University of Strathclyde

Hugh Jones' Higher Education Postcard comes to us from Scotland this week.

Hugh Jones is a freelance HE consultant. You’ll find a daily #HigherEducationPostcard if you follow him on Twitter.

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Today’s #HigherEducationPostcard shows King Edward VII laying the foundation stone, on 14 May 1903, for the Glasgow Technical College.

This became, in time, the University of Strathclyde.

The origins of the university go back to 1796 and the establishment of the Andersonian Institute, partly funded by a bequest by John Anderson, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow.

Anderson was a radical pedagogue, believing that science should be taught by demonstration and experimentation, not simply by lectures and mathematics. An early teacher at the Andersonian – which admitted women on equal terms with men – was George Birkbeck, founder of the London Mechanics’ Institute, which became Birkbeck College.

The Andersonian Institute was for a while known as Anderson’s University – it is claimed that the fact that there was no legal basis for the use of university led to its reestablishment in 1887 as the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College.

In any event, this is the institution that was gaining a new building, as shown on the card. The Royal College Building is still at the heart of the university.

Strathclyde was awarded a Royal Charter and finally gained official university title in 1964, as the UK’s first technical university.

The card was sent to Miss Cotton in Natal, South Africa, on July 29th 1903 and reads:

This is a much clearer photo than the one which Mary has sent you. I think you will recognise His Majesty and the Queen who is standing just at the back of him. The day was very dull and wet. So that they are not [??], under the circumstances. What a nice house you have got, you all look so nice. I wouldn’t mind spending a month or so [???]. If there are any other photos of the Royal Procession to be had we will send them. Send me a P.C. now and again. Much love to you all, yours affectionately, Jessie”

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