Records of Glasgow Mechanics' Institution / College of Science and Arts

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minute books; Financial records; Letter books; Annual reports; Memoranda

Administrative / Biographical History

The Glasgow Mechanics' Institution was formed in July 1823, as the result of a dispute between members of the Mechanics' Class and the Managers of Anderson's Institution over Dr Andrew Ure's lectures, and access to the Library and Museum. George Birkbeck encouraged this schism and agreed to be patron of the new Institution, which was the first Mechanics' Institution founded in Great Britain. A Mechanics' Class continued to be offered at Anderson's Institution after 1823 and the members of the Class continued in dispute with Dr Ure over his lectures.

After a period in temporary premises in Shuttle Street, the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution moved in 1831 to North Hanover Street to a building provided by John Leadbetter, a Glasgow businessman and former student of Anderson's Institution. In 1862 the Mechanics' Institution moved to a new building at 38 Bath Street.

The opening lecture was delivered on 5 November 1823 by John Steele, Lecturer in Chemistry and Mechanics, and in later years the Institution offered courses in science and mechanics, architectural and mechanical drawing, mechanical and electrical engineering and naval architecture. In 1881 the Mechanics' Institution changed its name to the College of Science and Arts and in 1887, with Anderson's College and other institutions, it became part of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College.

Information on the 19th century period can be found in the published histories: 'John Anderson and the College he founded', by James Muir (1950) and 'John Anderson's legacy', by John Butt (1996).

Conditions Governing Access


Other Finding Aids

Typed list to item level

Archivist's Note

Archivist's note: Description prepared by Margaret Harrison, Web version by Graham S. Holton, Jordanhill LibraryRules or Conventions: Description based on Scottish Archive Network guidelines, based on ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000). and Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997)Date of descriptions: June 2007

Related Material

GB 249 OB Anderson's Institution / Anderson's University / Anderson's College records