Mechanics' institutes

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Mechanics' institutes

  1. 1.  http://flyaqis.museum.vic.gov.au/paimages/mm/000/000265.htm<br />
  2. 2. What is a mechanics’ institute?<br />A social library with the specific designation of being for mechanics and the upper echelon of the working class.<br />Required one to pay dues, but often employers covered the cost in one way or another<br />In the strict and early libraries, collected primarily engineering, physical philosophy, and chemistry.<br />Functioned as a venue for lectures on a variety of educational topics<br />
  3. 3. What is a mechanic? <br />Descendent of the artisan <br />Skilled labour<br />Often directly below the ranks of the middle class, and thus often nearly on the same footing as the factory bosses.<br />Boulton and Watt Engine, 1786<br />Created for the <br />Barclay & Perkins Brewery in <br />Southwark, London<br />http://www.nms.ac.uk/our_collections/highlights/boulton_and_watt_engine.aspx<br />
  4. 4. Setting the stage <br />Shift in labour needs from the end of the 18th and into the 19th century. <br />Recentralizing of populations into urban centres<br />Working poor and the stratification of the lower classes<br />Need for Mechanics’ Institutes<br />Where did they flourish?<br />Who were their early founders?<br />
  5. 5. George Birkbeck and the Glasgow Mechanics Institute<br />1776-1841<br />http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/EDbirkbeck.htm<br />
  6. 6. The early mechanics’ institutes<br />Manchester Mechanics’ Institute<br />http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Manchester_Mechanics_Institute_%281825%29.jpg<br />
  7. 7. Lecture series<br />
  8. 8. The rhetoric of improvement<br />http://www.institutelibrary.org/history.html<br />
  9. 9. The pinnacle of the movement<br />The Great Exhibition of 1851<br />http://www.dukemagazine.duke.edu/dukemag/issues/111206/depgal2.html<br />
  10. 10. The decline and fall <br />Pandering lectures and cramming in education in between vaudeville and other entertainment<br />Empire and Western expansion<br />Self-Reliance becoming more en vogue than self-help. <br />Lack of time, energy, space, desire.<br />Competing factors: Public library movement, paperback books, the pub. <br />
  11. 11. Mechanics’ Institutes today<br />The ever changing library <br />In New Haven, CT.<br />

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