Pioneering Education since 1821

It all began with a conversation...a conversation between two Edinburgh businessmen that would pioneer education for working people.

St Cecilia’s Concert Hall in Niddry Street, Edinburgh

Leading a revolution in education

In October 1821 the School held its first lecture at St Cecilia's Concert Hall in Niddry Street, Edinburgh. The subject: chemistry. Over 300 people packed the venue. Several hundred were turned away. Within a month over 450 students had enrolled. Thirty years later over 700 Mechanics Institutes had been established across Britain. Emigrants took the movement as far as Australia and America.

1821 view from South Bridge, Edinburgh

Education becomes a right not a privilege

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A revolution in education has begun.