Painting and Decorating at GSA

Painting and Decorating was taught at Guildford School of Art since 1934. From 1945 Painting apprentices started to attend day release classes. By the 1960s there were around 60 Painting apprentices, courses were well-attended and absenteeism was low. Apprentices for signwriting, transport and aircraft firms also attended day classes.

The department was well equipped with mechanical appliances, including orbital and disc sanders, caulking gun, electric paint strippers, gas torches and several types of spray plant. A range of materials were also available, allowing students to evaluate their different merits.

Members of the department wrote the first textbooks on Craft Science for Painters and Commercial Painting and Mechanical Appliances.


As with some of the other departments offering vocational courses, evening classes were held, to meet the needs of the more advanced apprentices and journeymen who wished to improve their knowledge and technique. Some students sat City and Guilds examinations, with 9 passes in 1964, which was deemed favourable in comparison to Schools of similar size. These included the Motor Body Finishing Examination.

Four classes were offered in connection with Painting and Decorating; trade classes for apprentices on day release to qualify for the Craft Certification of the City and Guilds of London Institute, Motor Body Finishing for apprentices and improvers of the trade, full-time classes for students studying Interior Decoration and sitting examinations of the Incorporated Institute of British Decorators and Interior Designers and part-time classes for householders and others wishing to learn about the tools, types of materials and techniques used in house decorating.

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