Mechanics' Institutes — sometimes branded as Technical Institutes — were educational establishments typically formed to provide education to working adults, often in technical subjects.
Although most institutes made use of existing meeting rooms or school rooms to provide their evening classes, a few were able to erect their own dedicated building, often with the support of a local benefactor. In many cases, the establishments were financially supported by local industrialists on the basis that they would benefit from an educated workforce.
Most establishments also provided a small library with book and journals, which students could usually borrow, and also a reading room stocked with a selection of recent newspapers. Members of the public were often able to make use of the library or reading room on payment of a regular free.
The majority of establishments were initially for working men only, although a small number later provided separate lessons for women. The founding of the Huddersfield Female Educational Institute in 1846 increased pressure on the existing institutes to provide classes for women.
A feature of many of the institutes was a season of lectures.
Many of the dedicated buildings still exist and some continue to be used for education, as libraries, or as community buildings.
Local Mechanics' Institutes
According to Hudson's The History of Adult Education (published 1851), the following were in existence in the Huddersfield area:
The following were listed in The Literary and Educational Year Book for 1859:
Notes and References
- The Huddersfield Young Men's Mental Improvement Society was formed as a mutual improvement society.