February 1855: Rational Amusement – The Need for a Polytechnic Institution in Glasgow

An article on page 349 of The Christian Herald (page five in The British Newspaper Archive), on Saturday the 24th of

February, 1855, reads:




IT has been often said, and justly, that if you draw parties from vicious and unprofitable pursuits, amusements, and

indulgences, you ought to provide something of an unexceptionable character, which might be within their reach, and

even pressed upon their regard. We have in many cases, and for many years, felt the force of this, and have never been

indifferent to it; but the difficulties to be overcome are often great. Something has been done in Glasgow to supply the

desideratum, in cheap lectures and cheap music, cheap admission to botanic gardens, to museums, panoramas,

cosmoramas, cheap excursions, &c. But there is still a great and wide-felt want; and that is, some great central and

permanent institution, supplying objects of real interest and instruction, along with manufacturing processes, to which

might be easily added amusements of great physical advantage, fitted to minister to pleasure at the same time, and all in

harmony with good taste. The Polytechnic Institution of London is said to meet these claims; and we are glad to learn from

the Scottish Guardian that such an institution is contemplated here, in a central situation, where property can be had at an

easy rate. Several public-spirited citizens have already taken the initiative; and after a little public discussion, to awaken a

general interest, it is hoped that a practical effort may he made. Money, we trust, will not be wanting; and a city whose

inhabitants are so extensively engaged in various manufactures could easily supply models, and machinery in operation; and

perhaps there could be arrangements made to have particular objects of real interest transferred from London for temporary

use. It is believed that the masses of our toiling population might be greatly elevated in their tastes and habits by such an

institution. We believe that men of wise heads, energetic hands, and generous hearts are looking into this matter with patriotic

and philanthropic feelings and regards. We shall watch over it, and report progress; in the meantime, let it be thought of, and

let there be an exchange of sentiments on the subject.”



The British Newspaper Archive.



George Fairfull-Smith, July 2023.