In a restructuring of technical education in Glasgow in 1887, Anderson's College, the Young Chair of Technical Chemistry, the College of Science and Arts, Atkinson's and Allan Glen's Institutions merged to form the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, or 'The Tech' as it was affectionately known. Anderson's College Medical School became a separate institution at this time. The college initially occupied the existing buildings of its constituent institutions but the expansion in student numbers, and the desirability of centralising on one site, required a new building. The building was designed by David Barclay and completed in several phases. The foundation stone of the Royal College Building, adjoining the Anderson's College site, was laid by His Majesty King Edward VII on 14 May 1903.
In line with John Anderson's vision of his institution as a place of useful learning, the college offered a wide range of day and evening courses to support the needs of industry in the West of Scotland. Students studied for certificates and diplomas in all branches of engineering (civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical, metallurgy and mining), together with chemistry, natural philosophy, mathematics, pharmacy, agriculture, architecture, art and design and music. The Associateship of the College was a highly respected, degree equivalent qualification, and one of the most famous alumni was John Logie Baird, pioneer of television. The Incorporated Weaving, Dyeing and Printing College of Glasgow became part of the college in 1908 and the Department of Agriculture moved in 1899 to become part of the West of Scotland Agricultural College. Architecture courses were offered jointly with Glasgow School of Art, with the college teaching the practical aspects of design and building and the School of Art concentrating on the aesthetic side. Affiliation arrangements were entered with Glasgow University in 1913. Allan Glen's Institution transferred to the control of the School Board of Glasgow in 1912.
By gracious invitation of His Majesty King George V, the college was renamed the Royal Technical College in 1912. Shortly after his accession to the throne, the King had embarked upon a tour of the countries in the British Empire and was greatly impressed by the many Scottish engineers whom he met, building roads, railways, and dams and establishing hydro-electric schemes in far flung countries. Most of them seemed to have trained at the Glasgow College.
The Royal Technical College was recognised as a university college and received grants from the University Grants Committee from 1919 onwards. The college was renamed the Royal College of Science and Technology in 1956. In 1964, it merged with the Scottish College of Commerce and received its own royal charter as the University of Strathclyde.