Although what is now the University of Chichester was granted degree-awarding powers only in 1999, it can trace its origins back to 1839, when William Otter, Bishop of Chichester, issued an appeal for diocesan "training seminaries".
After his death in 1840, a college for school masters was founded in his honour. A new purpose-built edifice, in a Tudor-Gothic style based on Oxford college architecture, opened in 1850. It included dormitories, classrooms, a principal's house and cloisters - where a coat of arms below an oriel window still depicts an otter devouring a snake.
From 1873, this was the site of a women's teacher training college (men were not admitted until 1957). During the Second World War, however, it was taken over by the Air Ministry and became the nerve centre controlling squadrons of fighter planes involved in the D-Day landings.
In 1977, Bishop Otter College merged with the Bognor Regis College of Education, which had been set up in 1946 to address an acute postwar shortage of teachers. The historic facilities were greatly enhanced in 2004 with the construction of a new students' union building and modish cafe-style bar.
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