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It was in the early seventies that the Society of Arts made an endeavour to supplement the scrappy teaching of Science in the Government-aided Classes by instruction in the application of scientific principles to the practice of a few industries. The teaching of Technology, which is the distinguishing mark of Industrial Education, and has now established a firm footing in our schools, had its beginning in a very unpretentious scheme of the Society of Arts. Huxley as early as 1877 described it as "a system of instruction for persons employed in factories and workshops, who desired to extend and improve their knowledge of the theory and practice of their particular avocations." It was knowledge of this kind that artisans wanted and had hitherto been unable to obtain. The efforts of the Society were not attended with any large measure of success. There were no funds available for such teaching and the practical side of the instruction received little or no encouragement. Still the efforts of the Society gave the first stimulus to the spread of technological teaching in our industrial centres.
Of such teaching adapted to some few branches of the Building Trades, a practical example was found in the classes conducted by a small society of workmen known as the "Artisans Institute." I visited these classes early in the year 1880. They had their home in St Martin's Lane, not far from the present Offices of the Technical Education Board of the London County Council. The Rev. Henry Solly took an active part in their organisation, and the Institute was fortunate in securing, as one of its teachers, Mr C. T. Millis, the present Principal of the Borough Polytechnic. The teachers of these classes were trying to help their students, all of whom were artisans, to understand the theory of their work by showing them how a knowledge of the theory helped in the practice of their trade. In the Report of the Institute for the year 1879-1880 occur these words: "When instruction in the details connected with handicrafts is recommended, an off-hand reply is too generally given that the ordinary workshop is the proper school
for practice, and that a 'Science and Art school' affiliated to South Kensington suffices for instruction in principles. This view, however, is not borne out by the statements of skilled artisans. They assert, on the one hand, that the industrial education of apprentices in the workshop is, in these days, altogether neglected; that no one takes the trouble to teach them anything; that they can only pick up a very superficial knowledge of their trades; that they are often mere drudges, or are employed in but one branch of the business, so that if that branch ceases to be required-as often happens-they have nothing to fall back upon. On the other hand, it is asserted that a large proportion of imperfectly-educated lads or grown men who join science and art classes find that they are unable to apply in the workshop what is taught in the class-room, and only half understand what is taught, for want of seeing principles illustrated by their application to work." The concluding words of this extract show very clearly the want that was then felt, a want which the teaching of Technology has supplied. It is the function of the technical teacher to show the connection between principles and practice. This can only be done effectually when the teaching proceeds from the concrete to the abstract, from the practice of the workshop to the theory of the class-room. In the very humble efforts of the small, band of teachers attached to the Artisans Institute I saw what seemed to me the special method of technological instruction—the method now adopted in the laboratories, workshops and lecture rooms of our great Polytechnic Institutes. The Institute had its recreative and educational sides, and, small as it was, it may be regarded as the forerunner of the large London Institutions, with which the name of Mr Quintin Hogg, as the founder and liberal supporter of the Regent Street Polytechnic, will always be associated. In 1883 the classes of the Artisans Institute were transferred to the Finsbury Technical College, of which I was then the acting Principal.
The partial success of the scheme of the Society of Arts to
encourage the teaching of technology as supplementary to that of elementary science, was a factor to be noted when the City Companies, about the year 1877, were considering the best means of establishing, under the direction of a joint Committee of representative members, a National System of Technical Education. Prior to their united action the Clothworkers' Company had sent abroad a few experts to enquire as to the best means of assisting the Textile Industries, and the reports which they received induced them to found, in connection with the Yorkshire College at Leeds, a Textile Department, which has proved of the greatest benefit to the manufacturers of Wool and Worsted goods in this country. It was during the winter of the same year, at the suggestion, I think, of Dr Wormell, that classes for artisans were started in the basement of the Cowper Street schools. Professor Armstrong, Dr Wormell and myself were among the first teachers, and out of this humble effort was developed, mainly by help of the Drapers' Company, the Finsbury Technical College.
The City and Guilds of London Institute was formally incorporated in 1880. What it has done for the advancement of Technical Education is generally known. It established the Finsbury Technical College and the Kennington School of Applied Art, and subsequently the Central Technical College, the first Institution of its kind in this country, comparable with the Technical High Schools of Germany and Switzerland. It took over from the Society of Arts its scheme of Technological Examinations, and developed them into a system of technological instruction applicable to all our principal trades and industries. This, very briefly, has been the work of the City Guilds Institute.
About this time there was considerable agitation in favour of Technical Education. Several of our industries were depressed, and there was a general feeling that our commercial interests were not being helped as it was hoped they might have been by our system of education. The agitation was
not without effect on the methods of instruction in all grades of schools from the Primary to the University. It was mainly owing to the City Guilds cooperating with the School Board for London that primary education was made more practical and useful, and that the subjects of Manual Training and Domestic Economy were introduced into the Government Code.
With the events of the last twenty years I must deal very briefly they are within the memory of nearly all. Yet the period is the most important in the history of Industrial Education.
In 1881 a Royal Commission, of which I was a member, was appointed to enquire into the methods of Technical Instruction adopted in foreign countries. We visited France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, and we obtained important information from the United States. Our Report was published in 1884, and its recommendations gave a direction to subsequent legislation and voluntary effort. The measure conferring rating powers on local authorities for the purpose of Technical Instruction is the direct outcome of that work. No great progress was possible, however, until the new County and County Borough Councils had been created, and these would have been powerless to assist education, except to a very limited extent, if it had not been for the Local Taxation Act of 1890, which placed about £800,000 a year at their disposal for educational purposes.
The years 1870, 1880, 1890, and 1900 are noteworthy dates in the history of education in this country. They mark the creation of School Boards, the incorporation of the City and Guilds of London Institute, the passing of the Local Taxation Act, and the establishment of one central authority for elementary, secondary, and, as we are promised, technological instruction under a Board of Education.
During the last twenty years technical schools have been established in all our large towns, providing special instruction
for artisans engaged in every important industry. The instruction is based generally on the syllabus prepared by the City and Guilds of London Institute, which exercises some influence over the teaching, and annually examines the majority of the students. The Institute possesses a register of teachers in the several trade subjects included in its programme, and may be said to have at least partially succeeded in solving the difficult problem of adapting the teaching of science to the wants of artisans, and of differentiating practical trade teaching from the teaching of the practice of a trade. When opening an Exhibition of the Institute in 1899, the Lord President of the Council said: "For a period of twenty years this Institute has been working in connection with the Science and Art Department. The division of labour is that the Science and Art Department assists in providing certain branches of scientific and artistic teaching, and the Institute supplements the work of the Science and Art Department by its practical and technical classes." These words best explain the present relation between the City and Guilds of London Institute and the Board of Education.
London has been fortunate in obtaining a large share of funds, which have been mainly employed in establishing Polytechnic Institutions. It has received considerable donations and annual subsidies from the City Guilds, and by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners a substantial portion of the City Parochial Funds, amounting, in addition to capital grants, to about £50,000 a year, is devoted to education. London has also received its proportionate share, nearly £200,000 a year, of the proceeds of the beer and spirit duties. This large sum is expended with care and judgment by the Technical Education Board of the County Council.
When one considers the advantages which are offered to workmen and apprentices in any of our newest Technical Schools, we recognise the immense progress that has been made since Birkbeck first lectured to his artisan audience in