Coloured cartoon from the Northern Looking Glass 14 November 1825 under the heading "Rival Lectures: Mechanics' Institution". It depicts a lecturer delivering a science lecture and demonstration in the institution's lecture theatre to an audience of rough-looking men.
In 1800 Professor George Birbeck inaugurated a series of evening classes for working men at Anderson's Institution, where he lectured on the practical applications of mechanical engineering. In 1823 members of the mechanics class he founded left the Institution and founded the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution, in a former church building in Shuttle Street. The first lecture was given there by John Steel, a lecturer in chemistry and mechanics.
The cartoon is apparently intended to show the difference in the social compositions of the audiences that attended the new institution and those who remained at Anderson's Institution. The latter is illustrated in the second cartoon in this series (search under "Rival Lectures: Anderson's Institution") and depicts a more genteel group of well-dressed Glaswegians, including many women as well as men.
Reference: Sp Coll Bh14-x.8
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections
Anderson's College, Anderson's Institution, audiences, colleges, continuing education, evening classes, gas lights, Glasgow Mechanics' Institution, lecture theatres, lecturers, lectures, mechanical engineering, mechanics, night schools, Rival Lectures: Mechanics' Institution, science lectures