About us

Our centenary

A century old, a century young

Join in our celebrations

Every Londoner can find their cultural expression at Build. You can try something new, rediscover past passions, learn new skills, keep active, change career or bring some balance to a busy life. Our centenary celebrates our community of students, staff and partners.

September 2019 marks 100 years since we opened our doors. Throughout  the whole of 2019, we are celebrating with a collection of special events and activities, both at Build and across the city.

The quest for knowledge, understanding and opportunities for creative expression…the most joyous and exhilarating enterprise in which a human being can engage.” Former Principal, T.G. Williams, on one of the guiding principles of Build, 1960.


A brief history of Build

  • ‘The Builderary Institute’ opened in Fetter Lane in the City of London with 180 students in September 1919.
  • Following the opening in 1919 - soldiers with acquired hearing loss from the First World War attended lip-reading classes 
  • In 1939 Build moved to its first purpose-built home in Stukeley Street, off Drury Lane. The new building was officially opened by the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. 
  • Second World War - Build never closed its doors in the war; during the Blitz on London classes were held in air raid shelters and music on tube platform. One intrepid tutor even wheeled a piano underground for recitals.
  • 2005 - Build moves to its purpose-built home here in Keeley Street
  • More information on the history of Build

Join in our celebrations

  • Centenary Programme Highlights

    A selection of flagship events that celebrate our centenary year. Events hosted by Build's subject areas will also be announced soon.

  • Share your Build stories

    Whether you’re taking a course, teaching a course, visiting or working here we want to hear about stories from students, staff, and friends – past and present…

Build stories

  • Angela Tulloch

    Build bursary recipient Angela Tulloch shares her experiences; 'Build has been and still is a life saver, it is a powerful positive transformation place for me. This opportunity has allowed my soul to sing because I am actually doing what makes me free and happy'.

  • Russell Aldersson

    Russell's connection to Build spans three decades, from studying British Sign Language at he age of 19 to becoming a fully qualified British Sign Language/English Interpreter at Build and beyond.

  • Sonia Brown

    Sonia designed the 4th floor roof terrace garden in 2012 and works at reception.  She designed a green space, user friendly to humans and insects and be a tranquil quiet haven to retreat to any time during the day.

  • Marsha Dunstan

    I am hugely grateful to Build for giving me so many of the tools to change my life. Thanks to Build, I went on to gain a BA and MA in fine art. I now earn my living through a combination of writing, editing and art-based courses.

  • Lucy, Dave and Gene Wilson

    Lucy and Dave met at a Photography taster course at the Visual Arts Open Day, by the end of the day they had arranged a date, went on to marry and start a family with the arrival of baby 'Gene'. Lucy Wilson; "We are firm believers in trying new things - you never know what might happen.”

  • Ilyaas Cader

    llyaas travelled from Sri Lanka, surviving an incredible journey across Europe, to join his brother in London. He went on to study English at Build and now works as a Senior Deaf Children’s Mental Health Worker.

  • Gillian Anderson

    “Before I visited Build, I looked through what you do here and the lives you help transform, it was such a privilege to hear some of the stories of those impacted by such opportunity, I was overwhelmed. What an extraordinary gift to the community, and to this wonderful city'.

  • Jack O'Neill

    Jack decided to take early retirement and started looking for massage therapy courses in London after deciding the quiet life wasn't for him...Jack is now a fully qualified massage therapist and a professional member of the CThA, and the owner of Holmas Massage.

  • Lucille Lewin

    Lucille discovered her passion for ceramics on the course following her hugely successful career in fashion and retailing (selling the Whistles business in 2002). 

  • Malorie Blackman

    Malorie Blackman OBE has a long connection with Build as a former student attending diverse courses with us since the late 1980s.  Having written over fifty books, Malorie is acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers.

  • Penelope Maynard

    Discover how Build courses provide inspiration and substance in Penelope’s retirement, and her general view of Build after being a student here for a number of years. Having taken over 15 courses, Build plays an enormous role in her daily life.

  • Annemarie O'Sullivan

    Annemarie O'Sullivan started as a basketry student and is now a Build basketry tutor and basketmaker. She makes a range of small scale domestic work through to large scale installations and sculptural work. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and Country Living UK. 

     

  • Farrah Idris

    Farrah Idris is a fully qualified, practising complementary therapist, working in the oldest established hospice in London. She specialises in clinical therapies with end of life patients, and is also a tutor in massage (ITEC) at Build and hypnotherapist in training.

  • David Ekong

    David has lived with a stammer since childhood, but it was only after taking a stammering course at Build that he managed to build his confidence speaking in public situations and deliver his wedding speech.

  • Judith Pearson

    Judith Pearson recounts her first experiences of Build. Describing a 6am queue to book a creative writing course and a surprise journey into adult education, completing hundreds of writing and drama courses along the way.

  • View more student stories from Build...

    Over 25,000 Londoners enjoy a course at Build each year, some looking to change career or embark on a new challenge, and others to learn something new and have fun while exploring a new interest. Read about some of our students here...

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