In 1851, the Royal Commission was put in charge of appropriately spending the large profit made by the Great Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace that year. In order to boost industrial education and the impact of science and art, the three museums at South Kensington, RSM, RCS, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Colleges of Art and Music were built.
The City & Guilds of London Institute was set up in 1878 to establish a national standard for technical education and in 1884, after talks with the Royal Commission, they opened the Central Technical College on Exhibition Road. Today, the City & Guilds of London Institute remains an industrial examination and accreditation body.
Under the Royal Charter of Edward VII, RCS and RSM merged to create Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1907. Three years later, the Central Technical College (which had changed its name to City & Guilds College by then) joined Imperial too.
The City & Guilds College and its union (us!) are pretty much the same as we were in 1910, and have gathered up traditions and mascots on the way.