Thursday, 17 June 2010

Education - Clothworker's Court

One of the oldest of the University of Leeds, this is the building with the teasel in the previous post and is grade II listed.

Designed by Alfred Waterhouse, it was completed in 1879 and financed by the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers for the City of London, who were anxious to improve the scientific basis of their industry in this country after visiting the Paris International Exhibition of 1867.

The Clothworker's supported setting up the Yorkshire College of Science, which became simply the Yorkshire College when other subjects for study were added. University status was granted by Royal Charter in 1904.

Myra Turner embroidered this on printed fabric (8 hours).

For those who are not male and members of the Church of England and who want to know more about the history of their further education in this country read on..

In 1831, the Leeds School of Medicine was set up, serving the needs of the five medical institutions that had sprung up in the city. Then in 1874, the School was joined by the Yorkshire College of Science, intended to provide education for the children of middle-class industrialists and merchants. Financial support from local industry was crucial (there is a Clothworkers' Court at the University to this day).

The College of Science was modelled on Owens College, Manchester, established in 1851 as a non-sectarian alternative to Oxford and Cambridge, where religious tests were applied and those outside the Church of England were not allowed to receive degrees or were barred from entry outright. Owens College, like the earlier University College London, applied no such tests and was open to Protestant Dissenters, Catholics and Jews.

While religious tests for students at Oxford and Cambridge ceased in the 1850s, northern colleges continued to promote themselves as offering a distinct type of teaching. They took pride in the progressive and pragmatic nature of their scientific education; a field in which the ancient universities, with their focus on general and classical study, were felt to lag behind.

The Yorkshire College of Science began by teaching experimental physics, mathematics, geology, mining, chemistry and biology, and soon became well known as an international centre for the study of engineering and textile technology. When classics, modern literature and history went on offer a few years later, the Yorkshire College of Science became the Yorkshire College. In 1887, the College merged with the Leeds School of Medicine.

Leeds was given its first university in 1887 when the Yorkshire College joined the federal Victoria University on 3 November: the Victoria University had been established by royal charter in 1880; Owens College being at first the only member college. [23] Leeds now found itself in an educational union with close social cousins from Manchester and Liverpool.

Unlike Owens College, the Leeds section of the Victoria University had never barred women from its courses. However, it was not until special facilities were provided at the Day Training College in 1896 that women enrolled in significant numbers. The first female student to begin a course here was Lilias Annie Clark, who studied Modern Literature and Education.

The Victoria University was short-lived as the university locations in Manchester and Liverpool were keen to establish themselves as independent universities, unhappy with the practical difficulties posed by maintaining a federal arrangement across broad distances, and spurred by the granting of a charter to the University of Birmingham in 1900.

Following a Royal Charter and Act of Parliament in 1903, the newly formed University of Liverpool started the fragmentation of the Victoria University. The University of Leeds soon followed suit and was granted a royal charter as an independent body by King Edward VII in 1904.

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