King's College London
Online Exhibitions
In the Beginning ...

Developing new disciplines

==insert description of image=Notice of Engineering and Sciences courses (1839-1840)This recognition that the country needed to improve the quantity and quality of practical, technical and vocational instruction was elsewhere reflected in the striking growth of Mechanics' Institutions beginning with George Birkbeck's in 1823.

These provided lectures on the latest advances in the arts and sciences and made available libraries and reading rooms.

They captured a mood of self-help and impatience for progressive intellectual and moral improvement that was also manifest in the areas of public policy, electoral reform and metropolitan renewal.

Such institutions proved very popular and evolved into the polytechnic movement, drawing upon the Prussian model for inspiration.

Particularly influential were the Universities of Berlin and Bonn, which were established in 1810 and 1818.

These espoused a broad, humanist, approach to learning that incorporated new disciplines such as natural philosophy that were to prove so important during the course of the 19th century. Natural philosophy, after the 1830s, came to be termed 'science'.

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