Record

CodeNA7369
Dates1835-
Person NameBrechin Mechanics' Literary and Scientific Institution; 1835-
ActivityThe Brechin Mechanics' Literary and Scientific Institution began in 1835. It was funded by subscription, and Operatives paid 2s 6d annually, while Ladies, Gentlemen, Master Tradesmen and Others paid 5s annually. The building was designed to house the burgh, parish and grammar schools of Brechin. It was built in a distinctive mock-tudor style by John Henderson of Edinburgh, a Brechin native. The foundation stone was laid on 28 June 1838. The building has since gone on to perform a number of other functions such as Guildry meeting room, art gallery, war time billet for Polish soldiers and a reading room amongst other things.The idea of Mechanics Institutes first emerged in Scotland at the end of the 18th century. At the University of Glasgow, two professors, John Anderson and George Birkbeck began offering free lectures to the working people of Glasgow. When Anderson died in 1796 he left all the money he had to found Anderson's College (now Strathclyde University). Birkbeck worked as professor of natural philosophy at the college but eventually moved to London where he founded the London Mechanics Institute. The publication of Observations Upon the Education of the People (1825) by Henry Brougham helped to popularize these institutions. These self-improving working men's adult education colleges were often funded by wealthy local industrialists.
Corporate NameBrechin Mechanics' Literary and Scientific Institution
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