The history of the University of the West of England can be traced back to the Merchant Entrepreneur Sailing School established in 1595.
In 1894, the school became the Technical Institute for Business Entrepreneurs. The University of Bristol was formed just a few years later, leaving UWE Bristol on the basis of the university.  The college is partly responsible for the Bristol College of Science and Technology (BCST) established in 1960, which later obtained a royal charter and established the University of Bath in 1965.
The Institute of Technology became the Bristol Institute of Technology in 1970; the main campus was Ashley Down at the time, and it is now the campus of Bristol City College.
Bower Ashton Studios was established in 1969, formerly known as the West of England College of Art, and its predecessor is the Art School of the Royal West of England on Queen’s Road in Bristol. The St. Matthias website (no longer owned by the school) was founded in the Victorian era as a teacher training college. These campuses as well as the campuses of Redland, Ashley Downer, Unity Street and Francis became part of the Bristol Institute of Technology around 1976.