and producing theatre, hosting professional companies as well as student work from Drama Centre London and elsewhere in the University of the Arts. The theatre aims to present all aspects of the performing arts within a flexible space.


Central Saint Martins is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London, which also includes Camberwell College of Arts, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art. Central Saint Martins has exchange links with the Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, with the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, and with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Notable alumni

Former students and staff of Central Saint Martins include:



Fashion and textile designers

Musicians & singers



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