Published on: Thursday, 19 January 2012
On January 16th, 1912, the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Cork, Alderman James Simcox, formally opened the Cork Municipal Technical Institute (CMTI) at Sharman Crawford Street, Cork.
Close to 800 students were enrolled in classes in the new building, for technical instruction in areas as diverse as botany & gardening, building construction & builders’ quantities, carpentry & joinery, chemistry & physics, domestic science (including cookery, laundry, dress making, millinery), electrical engineering, materia medica, mechanical engineering, plumbing, tailors’ cutting, typography, painting, and decorating & drawing.
The site, formerly home to Arnott’s Brewery, had been donated for this purpose by Mr A. F. Sharman Crawford , and Mr Arthur Hill was appointed as Architect. The contractor was Mr Samuel Hill, and the building was built for the princely sum of £800.
The Cork Examiner report of the official opening described the building as a “noteworthy addition to the public edifices in the city” while the attendance drawn from civic dignitaries and all walks of Cork’s commercial and industrial life was termed “very large and distinguished”. Few if any among that distinguished gathering could have predicted how influential that building would be over the next 100 years. Since 1912 it has contributed enormously to industrial, commercial and artistic development in Cork city and the wider region. It was a key centre for technical and technological education, and a noted centre nationally for the promotion of lifelong learning. It provided the model for the establishment of the Regional Technical Colleges, and was the forerunner of what is now Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). Industries such as the motor industry (now discontinued alas since the demise of Fords), the construction industry, the electronics industry and the pharmaceutical industry, were all supplied by graduates from the CMTI.
Other contributions throughout the last 100 years include the Diploma in Rural Science, a teacher training course for rural science teachers, many of whom went on to make great contributions to Irish society in later years.
Today the Sharman Crawford Street building is home to CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, which relocated to the site following the establishment of Cork Regional Technical College in Bishopstown (now named CIT). The educational legacy lives on through the contributions of new generations of fine art and ceramics graduates, and art teachers.
Throughout 2012, a series of events will be held to commemorate and celebrate 100 years of education at Sharman Crawford Street. The celebrations will commence officially on Friday January 20th at 7pm, with a special evening to remember the circumstances of the original opening, 100 years previously.