British adult and continuing education has been provided by LEA(Local Educational Authority), WEA(Workers' Educational Association) and UAE(University Adult Education). In other words, the Responsible Bodies such as WEA, UAE departments and so on have offered liberal education programs and courses for adult working classes with the government's fund. And in this regard, British adult and continuing education has been distinguished from that of other countries. But there has been always a severe and delicate contradiction between state intervention and traditional voluntarism. Such a feature of British adult and continuing education began to be forcibly changed since the 1980s. The post-Thatcherite DES(Department of Education and Science) has planned to reduce the power of LEA, to cut budget for adult education, and to link adult education more effectively to the needs of the economy. Under these controvercial changes, the British tradition of liberal adult education, especially that of long-term residential colleges is in danger of collapsing. There are ten residential colleges in the United Kingdom. One of the oldest colleges is Ruskin College, established in 1899. This paper deals with Ruskin College as a typical residential college, whose aim is to make clear its historical roles and prospects. The first chapter briefly describes Ruskin College's history. The second chapter introduces the educational content and the administration of Ruskin College. In the final chapter, the author presents the analysis regarding the historical roles and prospects of Ruskin College.