Our History

The history of Portland College

Our History

The college was founded by Winifred, Duchess of Portland (1863-1954) who had nursed injured veterans in her home at Welbeck Abbey during the First World War and was responsible for many acts of charity connected with miners’ welfare in the area.

Her experiences in supporting injured veterans and miners led to the creation of Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital in 1929.

Working with the hospital’s chief, a renowned surgeon Alan Malkin, the Duchess developed a plan to open a training college that could complete the work of rehabilitation – giving injured working men a new trade that would make them economically independent once more.

The Second World War and the 1944 Disabled Persons (Employment) Act gave further impetus to this project and by 1946 a Committee was established to develop the plan and raise the necessary money. With a gift of land from the Duke of Portland rapid progress was made and on the 29th June 1949 Princess Elizabeth laid the foundation stone of the College which opened for business on 24th July 1950. In 1974 Her Majesty the Queen became our Patron, cementing her association with the College throughout its life.

The original mission still inspires the core work today;

“To maximise the ability and minimise the effects of disability of students through the provision of opportunities for learning in an inclusive specialist residential environment giving individuals empowerment through employment, independence and integration.”

Thank you so much for taking such great care of our daughter this last year. We were able to relax knowing she was with people who care about her

Parent of a learner