Sydenham is a unique educational institution for the reason that it has been the first college offering commerce courses in India and also because it remained the sole institute to do so for a long time. As the adage goes that the origin of all things great lies in insignificant events, the history of this great institution too began, on October 22, 1913, in a small and borrowed premises that belonged to Elphinstone College. Initially the institution was christened as the Government College of Commerce. It acquired its present name, Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, in acknowledgement of the munificence of Lord Sydenham, the Governor of Bombay, towards the growth and development of this premier educational institution. Nevertheless the borrowed premises did not remain its permanent address. The college changed its location three times (from Elphinstone it moved to Khadi Bhandar and then shifted to J. J. School of Architecture) prior to shifting to the present building in the up-market area of Churchgate in 1955.
The college library is situated on the second floor of the building. It has a spacious hall that provides a quiet, serene environment for study. It has a collection of over fifty thousand classical and modern books. The college has three well equipped compute laboratories. In these labs the practical of various classes like S.Y.B.Com, T.Y.B.Com, B.M.S and B.Com in Banking & Insurance are conducted.
The College provides accommodation to its bonafide male students at the Government Colleges Hostel situated right behind the college building on C-Road, Churchgate. Here one hundred and thirty students from Sydenham College get accommodation every year. It has a common room, library, reading room, recreation room, sports hall, a canteen and mess. For girls the accommodation is available at Telang Memorial Hostel, C-Road, Churchgate, and Savitribai Phule Government Girls Hostel, Marine Drive, Charni Road. However, only limited number of female students gets accommodation here.