This article revisits the three decades following the end of World War Two - a time when, following the 1944 Education Act, local education authorities (LEAs) were the key agencies responsible for running the education system across England. For the first time, there was a statutory requirement for LEAs to secure adequate facilities for further education (FE), and the post-war era is generally remembered as a period when they dominated FE. Yet this is not the full story of FE in post-war England: it is often forgotten that a significant amount of FE existed outside the municipal framework. This article returns to the post-war decades and begins to uncover the largely forgotten history of FE outside local authority control at that time. It highlights how voluntary and private organisations offered various forms of post-compulsory education outside the municipal framework, and how they contributed to the eclectic and diverse nature of FE across England. This, I argue, not only reflected the expedience, compromise and inertia that characterised FE in post-war England but was rooted in a capture of educational policy more generally by a privileged elite intent on maintaining a social order characterised by social, economic and cultural divisions.