The College of West Anglia

History of CWA

The College of West Anglia was founded in King’s Lynn in 1893 as the King’s Lynn Technical School, with a stone commemorating its opening being placed on 30th June 1893 (the stone was later relocated to the CWA King’s Lynn campus, where it can be seen outside of the front block). In 1973 it was renamed the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology, commonly abbreviated to ‘Norcat’ and known to local residents of the town as ‘the tech’.

Norcat merged with the Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture & Horticulture in 1998, which added land-based provision in Cambridgeshire. The revised institution became known as the College of West Anglia post-merger.

In April 2006, a further merger took place as Isle College in Wisbech was added to become the third College of West Anglia campus. View an early promotional video of Isle College in 1989 here.

In 2009, building work commenced on all three campuses to improve facilities for students, with over £35million being spent to carry out work including the development of two new technology centres at the King’s Lynn and Wisbech campuses, which both opened in 2012 and a bespoke higher education centre at Cambridge campus.

In 2013, our sports department relocated to bespoke teaching facilities at Alive Lynnsport, opening our sports campus in King’s Lynn.

The ‘tower block’ in King’s Lynn, one of the tallest buildings in West Norfolk, underwent a complete refurbishment and reopened to students in September 2013. £5.5million was also invested in redevelopments at our Wisbech campus in 2015 to create a new teaching centre with state-of-the-art facilities, new main entrance, reception, restaurant, social areas and learning resource centre. This was followed by the unveiling of our new creative studios at the King’s Lynn campus, boasting industry-standard facilities for art and design, performing arts, media and music, including recording studios, performance and rehearsal spaces, editing suites and our very own Springboard TV.

A bespoke higher education centre for our university level courses opened at our King’s Lynn campus in September 2016, as part of the University Centre West Anglia provision, funded by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership for Norfolk and Suffolk.