The South-Western Polytechnic was founded in 1895 and renamed Chelsea Polytechnic in 1922 and was granted a charter as Chelsea College in 1972. Chelsea College merged with King’s College in 1985.
The Polytechnic was set up to provide a practical education to the less well off, including domestic lessons and classes in cookery under the auspices of the School of Home Training and Domestic Science.
The department came into its own during World War One when evening classes were made available in invalid cookery together with lectures in first aid and home nursing.
The classes proved popular, particularly with women in training to become Red Cross nurses. In 1916 the department also held a food economy exhibition with an address from the Ministry of Food.
The specialist expertise of the Department was similarly utilised during the Second World War with the provision of short courses in cookery for WRENS and members of the ATS and WAAF.
Cookery students during the war period were given specialist instruction in canteen cookery and organisation, and other aspects of domestic studies associated with the necessities of war-time, such as economic cookery.
The Department also worked in conjunction with the London County Council and the Ministry of Food to run a Food Education Campaign within the Borough.