A vibrant history
De Montfort University (DMU) is a dynamic institution with a long and vibrant history of improving people’s lives through education.
Originally founded as Leicester School of Art in 1869, the university has evolved through many incarnations and is formed from a diverse range of specialist organisations.
Named after Simon De Montfort, a crucial figure in medieval history who established the first parliament in 1265, DMU was awarded university status in 1992.
Our reputation for quality and distinctiveness in teaching and research is a direct result of our heritage.
Many modern DMU courses have their roots in the late 19th century and early 20th century, when the school of art and Leicester School of Technology began providing training for local industries.
Art, pharmacy, corsetry, footwear, physical sciences and architecture were taught at the schools in the late 1800s and are still in evidence at DMU today, either as courses in their own right, or as integral components of more modern courses. For example, chemistry is a vital part of our BSc Forensic Science degree.
In 1934, DMU’s engineering teaching received a prestigious accolade when London University declared it as suitable for preparing students for an external degree in the subject. Today, many of our engineering courses are accredited by professional bodies.
A commitment to ensuring teaching kept pace with the changing needs of businesses meant that computing courses were introduced in the 1960s; DMU’s computing degrees are still highly valued by industry to this day.
The university has grown and evolved over the years, but it is still dedicated to providing inspirational teaching to students and it has a significant impact on the world around it: we contribute £389 million a year to the UK economy according to a recent report and our research is highly regarded.
Find out more about DMU's history.
Learn about the rich history of our campus.
1870 – After being founded in 1869, Leicester School of Art opens in Pocklington’s Walk.
1882 – Leicester Technical School starts classes in the Ellis Wing of Wyggeston Boys School with the Reverend James Went as headmaster.
1886 – Pharmacy classes begin.
1897 – The schools are brought together in new, purpose-built premises, now known as DMU’s Hawthorn Building.
1909 – The building is extended.
1927 – A new wing is added to the building.
1946 – The university buys three houses which serve as the first student accommodation.
1966 – The Fletcher Building is opened by the Queen Mother.
1969 – The institution becomes Leicester Polytechnic.
1989 – Leicester Polytechnic becomes a corporation.
1992 – The polytechnic is awarded university status and is renamed De Montfort University. DMU's Milton Keynes Campus opens.
1994 – DMU merges with Lincolnshire College of Art and Design, Lincolnshire College of Agriculture and Horticulture, and Bedford College of Higher Education.
1995 – DMU merges with Charles Frears College of Nursing and Midwifery.
2001 – Lincoln Campus is transferred to the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside to enable the creation of the University of Lincoln.
2003 – The Campus Centre opens. DMU withdraws from the Milton Keynes Campus.
2006 – Bedford Campus merges with the University of Luton to become the University of Bedfordshire.
2010 – The Hugh Aston Building opens.