University of Huddersfield

University of Huddersfield 175th Anniversary

To mark the 175th Anniversary of the Young Men’s Mental Improvement Society, a predecessor institution, the University of Huddersfield has organised a series of celebratory events, a lot of them around the creativity and industry in Huddersfield

The University has created a special 175 anniversary website that includes a timeline that traces the story of the institution from 1841 to the present day. It is heavily-illustrated and includes mini-essays on important developments and key people in the story. It also features news and events and a greetings map which staff, students and alumni can pin their details to wherever they are in the world.

175 timeline

It began in the 1840s, when a small group of ambitious young men met in Huddersfield, aiming to broaden their minds. Their project has developed into an award-winning university with an international profile.

The University of Huddersfield is directly descended from an educational initiative of 1841 and 175 anniversary now it is inviting its students, staff, alumni and the wider public to celebrate 175 years of progress. There will be a concert, a series of special lectures and the interactive website featuring a timeline.

The month of May 1841 saw the foundation of a Young Men’s Mental Improvement Society in Huddersfield (pictured left). Its main founder was the philanthropic German-born industrialist Frederic Schwann (pictured right), who had relocated to Huddersfield to take over a family business. There were just 30 students to begin with.175 anniversary

‌In 1844, it was renamed the Mechanics’ Institution. Occupying a number of increasingly large and well-equipped buildings in Huddersfield, it was one of the most successful examples of a Victorian movement that aimed to give the working classes access to education and qualifications in a range of scientific and cultural subjects. Also, local industries such as textiles and dyeing would benefit from a stream of skilled employees.

In 1884, the Huddersfield Technical School & Mechanics’ Institution, as it had become known, moved into the large and ornate Ramsden Building – still used for teaching – that was fitted out with laboratories and workshops for classes in all aspects of cloth manufacture, dyeing and chemistry. There were also classrooms for the teaching of science art, languages and commerce.

175 anniversary By 1896, the institution was renamed Huddersfield Technical College and its reputation and scope grew over the decades. There were mergers with other local colleges and in 1970, after an intervention by locally-born Prime Minister Harold Wilson (pictured left), it became a Polytechnic – one of a new wave of modern Higher Education institutions. In 1992, it assumed the title University of Huddersfield.

Now, after a special launch on 18 March at the University’s Heritage Quay archive centre, the 175-year journey is being celebrated in a wide variety of ways, details of which can be found on the website.

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Good Chemistry / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2016-05-25T00:00:00Z">Wed 25 May 2016</span>Good Chemistry / Wed 25 May 2016

It was as early as 1843 that Huddersfield Mechanics’ Institute offered its first courses in chemistry - then widely regarded as a rather obscure subje...

Read All About It / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2016-05-18T00:00:00Z">Wed 18 May 2016</span>Read All About It / Wed 18 May 2016

Poetry flourished among the working classes in in the industrial towns and cities of the North of England during the Victorian period. It was a passio...

The Victorian Talk Show / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2016-05-11T00:00:00Z">Wed 11 May 2016</span>The Victorian Talk Show / Wed 11 May 2016

Professor Martin Hewitt - who is Dean of the University’s School of Music Humanities and Media – explores the importance of the celebrity lecture as a...