City and Guilds of London Institute – more background.

(More background on City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI), Finsbury Technical College, the Central Institution and the City and Guilds of London Art School).
Founded in 1878 by a number of Livery Companies and the City of London in order to contribute to the development of a national system of technical education. Following a review by a number of Livery Companies recommendations were made about the structure and scope of City and Guilds of London Institute. There were to be five branches to the Institute namely:
·         The transference of the Society of Arts Technological examinations to the Association of the Livery Companies which had been constituted as the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education. The resulting Technological Examinations Department was to register and inspect classes in technology and manual training and to hold annual examinations in the subjects taught in these classes.
·         The creation of a Trade/Technical College/School north of the Thames at Finsbury: “An intermediate College’ with day courses in mechanical and electrical engineering and chemistry and evening classes in the same subjects and in applied art.
·         The creation of a South London Technical Art School at Kennington offering courses in such areas as drawing, house decorating, modelling and painting.
·         The creation of a Central Institution which would be a high quality training school for teachers in London. An Institution of a ‘university character’, in mechanics and mathematics; civil, mechanical and electrical engineering; chemistry and
·         Grants for supporting certain technical classes already established at King’s College, London and elsewhere; and grants for the proposed chairs of Chemical Technology and Mechanical Technology at University College, London.
 Subsequently a number of meetings were held to consider taking forward these proposals and on 11th November 1878 at the Mercers’ Hall sixteen Livery Companies and the Corporation of London in attendance that would formally decide to establish a national system of technical education.
The funding came from the seventeen organisations present at the meeting and initially a sum of £11,582. 1Oshillings (£11,582.50p) was provided.
The sixteen Companies present at the founding meeting were:
Armourers and Braziers/Brasiers, Carpenters, Clothworkers, Coopers, Cordwainers, Drapers, Dyers, Goldsmiths, Fishmongers, Ironmongers, Leathersellers, Needlemakers, Mercers, Pewterers,  Plaisters and Salters.
 Eventuallyin 1880 the educational association comprising 14 of the founding Companies established was incorporated under the Company Acts as the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education. In 1900 the Institute was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.
The locations of CGLI headquarters in London since its founding:
1879-80: Mercers’ Hall
1881-1913: Gresham College
1913: 3, St Helen’s Place – whilst Gresham College was rebuilt
1914: Leonard Street at the CGLI Finsbury technical College whilst the rebuilding of Gresham College continued
1915-57: Gresham College, Basinghall Street
1958 -1995: 76, Portland Place
1995+: 1, Giltspur Street.
Technological Examinations:
1879 – 80: Mercers’ Hall
1881 – 87: Gresham College
1887 – 91: City and Guilds of London Central Institute, South Kensington
After 1891 the technological examinations became part of the examination department and between:
1891 – 1903 were based at Exhibition Road (Royal School of Needlework), South Kensington and at various locations namely:
1903 – 22: Exhibition Road
1922 – 31: 29,Roland Gardens, South Kensington
1931 – 58: 31, Brechin Place
1958 – 1995: 76, Portland Place
1995 –present: 1, Giltspur Street
Some other dates:
1879 – 1926: City and Guilds Technical College, Finsbury – Leonard Street. Initially located in the premises of the Middle Class School in Cowper Street, classes started in November 1879 with teachers such as H. E. Armstrong and W. E. Ayrton. Eventually a new college was built in Leonard Street –foundation stone laid May 1881 and opened in 1883 as Finsbury Technical College.
1879 – 1923: South London Technical Art School – 122-124 Kennington Park Road
1932 – 37: City and Guilds of London Institute Kennington and Lambeth Art School – 118-71 Kennington Park Road
1937 – 71: City and Guilds of London Art School – 118-124 Kennington Park Road
1884 – 93: Central Institution – Exhibition Road
1893 – 1910: Central Technical College – Exhibition Road
1911 – 1962: City and Guilds College – Imperial College of Science and Technology, South Kensington
The Central Institution
The Object of the Central Institution:
‘To train technical teachers, proprietors and managers of chemical, civil and electrical engineers, architects, builders and persons engaged in art industries’.
Building completed in June 1884 with extensive facilities including: classrooms, laboratories, lecture theatres, specialist workshops and studios with engines and other forms of machinery for practical work. Clearly it was an expensive initiative as it focused on high level work and initially student numbers were low e.g. in 1885 there were only 35 students. In 1909 student numbers were 408 but even with fees from them the Institution struggled to be financially viable. The shortfall of £5,000 was covered by the Livery Companies but the high cost of updating equipment was a real concern. Eventually following recommendations from a Royal Commission regarding university education in London a faculty of engineering was created within the University of London and the City and Guilds Central Technical College as it was then called became one of its schools. Finally in 1907 it became one of the constituent colleges of Imperial College and in 1910 became known as the City and Guilds College.
Finsbury Technical College
The Objectives of Finsbury Technical College:
‘One of the yet unsolved problems of education is to discover subjects of instruction which a schoolboy, in after life, shall not cast aside as unprofitable, either for the purposes of his daily work or recreation, and the teaching of which shall have the same disciplinary effect as that of other subjects, which for so many centuries have been the sole instruments of education. In this college, an attempt will be made to partially solve this problem, by teaching science with this double object’. (Philip Magnus)
It is interesting to see what occupations the students represented at Cowper Street in 1880 included the following:
Brewers, Cabinet makers, Chemists, Dentists, Distillers, Drug brokers, Dyers, Electricians, Engineers, Engravers, Fire hose makers, Gas engineers, Glue makers, Hair and felt manufacturers, Inspectors of the Telephone Company, Leather dressers, Perfumers, Philosophical instruments makers, Photographers, Printers, Scale makers, Surgical instrument makers, Telegraphic instrument makers. Telegraphists, Varnish and colour manufacturers, Whitesmiths and Wine merchants,
A remarkable range! I wonder what Philosophical instrument makers were! Something about Natural Philosophy?
Lambeth School of Art/City and Guilds of London Art School
The Institute took over the Lambeth School of Art in 1878 when it faced closure. It was renamed the South London School of Technical Art on Kennington Park Road. The premises were extended by adding extra studios. Most of the classes were offered in the evening and students from local industries particularly the Doulton potteries. Classes were offered in calligraphy, drawing, a wide range of masonry techniques, painting and pottery modelling. The school proved very successful and trained many noted artists and designers. The premises were further extended in 1932 and in 1938 and it was renamed the City and Guilds of London Art School. The running costs of £20,000 in 1970 were relatively modest but the Institute decided that its work was out of kilter with its main business. A separate charitable trust was created supported by a number of Livery Companies and in 1971 the formal links with the Institute ceased.
This brief account does not do justice to the contribution the City and Guilds has made to the development of technical education. It created a number of fascinating institutions and has become a major examining body offering over 500 qualifications in a wide range of industrial sectors throughout 8,500 colleges and training providers in over 80 countries. The City and Guilds Group comprises: the Hospitality Awarding Body (HAB), the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) and the Pitman Examinations Institute (PEI).

City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI) Timeline

1878 Foundation of CGLI

1879 Finsbury Technical College and CGLI Art School founded

1880 Appointment of Philip Magnus as Director and Secretary to CGLI

1884 Opening of Central Institution in Exhibition Road

1887 First overseas examinations in New South Wales

1900 Royal Charter of Incorporation granted

1902 Balfour Education Act

1907 Foundation of Imperial College

1926 Closure of Finsbury Technical College

1933 Signing of the ‘Concordat’

1944 Butler Education Act

1951 Launch of AEB

1958 CGLI HQ located at 76 Portland Place

1964 Industrial Training Act and creation of NEBS Management

1971 City and Guild School becomes Independent Trust

1973 Haslegrave Report Formation of TEC, BEC and DATEC

1979 Ferryside Agreement

1985 Publication of Review of Vocational Qualifications

1990 Acquisition of Pitman Examinations Institute

1995 CGLI HQ located at 1Giltspur Street

1998 Establishment of AQA. Launch of City and Guilds Affinity

References:

CGLI. ‘Reflections Past and Future’. By Andrew Sich CGLI. 2000.
Lang. J. ‘City and Guilds of London Institute. Centenary 1878 – 1978. CGLI. 1978.
City and Guilds of London Institute. ‘A Short History’. CGLI. 1993.
Cronin. B. P. ‘Technology, Industrial Conflict and the Development of Technical Education in the 19th– Century England’. Ashgate. Aldershot. ISBN 0 7546 0313 X. 2001.

Rev. Henry Solly (1813-1903).

(Founder of the Club and Institute Union, Social Reformer and a key player in Charity Organisation, the Artizans’ Institute and the Working Men’s Club Movement).
Born in London his father was a successful businessman involved in transport particularly the railways and steamships across to America. He studied classics and mathematics at University College in Gower Street, London being amongst its first students. In 1840 Solly entered the Unitarian ministry – he later resigned following a dispute with the church authorities. He became very involved with the Chartist movement as well as with a number of other working class groups. Henry supported many radical causes such as free education, the creation of museums, anti-slavery and universal suffrage. In the early 1860s he played a major part in founding the working men’s clubs. He was one of the leading and most energetic figures in the adult clubs movement. These clubs were aimed at improving the social and education of working men who up to then had not been involved with the Mechanics’ Institutions. A number of people had suggested that the Mechanics’ Institutions had partly failed because they had not provided recreational activities but even so Solly acknowledged the positive impact and contribution that they had made to education for mechanics and the workers. To be fair other earlier organisations had argued in similar ways that there should be recreation alongside formal instruction and indeed a number of Mechanics’ Institutions and Lyceums from the 1830s had offered such a combination of recreation and education. 
 Solly was also an active member of the temperance movement and banned the consumption of alcohol in the working men’s clubs although this embargo was later abolished with the result that the clubs became more popular. One aspect he was particularly successful in was gaining financial support from the aristocracy and politicians. As a result he was able to establish 116 clubs over a period of three years and by 1867 nearly 300 existed that were recognised by the Union. The Union was established in 1862 in London mainly because of Solly’s efforts and was under the presidency of Brougham (see biography on this website) and a number of eminent vice-presidents. The concept of a Union had been advocated by David Thomas but it was Solly who brought it into existence. The Union was founded to help working men create Clubs and Institutes to improve their lives through education and recreation. As mentioned above Solly was very committed to combining recreational activities with educational activities arguing that after a hard day’s work they needed some form of recreation. The first Union offices were located at 150 The Strand, London.
He stated that the aim of the working men’s clubs was to encourage the establishment of clubs where working men “could meet for conversation, business and mental improvement, with the means of recreation and refreshment, free from intoxicating drinks”. He said that the education was given “as by a friend,” in an easy, pleasant and often in a conversational way”. The operation of the clubs usually comprised classes complemented with opportunities to access libraries and periodicals/newspapers.
The movement published a journal called The Working Man which aimed at improving the education of the workers and in addition strongly advocating co-operation with the employers. Initially the majority of the clubs struggled to survive and some closed. One reason for this was the exclusion of alcohol and tobacco and eventually the rules were amended, against Solly’s wishes, and the clubs began to enrol more workers. He was the first paid secretary for the Union but when he opposed the sale of alcohol in the clubs he was forced to resign although he returned in 1871 but this too failed following disputes about his salary. He was chairman of the Union between 1862/87 and between 1871/72/3 he was organising and travelling secretary. He did remain a member until 1879 and continued to be a firm supporter of the movement but never again held a senior post.
Solly went on to found the Trades Guild of Learning in 1873 which promoted the vocational and further education of Artisans. The Guild was not a Trade Union but included skilled workers who were trade union members as well as those who were not. Eventually there was a disagreement between Solly and the management of the Guild arising from his strong paternalistic beliefs and those held by the trade unions and he resigned as its chairman. Solly was by most counts restless, autocratic, irascible, arrogant, and though a hard working idealist he was dismissive of others and found it difficult to work in harmony with colleagues.
However he was more successful in retaining an executive position with the Artizans’ Institute which he helped to create after he severed his involvement with the Trade Guild of Learning (TGoL). The Artizans’ Institute was founded in 1874 and was initially located in St Martin’s Lane. The Artizans’ Institute was in some ways an offshoot of the Trade Guild of Learning and Solly played a key part in its creation. Its value cannot be underestimated as it helped to form the foundations for the Technical Education of Artizans working in a number of crafts and trades and laid many of the important principles on how they should be conducted. The guiding principle was to complement and supplement the training of the factory or workshop and not supersede it.  The objectives of the Institute were: ‘The systematic instruction of apprentices and workmen (i) in the principles of art and science forming the basis of various handicrafts; and (ii) in the technical application of those principles to actual work’.  The Institute experimented with a combination of technical training for the crafts and trades with more liberal focussed subjects. Solly acted as Principal until 1878, when because of ill-health he retired. The Institute struggled for some time after his departure but eventually was recognised and supported by a number of Livery Companies (see biographies on this website) and continued to raise the importance of technical education. In addition Philip Magnus (see biography on this website) gave the Institute great encouragement and finally in 1883 the classes of the Artizans’ Institute were transferred to the Finsbury Technical College (see pen portrait on this website).
The Artizans’ Institute played an important part in the development of technical education and in spite of all the difficulties associated with Solly’s irascible and mercurial temperament he contributed much to its development.
Solly died in 1903 and the then secretary of the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union B. T. Hall wrote “If the work that the clubs do, if their influence on personal character and their contribution to the sum total of human happiness be correctly appreciated …. then shall the investigator reckon Henry Solly amongst the constructive statesmen of our time”. (1)
He was also instrumental in creating the Charity Organisation Society. In addition he became editor of the Beehive the most influencial working-class newspaper in the 1860s and 70s
His philosophy reflected his idealism and was based on three strong beliefs namely: education, recreation and temperance and he held firmly that to remove one would undermine completely the others.
In 1889 there were 329 clubs in membership with the Union; in 1899 there were 683 and by the time he died in 1903 there were 992 clubs with a membership of 380,000. The Club movement was mainly active in London and the Industrial areas of England. For example London, the Home Counties, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the West Midlands accounted for 479 out of the 683 in 1899. Very few existed in Wales and Scotland. Henry Solly possessed great energy and ability and recognised the importance of education but tended to make his beliefs and ideas foremost and assumed ‘ownership’ of the organisations he helped to establish. Nevertheless he is a key figure in the development of technical and workers’ education along with others that include F.D. Maurice (Working Men’s Colleges, London) – see picture below, R. S. Bayley (Peoples College, Sheffield) and Quintin Hogg (The London Polytechnics) – see other biographies on this website.
 
References:
(1)   ‘The Working Men’s Social Clubs’. J. H. Wicksteed.1904
and ‘Our Fifty Years, The story of the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union’. B. T. Hall. The Working Men’s Club and Institute Union. 1912.
Other useful references:
‘Technical Education’. Address to the Trustees of the Artizan’s Institute, by Henry Solly. 1878.
‘These Eighty Years’, Or, The Story of an Unfinished Life. H. Solly. Simpkin and Co. 1892. 2 volumes
‘Education and the Labour Movement 1870-1920’. Lawrence and Wishart. 1965.
Note:  Artizan today is more usually spelt Artisan

The Artizans’ Institute and The Trade Guild of Learning

Henry Solly, (see biographies on this website), was heavily involved in establishing both these organisations and it was his interest in working-class education which was instrumental in their creation.
The Trade Guild of Learning (TGoL)
The formation of the Trade Guild of Learning pre-dates the Artizan Institute so in strict chronological terms it makes sense to describe this organisation first. At a meeting held on the 1st March 1873 at the offices of the Working Men’s Club and Institute, discussion centred on the creation of a ‘Trade Guild of Learning’. Members from various Trade Societies including Bookbinders, Cabinet Makers, Chair makers, Gilders, House Painters and Decorators, Tanners, Woodcarvers and Zinc Workers were present. Solly was also present and the meeting was chaired by Lord Lyttleton and other members included a number of politicians, scientists, staff from the Oxford and Cambridge universities and King’s College, London.  The meeting formulated the following resolution that the Guild was to promote ‘the delivery of lectures and the formation of classes, to assist members of the Trade Societies and other skilled workmen in acquiring knowledge of history, political economy and technical education…’ (1).  Rather ambitious terms were expressed about its aims namely ‘as an attempt to bring Technical and the Higher Education within the reach of artisans, especially the Trade Union of the United Kingdom.’ The meeting also elected an impressive list of vice-chairmen including Alfred Tennyson, Samuel Morley, Matthew Arnold, John Donnelly (Science and Art Department) and John Tyndall FRS. In spite of this impressive launch the Guild soon found it difficult to gain support from such bodies as the London Trades Council. The Guild arranged programmes and courses of lectures but it never succeeded in gaining wide spread support and gradually its activities declined. Solly soon fell out with the management of the Trade Union of Learning and with other associates went on to found the Artizans’ Institute in 1874.
The Artizans’ Institute.
Surprisingly little is known about this fascinating institute even though it was the first institute of its kind. In a sense it was an off shoot of the Trade Guild of Learning (TGoL) particularly from the efforts of Henry Solly and some of his friends. It could be seen as a successor to the then defunct Workmen’s Technical Educational Union (WTEU) and advocated the importance of technical education driven by the workers themselves. It was opened in 1874 in Castle Street, St Martin’s Lane, London. Its importance should not be overlooked as it was a pioneering institute in the development of technical education. Its opening ceremony was attended by over twelve skilled trades, a somewhat surprising number bearing in mind the rivalry between the Companies and trades. One of its innovative approaches was the appointment of the instructors/teachers who were practicing tradesmen. Solly stated ‘we regard as a fundamental axiom for any real improvement in Technical teaching … that we must look among skilled workmen for Technical teachers …we must give them the means of instructing their fellows.’ (1 and 2).  The Institute offered classes in Bricklaying, Carpentry, Engineering, Masonry, Pattern Making, Metal Work, Plumbing, Stained Glass Painters, Tailoring and Wood Turning. In addition classes were held for subjects offered by the Science and Arts Department in such areas as Applied Mechanics, Art subjects, Building Construction, and Elementary Mathematics and Geometry. Lectures were also given in such subjects as Industrial History, Political Economy and Social and Political progress. Membership fees were set at 1s 6d (7.5 p) per quarter and classes cost 7s 6d (37.5p) to 10s (50p) per session. Apprentices were admitted at half price. The average number of members in an institute was 100 and for students 140. The Institute attracted a number of lecturers who later went on to make important contributions to technical education e.g. C. T. Millis.
The Institutes’ innovative approaches attracted a great deal of attention from Trade Union representives and public figures. In fact Philip Magnus stated later that it could be regarded as the forerunner of the London Polytechnics created by Quintin Hogg (see biography on this website). Magnus went on to say ‘that the methods of technological instruction – the method now adopted in the laboratories, workshops and lecture-rooms of our great Polytechnic Institutions’. (3)
Around this time many of the Livery Companies were becoming increasingly concerned about the state of technical education in the country. Evidence clearly showed that the country was falling behind its competitors and performing badly in a number of International Exhibitions e.g. Paris. In addition the continuing decline in apprenticeships and the lack of technical education opportunities fuelled this concern and on 7th June 1877 a meeting at the Mercers’ hall was convened. There were fourteen Companies present at the meeting which reflected the wide spread concerns. The meeting agreed to establish a Provisional Committee ’for the purpose of preparing a scheme for a national system of Technical Education.’ One of the tasks that they agreed on was to undertake a comprehensive review of institutions involved at the time in technical instruction. The group was lead by George Bartley (philanthropist) and the monitoring group visited 45 different establishments across the country. Other members of the group included William Armstrong (industrialist), John Donnelly (educationalist – Science and Arts Department and Society of Arts), Douglas Galton (scientist), Thomas Huxley (scientist) and Henry Trueman Wood (administrator- Society of Arts). Some of the institutions visited included the Bristol Trade and Mining School, the Cirencester Agricultural College, the Glasgow Technical College, the Leeds Mechanics’ Institution and the Yorkshire College. Also on the itinerary were the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, University College London, Working Men’s Clubs/Colleges, technical and art schools and the Artizans’ Institute. I have provided this detailed account of the review as it reflects the range of institutions delivering technical education at the time and also its bearing on the Artizans’ Institute. The  Artizans’ Institute was considered the best by far of the institutions visited. Bartley produced a very detailed report and placed the Institute at the top of the institutions inspected particularly for its promotion of scientific and technical education stating ‘not on account of its magnitude of its work, but because its objectives seem to bear with some considerable weight on the subject we have in view’.  Henry Trueman Wood a member of the review panel, who later became secretary to the Society of Arts,  said of the Institute ‘Its promoters may justly claim the great credit of having made the first attempt to supply London workmen with the sort of instruction which would be of service to them in their callings’. He also wrote later ‘that the Institute fought a very uphill fight for a long time, and justly claimed credit for having acted as pioneers’. Its main weakness was its size but its innovative and pioneering achievements were considerable in spite of this and the fact that no State funding was given made the task of managing the Institute even more difficult.
The review highlighted, yet again, that much of the provision in the majority of the other institutions was unsatisfactory resulting from inadequate grounding in elementary scientific knowledge. This weakness meant that the artizans could not benefit from the practical instruction because of the lack of the theoretical background. A similar contributing reason was suggested about the failure of Mechanics’ Institution movement. Interestingly Armstrong, Bartley and Huxley wanted more financial support for science instruction but Donnelly surprisingly rejected the request arguing that the State was already providing sufficient funding! The report also commented that there was a lack of qualified science teachers, insufficient money to pay them and very few establishments that taught the subject and equally concerning no institution that taught applied science.  Many of these factors had been highlighted previously and many were further repeated but little positive improvement resulted from all these reports. The factors identified in this report and the others are as relevant today as there were then – the history of technical education on this website attempts to describe this depressing fact.
The report proposed the creation in London of a central Institute for ‘Higher Technical Education’ – interesting to note that a similar proposal had been made by the Workmen’s Technical Education Committee (WTEC) in 1868! The committee also recommended the establishment of trade schools, the creation of a national system of examinations for technical subjects and additional financial support to institutions engaged in technical instruction. Eventually the CGLI actioned some of these proposals.
Henry Solly continued to be Principal until ill-health forced him to retire in 1878. Following his retirement weak management caused a number of problems and the Institute came very close to closure. However in 1879 a meeting was held attended by Henry Doulton, Silvanus Thompson and other key figures from the world of industry to revitalise the Institute. C. T. Millis was appointed director to succeed Solly (Millis later became Principal of the Borough Polytechnic between 1892 and 1922). The Institute gained support from a number of Livery Companies and CGLI. As mentioned already Philip Magnus (then Superintendent of Technological Examinations, CGLI) was very positive about the Institute and following a visit in 1880 requested the trustees of CGLI to award the Artizans’ Institute £300. Eventually because of its size and continuing financial viability it was transferred in 1881 to the Finsbury Technical College (see pen portrait on this website). Philip Magnus was then acting Principal of the Finsbury College. In 1881 the work was located in Cowper Street Schools where Professors Armstrong and Ayrton who were two highly influential figures in technical and scientific education were teaching pending the official opening of the Finsbury Technical College in 1883.
The Science and Arts Department and its secretary John Donnelly refused to financially support the Institute and this again reinforced one of the main themes articulated in the history of technical education on this website, namely the reluctance of successive governments to commit public funds to technical education at this time. Even the press at the time reflected the different attitudes and ambivalence towards the funding and status of technical education. At least one publication, the Globe, complemented the Artizans’ Institution as an important factor in the promotion of technical education at that time. The Globe reported ‘at the present moment this institute … contain(s) probably ..whatever germ there is of hope for the survival of English trade’. (4) whilst other publications were against the funding of technical education arguing that the workers should pay the costs and the State should not subsidise this form of instruction, reflecting the attitude of politicians and the Science and Arts Department.
Conclusion:
The foundation of the Artizans’ Institute and the Trade Guild of Learning did reflect the growing desire to develop some form of technical education and ultimately acted as a catalyst for such organisations as the City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI) to support such pioneering initiatives. Many key figures and a number Livery Companies were involved in supporting the Institute during their existence e.g. T. Huxley, P. Magnus, C. T. Millis, S. Morley, H. Solly and the Carpenters’ Clothworkers’, Drapers’, Fishmongers’ Companies. The development of both organisations also sadly reflected the negative attitude to technical education among politicians and the majority of society.  
References:
(1)   ’Trade Guild of Learning.’ H. Solly. Workman’s Magazine Nos. 1 and 5. Published under Literacy and Critical Tracts. London. 1873.
(2)   ‘Technical Education: a Few thoughts and facts about it’. H. Solly. Address to the Trustees of the Artizans’ Institute. 1878.
(3)   ‘Address on Industrial Education’. P. Magnus. Cambridge. 1901.
(4) The Globe 30th May 1876.
See also:
 Millis. C. T. ‘Education for Trades and Industries’. Edward Arnold. London. 1932.
P. Magnus: ‘Industrial Education’ chapter VIII in ‘Education in the Nineteenth Century’ edited by Roberts. R. D.  CUP. 1901.
Lang. J. ‘CGLI Centenary 1878-1978’. An historical commentary. CGLI. 1978.

Institutions of Technical Education/Instruction in Britain in 1878

A special committee was established in 1877 by a number of Livery Companies under the chairmanship of George Bartley to enquire and investigate the state of provision of technical education in Britain in 1878 (see biography of Artizans’ Institute on this website). In all institutions over 40 institutions were identified by the committee and included the following:
Agricultural College, Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Anderson Institute, Glasgow
Artizans’ Institute, St. Martin’s Lane, London
Birkbeck Institute, Chancery Lane, London
Building Trades Institute, Manchester
Chemists and Druggists Schools, Bradford
College for Working Women, Fitzroy Square, London
Colliery Schools
Cookery Schools
Co-operative Societies Schools, Rochdale, Lancashire
Crystal Palace School of Practical Engineering, London
Dockyard Schools
Glasgow Technical College, Scotland
Gresham College, London
Huddersfield Mechanical Institute and Trades School, Yorkshire
Hull Navigation School, Yorkshire
Islington School of Science and Art, Essex Road North, London
Keighley Trade School, Yorkshire
King’s College, London
Leeds Mechanical Institute, Yorkshire
London Institute, Finsbury Circus, London
Middle Class Schools, Cowper Street, London
North of Scotland School of Chemistry and Agriculture, Aberdeen, Scotland
Oldham Science and Art School, Lancashire
Owens College, Manchester
Plymouth Navigation School, Devon
Railway Schools
Royal College of Mines, London
Royal Indian Engineering College, Coopers Hill
Royal Marine Schools
Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London
Royal Polytechnic institution, Regent Street, London
South London Workmen’s College, London
St. Margaret’s Technical Schools, Westminster, London
Strand Mechanical Institute, London
Telegraphist School, General Post Office, London
Trade and Mining School, Bristol. Borders with Somerset and Gloucestershire
University College, London
Workmen’s College, Great Ormond Street, London
Yorkshire College of Science, Leeds, Yorkshire
Note 16 were in London and 24 outside London in spite of the fact that much of the manufacturing and industry was outside the capital – again reflecting the supposed importance and centricity factor of the city.
Note: Cambridge and Oxford Universities were also involved in the review.
See the pen portrait of the Artizans’ Institute on this website for a more detailed account of the Livery Companies review. The review played a significant part in establishing the City and Guilds of London Institute (CGLI) – again see the pen portrait of CGLI, Central Institution, Finsbury Technical College and the City and Guilds of London Art School on this website. People involved in the review included William Armstrong (industrialist and inventor), George Bartley (philanthropist), John Donnelly (educationalist – Science and Art and Society of Arts), Douglas Galton (scientist), Thomas Huxley (scientist) and Henry Trueman Wood (administrator Society of Arts).

Livery Companies/Guilds

Some basic definitions:
Livery Companies: had their origins in England before 1066. Guilds (or mysteries, from the Latin misterium, meaning professional skill): were active throughout Europe for many centuries.
           The word guild is from the Saxon word gilden which means to pay or payment as the members had to pay a fee.
          The word livery basically refers to the uniform that identified the company.
History
The guilds in the Middle Ages were an important and integral part of Medieval life in England. The early guilds were the medieval equivalent of a trading standards system and their power was considerable and expulsion from one meant that you could not make a living. There were two kinds of guild namely merchant and craft and very often there were tensions and disputes between the two. The merchant guilds controlled the trades practised in the towns and they checked the quality of the products as well as the weights and measures. Craft guilds were separate from the merchant guilds but operated under the same rules as the merchant guilds and regulated the quality, working hours and conditions of its members. The craft guilds were formed in a similar way to the merchant guilds where a group of tradesmen or craftsmen pursuing the same occupation joined together. Examples of the trades included:  apothecaries, bakers, carpenters, cloth makers, masons, painters, shoemakers and tanners. There were three levels of craftsmen (yes it was almost exclusively for males!) namely masters, journeymen and apprentices. Usually parents paid a fee to for the apprenticeship that would place their son with a master craftsman. So one can see the power the guilds possessed as between them they managed, monitored, regulated and controlled business practices and imports, established wages, defined working conditions and trained apprentices. The master would provide food, lodgings, clothes and the necessary instruction during the period of the apprenticeship. Both the merchants and crafts guilds created monopolies within Medieval towns and cities as no one could practice a craft and trade without being a member of the appropriate merchant or craft guild. Members of the guilds were very often involved in civic affairs and often occupied important and influential positions in the community. Each guild had its own hall and its own coat of arms. The guilds represented many of the jobs and occupations of the time. Clearly London was the centre for most of the guilds although guilds did exist outside the City of London e.g. the Cutlers of Hallamshire in Sheffield, the Merchant Venturers of Bristol and the Fellmongers of Richmond in Yorkshire. Both Scotland and Ireland had strong guilds as well as mainland Europe where France, Germany and Switzerland had very active guilds. In the 18th century London had eighty-nine guilds ranked according to a hierarchy of precedence with the twelve Great Companies at the top (see below for list of the twelve). The guilds also developed strong links and associations with religion and politics.
There were three ways of becoming a member of a guild namely by completing a seven year apprenticeship, patrimony (i.e. one’s father was a member) or by redemption (i.e. payment of a fee). Most guilds were composed of men from a variety of backgrounds and even by the 18th century most did not include women, though sometimes widows could by default become a member and could take over the training of apprentices BUT were excluded from participation in company business.
Example of the rules operated by the craft guilds included:
·         A financial penalty or ban on any illicit practice by a non-guild member –an example of the mononopoly or closed shop
·         Strict rules of conformity to the charter of the particular craft guild and if broken subjected to fines
·         Welfare arrangements including caring for sick members and orphans
·         Protection of members belongings i.e. goods, horses and wagons when they were travelling on business
The Great Twelve City Livery Companies.  (Often referred to as ‘Worshipful Company of’ the relevant trade or profession), are in order of precedence:
1.    Company of Mercers (General merchants)
2.    Company of Grocers
3.    Company of Drapers (Wool and cloth merchants)
4.    Company of Fishmongers
5.    Company of Goldsmiths
6.    Company of Merchant Taylors (Tailors) ( alternates with the Skinners)
7.    Company of Skinners (Fur traders) (alternates with the Merchant Taylors)
8.    Company of Haberdashers
9.    Company of Salters
10.  Company of Ironmongers
11.  Company of Vintners (Wine merchants)
12   Company of Clothworkers
Gradually the number of guild apprentices declined in London and the social background of the apprentices changed. The guilds lost their monopoly as work became more available to those who had not served an apprenticeship and new areas of trade and craft developed that were not covered by a particular guild. Most of the power of the guilds was located in the City and as suburbs developed outside the City boundary craftsmen and tradesmen who were not guild members began to practice and ignored the rules and regulations of the livery companies. In addition the fee for an apprenticeship deterred many families paying the expensive premiums that were around £28 in 1716. As the numbers declined apprentices increasingly came from more prosperous families and these entered professions such as architects, lawyers and surgeons. The power of the guilds to regulate economic activity declined significantly in the 17th and 18th century as a result of a number of factors and they became more like agents for providing social prestige, business networks and a political voice for their members as well as charity work. In particular some guilds suffered greatly as a result of the Great Fire of 1666 because of the need to undertake the massive job of reconstruction. The powers of the guild were relaxed and this accelerated the use of apprentices from outside London who were not involved with a particular guild. Once restoration and reconstruction was complete the guilds found it difficult to reassert their former power and authority. This coupled with the development of new technologies and industries as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the creation of factories and free trade all contributed to the decline of the guilds. Many of the new industries that were established were not regulated by the guilds and people increasingly questioned and challenged the authority and monopoly of the guilds. Ironically a number of historians (1) have suggested when trying to explain why Britain was the first industrial nation by developing earlier and faster than their European counterparts have viewed the demise of the apprenticeship in Britain as an advantage! These commentators argue that the continued influence and power of the guilds in Europe held back the development of new techniques and stifled imagination and innovation on the continent. Clearly there are other factors contributing to why Britain was the first industrial nation e.g. massive reserves of coal etc.
800px-VintersHall_2   A view of the Vintners hall is shown opposite.
 There are still 108 livery companies today with a membership of approximately 40,000 and some still continue to have regulatory powers e.g. the Goldsmiths, Scriveners whilst some have become inoperative except as charitable foundations. The majority are now social and charitable organisations very often with a great deal of ceremonial activity. However some continue to support education and training particularly the Goldsmiths Company which is establishing its own college and actively continues managing high quality apprenticeships working closely with CGLI. Salters and the Clothworkers’ and a few others have supported schools and colleges to develop curriculum in subjects like chemistry and mathematics. It must also be remembered that sixteen Companies played a key role in creating the CGLI (see history of technical education on this website).
Many historians are split on the value, influence and the contribution that the guild movement made to the economy of England. Obviously at the beginning they made a major contribution to the development of the trades and crafts at the time and were powerful agents in developing and maintaining quality and craft and trade standards of products. They initially prevented unlimited competition and helped to keep wages and working conditions stable in what were turbulent times. But gradually became closed shops and monopolistic, exclusive (e.g. barring women) and hierarchical (reflecting the class structure that has so dominated life in this country).  Their demise was inevitable as the Industrial Revolution evolved and the factory system developed with mass production techniques that required totally different skills. This change in the profile of the skills base for the factory workers that many have argues as a deskilling/low skill transition, arising from the repetitious nature of work did ultimately require a fundamental rethink of how training of the workers was to be managed. A number of the guilds realised times had changed and after 1970’s a number started to support technical and commercial education. It must be remembered that many Companies did provide significant funding in the founding of colleges and other educational institutions e.g. Armourers and Braziers. Carpenters. Clothworkers. Cordwainers Drapers. Goldsmiths. Grocers. Leathersellers. Goldsmiths ‘ Hall in 1835 shown below.
Goldsmiths Hall 1835
References:
 Barry. J and Brooks. C. W.(eds) In ‘The Middling Sort of People’. Basingstoke. 1994. Particular interesting is piece by Brooks ‘Apprenticeships, Social Mobility and the Middling Classes’.
(1)  Landes. D. S. ‘The Unbound Prometheus’. CUP. 1969.
See also pen portrait on a short history of apprenticeships on this website.

List of  current companies:

  1. Worshipful Company of Mercers (general merchants)
  2. Worshipful Company of Grocers (spice merchants)
  3. Worshipful Company of Drapers (wool and cloth merchants)
  4. Worshipful Company of Fishmongers
  5. Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths (bullion dealers)
  6. Worshipful Company of Skinners* (fur traders)
  7. Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors* (tailors)
  8. Worshipful Company of Haberdashers (clothiers in sewn and fine materials)
  9. Worshipful Company of Salters (traders of salts and chemicals)
  10. Worshipful Company of Ironmongers
  11. Worshipful Company of Vintners (wine merchants)
  12. Worshipful Company of Clothworkers
  13. Worshipful Company of Dyers
  14. Worshipful Company of Brewers
  15. Worshipful Company of Leathersellers
  16. Worshipful Company of Pewterers (pewter and metal manufacturers)
  17. Worshipful Company of Barbers (incl. surgeons and dentists)
  18. Worshipful Company of Cutlers (knife, sword and utensil makers)
  19. Worshipful Company of Bakers
  20. Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers (wax candle makers)
  21. Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers (tallow candle makers)
  22. Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers (armour makers and brass workers)
  23. Worshipful Company of Girdlers (belt and girdle makers)
  24. Worshipful Company of Butchers
  25. Worshipful Company of Saddlers
  26. Worshipful Company of Carpenters
  27. Worshipful Company of Cordwainers (fine leather workers and shoemakers)
  28. Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers
  29. Worshipful Company of Curriers (leather dressers and tanners)
  30. Worshipful Company of Masons
  31. Worshipful Company of Plumbers
  32. Worshipful Company of Innholders (tavern keepers)
  33. Worshipful Company of Founders (metal casters and melters)
  34. Worshipful Company of Poulters (poulterers)
  35. Worshipful Company of Cooks
  36. Worshipful Company of Coopers (barrel and cask makers)
  37. Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers (builders)
  38. Worshipful Company of Bowyers (long-bow makers)
  39. Worshipful Company of Fletchers (arrow makers)
  40. Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths
  41. Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers (wood craftsmen)
  42. Worshipful Company of Weavers
  43. Worshipful Company of Woolmen
  44. Worshipful Company of Scriveners (court scribes and notaries public)
  45. Worshipful Company of Fruiterers
  46. Worshipful Company of Plaisterers (plasterers)
  47. Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers (journalists and publishers)
  48. Worshipful Company of Broderers (embroiderers)
  49. Worshipful Company of Upholders (upholsterers)
  50. Worshipful Company of Musicians
  51. Worshipful Company of Turners (lathe operators)
  52. Worshipful Company of Basketmakers
  53. Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass
  54. Worshipful Company of Horners (horn workers and plasticians)
  55. Worshipful Company of Farriers (horseshoe makers and horse veterinarians)
  56. Worshipful Company of Paviors (road and highway pavers)
  57. Worshipful Company of Loriners (equestrian bit, bridle and spur suppliers)
  58. Worshipful Society of Apothecaries (physicians and pharmacists)
  59. Worshipful Company of Shipwrights (shipbuilders and maritime professionals)
  60. Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers
  61. Worshipful Company of Clockmakers
  62. Worshipful Company of Glovers
  63. Worshipful Company of Feltmakers (hat makers)
  64. Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters
  65. Worshipful Company of Needlemakers
  66. Worshipful Company of Gardeners
  67. Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers
  68. Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights
  69. Worshipful Company of Distillers
  70. Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers (wooden-shoe makers)
  71. Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers
  72. Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers
  73. Worshipful Company of Gunmakers
  74. Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers (threadmakers for military and society clothing)
  75. Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards
  76. Worshipful Company of Fanmakers
  77. Worshipful Company of Carmen (vehicle drivers)
  78. Honourable Company of Master Mariners
  79. City of London Solicitors’ Company (lawyers)
  80. Worshipful Company of Farmers
  81. Honourable Company of Air Pilots
  82. Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders
  83. Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers
  84. Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers
  85. Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors
  86. Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  87. Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
  88. Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants
  89. Worshipful Company of Launderers
  90. Worshipful Company of Marketors
  91. Worshipful Company of Actuaries
  92. Worshipful Company of Insurers
  93. Worshipful Company of Arbitrators
  94. Worshipful Company of Engineers
  95. Worshipful Company of Fuellers
  96. Worshipful Company of Lightmongers (electric lighting suppliers)
  97. Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners
  98. Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects
  99. Worshipful Company of Constructors
  100. Worshipful Company of Information Technologists
  101. Worshipful Company of World Traders
  102. Worshipful Company of Water Conservators
  103. Worshipful Company of Firefighters
  104. Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers (licensed taxicab drivers)
  105. Worshipful Company of Management Consultants
  106. Worshipful Company of International Bankers
  107. Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers
  108. Worshipful Company of Security Professionals
  109. Worshipful Company of Educators
  110. Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars

Short History of Apprenticeships

Definition of an apprenticeship:
One bound by legal agreement to work for another for a specific amount of time in return for instruction in a trade, art or business.
Apprenticeships in Britain started back in the Middle Ages and were closely related to the mediaeval craft guilds. In 1563 the Statute of Artificers created a more regulated and prescribed system by setting out more precise conditions and terms. These included the duration of the apprenticeship and very importantly the relationship between the master and apprentice. Also it limited the master to a maximum of three apprentices. Surprisingly apprenticeships were not necessarily voluntary and in some cases there were instances of compulsion. Basically apprenticeships evolved by way of a contractual agreement between the master and apprentice initially in a few trades. The regulation was through indentures that were legally binding documents. Indentures were written and agreed, binding the servant and master and in which the master took responsibility for the apprentice’s training and welfare and provided him with accommodation. Also there were conditions about how the apprentice should behave outside his workplace and these conditions were stated explicitly in the indenture.  Note at this time all apprentices were male.
Apprenticeships lasted for 2 to 7 years’ depending on the particular trade after which the apprentice became a journey man. The term derived from the French word for day i.e. ‘journee’ and basically meant that the journeyman would be paid by the day for his work. After a period of extensive experience the journeyman could submit a piece of his best work to the appropriate guild for assessment and approval. If this ‘master piece’ was accepted he could become a master craftsman and set up his own workshop and train apprentices.
 
The following two centuries witnessed a significant expansion in apprenticeships accompanied by gradually improved legislation on working conditions including those in the workplace environment. However eventually the general popularity of apprenticeships declined owing to the exploitation of young apprentices and the awful conditions in many factories. In 1802 the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act laid down additional conditions including a 12- hour working day and a requirement that a factory apprentice should be taught arithmetic, reading and writing. In 1814 following the 1802 Act the 1563 Statute was dissolved, the new regulations weakened the statutory controls e.g. practicing a trade by not being apprenticed was legal and removed the requirement for a minimum of seven year apprenticeships. Apprenticeships remained relatively popular with many occupations that involved practical skills and with a number of the professions. Towards to end of the 19th century approximately 340,000 apprentices were involved each year in preparing to enter building, engineering, shipbuilding and woodworking occupations.
Participation in apprenticeships reached its zenith in the years following 1945 and reflected a strong relationship between the community, employers and the apprentice. The apprenticeships were at this time still subjected to a time served contract and were in the main determined, to varying degrees by the trade unions, employers, and a number of guilds and employers’ associations. Interestingly the State played little role either by support or intervention – that was to come later.
As already mentioned the programmes continued to survive through the early 20th century and by the mid-1960s around 33% of male school leavers aged 15-17 entered some form of apprenticeship programme. However after the 1960s the numbers engaged in apprenticeships declined significantly across most occupational areas as various industries themselves declined. Surveys showed that the number of apprenticeships in employment decreased from 370,000 in 1979 to 180,000 in 1995 (1). Although there were approximately 171,000 apprentices in 1968 they had declined to approximately 34,500 in 1990. A few sectors continued to recruit apprentices including catering, construction and engineering but the numbers were much reduced from previous decades,
In the 1960s politicians, policy makers and employers began to question the effectiveness of the existing model/framework for apprenticeships and highlighted a number of key concerns including:
·         They had not kept pace with the ever accelerating pace of industrial, technological and scientific advances of the time
·         The time served aspect was redundant, not focused on outcomes and did not recognise fully how people acquired skills at different rates
·         Too often the important issue of standards were overlooked because of the time served approach.
·         Also a number of politicians were against the continuing involvement and influence of the trade unions and political dogma became more apparent especially during the Thatcher years.
·         Women seemed to be excluded from training in many industries as data shows that the programme participants were exclusively male.
After 1960 as the history of technical education has shown a large number of initiatives were introduced to address some of the weaknesses in the apprenticeship model/framework. These included the creation of the Industrial Training Boards (ITBs). The Certificate of Pre-Vocational Education (CPVE) and numerous MSC initiatives including Youth Training (YT) and the Technical and Education Initiative (TVEI). These and other schemes ultimately failed to address yet alone resolve many of the long standing problems  besetting Britain’s technical and vocation training and vocational system and ability to create a well qualified and up to date workforce. The majority of these initiatives catered for the young unemployed who would have been eligible for the old style apprentice unfortunately much of the new provision was of poor quality and further contributed to the already low standing and esteem of technical and vocational training. These initiatives were more about social engineering, cheap labour and massaging/fixing the unemployment statistics for political advantage. Finally the rapid decline in traditional apprenticeships could be mapped to the following factors:
·         The massive decline in the manufacturing base in Britain from the mid-1970s
·         Weakened trade unions
·         Disappearance of key employment legislation and the weakening of contractual agreements coupled with lack of funding for apprenticeship programmes
·         Falling demand for the products and services produced by the apprenticeship trades
·         Successive raising of the school leaving age and the subsequent increase in post-16 participation in schools and colleges
·         The impact of other programmes such as Youth Training Scheme, Youth Training
From the mid 1990s successive governments paid some attention to apprenticeships and attempted to reconfigure the programmes by prescribing more precisely the delivery, funding and inspection systems. It is interesting to map the degree of state intervention in apprenticeships to that in technical and commercial education and training. From the traditional model in the Middle Ages of master and apprentice relationship, to the levy-funded programmes of the Industrial Training Boards in the 1960s/70s and then in the early 1990s, non-existent support or state intervention. Since the early 1990s successive governments have introduced a number of reforms with a multitude of titles and operating rationales e.g., Modern, Accelerated, Advanced, Foundation, Graduate etc.  For example Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) were introduced in 1994 for 16 to 24 year olds in 14 industrial sectors and then later expanded to cover 80 different occupational areas. The programmes were offered at two levels namely level 2 (NVQ 2 and called Foundation MA) and level 3 (NVQ 3 with key skills and called Advanced MA). To add value to the awards the Technical Certificates were introduced in 2001/2. Technical certificates could include existing qualifications e.g. CGLI, Edexcel or a newly created qualification to satisfy the requirements of a specific occupational sector. The technical certificate provides the underpinning knowledge and understanding for the appropriate NVQ (remember one of the criticisms of NVQs was that they lacked the necessary underpinning knowledge and understanding).  Following these numerous reviews and reforms and increased investment numbers doubled from 1997 to 2009 from approximately 75,000 to around 180,000 and at present more ambitious targets have been set to further increase participation in the programmes. Completion rates too have improved e.g. In 2001  only 24% finished the full programme whilst in 2009 63% completed – although questions still remain about the quality of the programmes. The current government will no doubt further reform the apprenticeship model/framework hopefully to offer higher quality programmes for the large number of unemployed young people, a figure which in December 2010 stands at over 950,000. If properly managed and supported by government and employers apprenticeships could provide a valuable set of opportunities during the current recession and produce a more qualified workforce for the future beginning to address the continuing low skill equilibrium in the country. It is essential that employers play the leading role in their development, implementation and monitoring  and that the programmes are viewed and promoted as possessing an equal value to other education and training programmes e.g. GCSEs, GCE ‘A ‘Levels, other NVQS i.e. they are fully recognised as having parity of esteem with all other awards/qualifications.
Apprenticeships do have a major role to play in education and training because In spite of the catalogue of concerns cited above the apprenticeship model/framework has always possessed a number of positive and distinct characteristics that add value to the technical and vocational education and training experience namely:
·         The programmes are largely work based and as a result provide direct and real experience of the workplace
·         There is a strong working relationship between the employer and the apprentice that should allow individual companies an opportunity to shape and manage the training programme to their own needs
·         Apprentices can attend college for additional studies (off-job) which complement and reinforce their work placed training (on-job training)
·          Apprentices are paid whilst they are learning.
An Additional Observation on numeracy and mathematics
An historical aside is that most advanced mathematics teaching during the Middle Ages was done by the trade guilds through apprentice programmes. For some in trades like architecture, building, mercantile and other commercial enterprises, topics such as arithmetic and geometry were taught in the workplace.
 
 
References
(1)    Labour Force Survey. Various 1990s/2000s
‘World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England’ DIUS. 2007
‘Recruitment to Skilled Trades’ G. Williams.RKP.1957.
Wilson.C. ‘England’s Apprenticeship 1603-1763’. Longmans. 1965.
See also the History of Technical Education and the pen portrait on Livery Companies and Guilds on this website.

Manufacturing a terminal case?

 
A new government so as a result new ideas and new initiatives abound about education and training. As with previous administrations they have highlighted the woeful state of manufacturing in this country and proclaimed that it needs to be regenerated (whatever that means?) This state of affairs is by no means new – it’s been occurring over many decades with successive administrations.
Manufacturing industry has never really seriously figured on any political agenda in this country and when it was the interest has been tokenistic, half hearted and lack lustre. Manufacturing has been declining as a proportion of GDP in most advanced industrialised nations over the past 30 years but it has been declining at a higher rate in this country. In fact between 1995 and 2000 the rate of decline in this country was twice the average for the other G7 countries. For example for the month of June 2002 manufacturing output fell by 5.3%, the largest decline since 1979. This picture reflects the political indifference and inaction shown towards manufacturing by successive British governments and their obsession with banking, financial and service industries. Whilst these favoured areas grew, traditional manufacturing rapidly declined.
 An interesting figure which reflects the highly distorted nature of this country’s economy is that the tax take from financial services represents 12.5% of the total amount raised by the revenue office. The government has to protect this area of employment at all costs, especially the City – hence their reluctance to introduce stronger regulation of the banking and financial services for fear they might move and base their business in other countries. The level of British economy dependency on these businesses is totally disproportionate whilst other countries have maintained a manufacturing base e.g. Germany and many of the Scandinavian nations. Some political leaders especially in Britain and France have argued that this process was inevitable as the tide of globalisation was irreversible -other nations accepted this fact but took positive action to develop their manufacturing industries.
As mentioned above the decline of traditional heavy industries was largely inevitable as demand patterns changed and this country failed to compete with the emerging economies of East Asia and/or other countries who had invested in new plant, research and development. Additionally their governments adopted a long term strategy for manufacturing and macro-economics that recognised the importance of a realistic balance between services based industries and manufacturing. One of the long standing problems was Britain’s inability to develop and sustain high volume production. In spite of warnings the manufacturing base collapsed during the 80s and 90s. The symptoms had been clear to everyone – the outcome of an assumption that the country could survive on service-based industries, invisible earnings and massive pockets of regional unemployment and underemployment.
Other signs of these transformations in the workforce were evidenced by the decline in student numbers and apprenticeships in colleges and other training providers offering craft, technician and technologist provision. As mentioned in the history of technical education on this website departments in colleges and universities downsized, closed or merged with other departments. The funding methodology rewarded low cost and high recruiting provision and this directly contributed to the imbalances in the skill base and the workforce profile in the country. As a result the situation in colleges, training providers and universities came to reflect the overall position nationally of manufacturing namely one of invisibility, low priority and lack of any real investment, resource or support. This was coupled this with the continuing negative perception of manufacturing and engineering among parents and other relatives who may have experienced being made redundant from manufacturing industries and they became resistant to their children entering that world of employment, so contributing to the downward spiral in recruitment.
Even with the emerging newer technologies this hostility and consequent suspicion of the more practical and vocational areas of employment continued. Successive governments have attempted to encourage increased participation in engineering/technology/built environment technologies but all failed to appreciate the fundamental and underlying causes of the problems. In spite of frequent statements about the paucity of mathematics/ physical science/engineering students at all stages of education and training no effective long term strategies were introduced. Initiatives abounded but these were never properly resourced, evaluated or implemented with real commitment and the continued reality of the current skills shortages has become even more manifest.
So the politicians and their commission for skills et al inform us of the problems and possible impending crises associated with skills gaps and shortages when they themselves have created many of the problems. They have dismissed the importance of manufacturing and placed an over emphasis and faith in the financial services and the emerging knowledge based industries. The problem with these approaches is that they are fundamentally flawed. The mathematical reality of an economy based on the financial and service industries is now largely discredited. The current recession is testimony to the fragility of this assumption and the consequences will resonate as a result of the current financial crisis for years to come! A culture of witch craft and financial terrorism as practised by the bankers and other financial sectors cannot be a basis for stability. Assuming there is any real political will this country must completely and fundamentally review reform and rebalance its long term strategy toward wealth generation by establishing an effective and efficient manufacturing sector providing products and services that the rest of the world want to buy and which complements the service industries. This government like previous ones constantly proclaims the importance of the information and knowledge society inventing a whole series of meaningless and vacuous e-expressions such as e-government, e-commerce, e-democracy, e-learning, and the previous government even appointed an e-envoy! – the only one not used is e-by-gum!
So can this country regenerate a manufacturing base, which is appropriate for the 21st century and which will compete within the global economy? Before one attempts to answer this vital question a number of key factors need to be considered. Clearly it must be accepted that many services and manufactured products will be made abroad in developing countries where labour costs at present are much lower.   The movement of companies, whether domestic or overseas owned, reflects this fact of globalisation including Black and Decker, Dyson, Doc Martin, Massey Ferguson and Raleigh cycles.  Also many companies outsourced their call centres abroad after an initial hope, by previous governments, that the UK would become a world centre of excellence for this area of employment e.g. British Airways, General Electric and Zurich Insurance. These movements reflect/parallel, albeit on a more rapid scale, what happened to the traditional manufacturing industries. In addition the significant level of outsourcing manufacturing abroad coupled with the massive number of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) by foreign companies since the 1980s has significantly weakened the manufacturing and commercial foundations of the UK.  Other factors that complicate the issue are the fluctuating exchange rate, the reluctance to strengthen the regulation of the financial services, our massive dependency and love affair with the USA and its financial systems and the related negative and ambivalent attitude to the EC and the Euro – after all the EC is our largest export market! Inward investment is also declining after boom years in the 1980s and 90s and recent evidence has shown that the country’s share relative to mainland Europe has declined from 26% to 18% in the early 2000s. Finally the continuing low levels of productivity in this country compared with other countries adds to the inevitable and continued decline. The annual surveys on productivity levels from McKinsey and other organisations show the country still lagging behind most of our competitors e.g. France 32%, Germany 29% and US 55%. These threat elements whether real or imagined do not instil confidence in any lasting renaissance of manufacturing or the rebuilding of an effective education and training system in these important areas especially in the current period of austerity.
So what is the current government doing to maintain and enhance the manufacturing base in this country? At present very little. The planned austerity measures are bringing about massive cuts to the budgets across all stages of the education and training system. This is a very short sighted approach but it always seems to happen during recessions Governments reduce funding for training and sadly companies also reduce their commitment and funding to training at times of austerity. Every time the press publish information on manufacturing output ministers and civil servants respond by engaging in semantic gymnastics arguing that manufacturing has been redefined and that really no problems exist if one accepts these new definitions. Clearly the nature of manufacturing will change as new industries and technologies appear but there must be a precise understanding within the definitions of what constitutes manufacturing. This country extols its excellence in the arts, fashion, computer games and media but overall even these receive little support and again are going to experience massive cuts in their funding. This is the reason why an effective system of labour market research and intelligence, national and international, is essential and which is able to identify and track how the global market is changing.
In spite of some excellent reports from the EEF and the occasional broadsides from the CBI the Trade Unions and the Chambers of Commerce little seems to happen. The usual knee jerk reaction is to establish working parties, commissions, focus groups, skill summits populated with people who lack any real experience and knowledge of the issues but who tell the government what they want to hear. Inevitably they revisit and discuss ad nauseam the same issues highlighted over many years.
The Way Ahead- (It’s All Been Said Before):
·         Develop a comprehensive and up to date Labour Market Intelligence/Research system/network that pays particular attention to current and possible future global markets and their transformations
·         Redefine what currently and in the future constitutes British manufacturing and how it relates to the global market
·         Once the definitions are agreed develop a long-term strategy which recognises its relationship, realities and consequences within the global economy
·         Long term strategies must be developed to improve the low levels of productivity
·         Long term strategies must be developed to tackle skills gaps and shortages
·         The increasing burden of regulation and direct and indirect taxation on companies must be halted and reversed with real incentives to encourage creativity and innovation
·         Create a clear strategy for developing a sensible balance between the services and manufacturing industries that are seen to complement each other and realise a synergistic relationship
·         Tax incentives should be considered to help particularly Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to encourage employers to invest in retraining and CPD programmes to improve skill levels among their employees
·         Increased funding for technical, vocational and training programmes in all sectors of the educational system and a fundamental review, reform and expansion of apprenticeships/internships.
·         A commitment to improving the number of people possessing the higher levels of skills that aligns to the prioritised manufacturing industries i.e. > 2/3 both in employment and those in education and training.
·         A comprehensive, coherent and consistent set of strategies developed for post-16 education and training which once and for all resolves the issues associated with parity of esteem between the so-called academic and vocational programmes.
Footnote
Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ 2010 survey involving more than 1000 human resources directors identified that 53% of the respondents expressed concern about the difficulty in recruiting the right people and rated that the continuing skills gaps/shortages were the greatest challenge confronting this country in 2011. In addition 34% HR directors expressed concern about global mobility, (presumably that fewer qualified people would come to this country and more workers would move abroad?) and 23% about the country’s regulation and employment legislation. The survey continued that the UK has lost its position as the world’s most educated workforce, (was this ever true- where did this belief come from – a bit of historical arrogance?), and this would limit future growth of the UK economy.

 Final comment:

The British chancellor Gorge Osborne has come up with the somewhat vacuous expression ‘march of the makers’ which I presume is meant to be a clarion call for British manufacturing. Sadly its just another example of empty rhetoric and political speak and opportunism.

Functional Subjects Particularly Mathematics

 ‘Experience plus reflection equals learning.’ John Dewey
This is a powerful and apposite quotation by John Dewey which resonates with many of the issues that arise when one is considering how to make the technical and vocational curriculum in schools and colleges more relevant and meaningful. Recently the term functionality has been introduced into educational and training jargon. In curriculum development functionality is equally as important as context to which it is closely linked especially in the teaching and learning of practical, vocational and technical subjects. The curriculum developers have adopted the term ‘functional subjects’ to ‘represent a set of learning experiences that provide people with skills and abilities in order for them to be more effective in everyday life, the workplace and educational settings’ QCA – all a bit general.  As the skills agenda becomes more important across the world many countries are now focusing on the need to review and reform school and post-school curricula in order to make them more relevant and meaningful for people entering the world of work.  Employers in particular want to see a more vocationally and technically focused curriculum in schools and colleges that more effectively prepares people for employment. In this country functional skills and the associated qualifications are aimed at providing learners with practical skills in English, Information Technology (ICT) and Mathematics.
The government argues that the functional skills qualifications will be useful for: ‘ learners: will develop solving skills which will make sure that they’re well prepared for employment, further study and life in general, employers: help employees apply vital functional skills in work situations which will improve effectiveness and productivity, HE: competency in the key subjects of English, ICT and mathematics will help learners progress to further achievement and allow them to study independently.’ (All very worthy but as always the devil will be in the detail and the implementation!). The government, as also its predecessor, has created a strategy to address employability needs for the country in order to begin to address the woeful state of people’s skills. The OECD survey (2009) paints a bleak picture of this country’s performance when compared with 30 advanced industrial nations e.g. 17th for basic skills (Functional literacy, ICT and mathematics) 20th for intermediate skills (Technical and craft skills, for example, in advanced apprenticeships) and 11th in higher (Degree and post graduate programmes). The latest study from OECD in 2010, (known as the PISA survey (Programme for International Student Assessment), showed Britain slipping further down the international education league tables The country was ranked 25th for reading, 28th for mathematics and 16th for science. The study involved 470,000 15 year olds and the corresponding numbers for 2006 were 17th, 24th and 14th respectively. These figures sadly reflect and reinforce the decline in the effectiveness of the English educational and training system and align with the situation given in the history of technical education on this website. The country is now in absolute decline after years of relative decline in international league tables!
 I will focus on functional mathematics for this article as the subject is central to technical and commercial education and training as it is aimed at improving the understanding and appreciation of the application of mathematics and numerical concepts in the workplace. Any curriculum experience must surely begin to build the foundations that are able to tackle the continuing  problems associated with technical and technician education and training that will once and for produce a more qualified and skilled  workforce for the future.
As always such initiatives become politicised and embroiled in the old arguments about the academic vocational divide and pure versus applied subjects and the issue of achieving parity of esteem. The genesis of the term is itself interesting: some commentators say a key advisor in the previous government thought of it and qualified it by saying ‘no other country has used the term.’ – that really is a good rationale for any development – such is the paucity of intellect in the political classes?! The term has in fact been around for some time and its development and use well documented particularly in Europe. Since the appearance of the term functional mathematics in 2006/07 a flurry of activity has been focused on trying to define it, where to locate it in the curriculum, and whether it should be for all learners or just a particular group of learners. It’s a classic case example of the English education system – a multitude of individuals, professional organisations and working groups beavering away without any real understanding of what is really required. Couple this with frequent government interference, with their advisors putting forward their own narrow and ill-informed opinions, and you have a recipe for disaster. As a result of all this activity on a critical and important development, a bandwagon has been created with a great deal of momentum but little idea where it is going and, equally important, what it will do if it arrives somewhere! I fear the change of government will not improve the situation if one looks at what is already happening about to the development of the so-called vocational diplomas and their relative value to the so-called academic subjects e.g. GCE ‘A’ levels.
The major challenge with the introduction of functional mathematics is that the context and content must be realistic and derived from the realities of life and the work place and equally important applied to those realities. As a result an important element in functional mathematics concerns how it can be learnt. Effective and sustained learning will not be achieved through simulation or a pre-occupation with testing and assessment. It is essential that the appropriate contexts for the learning are carefully defined and managed (see article on context on this website). Functional mathematics must have universal application and available to all learners including undergraduate and post-graduate students. Learners must gain an understanding of ‘functionality’ both in terms of the ‘how’ and of the ‘why’. Functional mathematics must involve such elements as reflection, critical thought, reasoning, and problem solving. Process and thinking skills must be at the heart of this development. It must not be driven by heavily prescribed assessment regimes and must be relevant and delivered in realistic contexts and most certainly not be hi- jacked by the academics and pure mathematicians who have little understanding of technical and commercial environments.
The final challenge facing the introduction of an effective programme of functional mathematics will be those associated with the teacher’s ability to deliver the subject and the availability of the right resources and support for them. In order to introduce new curricula teachers have to fundamentally review and reflect on their teaching styles and practices. Such analysis must include the reasons for what is taught, what you can use it for, why it is taught and how you can apply it. Any curriculum experience is not just about the syllabus and how it is interpreted but is also about the learning and teaching styles adopted in the appropriate contexts, whilst maximising the available resources to facilitate effective learning. The most important resources are the teachers and they will need a great deal of support in order to introduce the subject. Sadly the shortage of sufficiently qualified mathematics teachers in schools and colleges coupled with the fact that many do not possess any real experience of teaching to the specifications that will define and figure in functional mathematics will create a massive set of challenges. Capability in handling mathematical concepts and their application in realistic contexts cannot be over emphasised as someone who has taught technical subjects I realise the centrality of the subject in this sector of education and training.
Final quote for curriculum developers: 
Any judgement on the value of any curriculum experience is its functionality – namely the outcomes achieved.’

List of Dissenting Academies

Dissenting academies played an important part and made a major contribution to the development of the English educational system from the mid-17th to the 19th centuries. The academies were colleges, seminaries and schools run by religious dissenters. Non-practising members of the Church of England people/religious dissenters were barred from gaining access to the then existing universities. As a result many people went abroad to study or attended Scottish University’s. Below I list the dissenting academies in England and Wales with approximate dates of their foundation and locations. The list is not complete but will hopefully convey the scale and scope of these fascinating institutions. The students who attended the academies represented such religions as Jews, Nonconformist Protestants, Quakers and Roman Catholics. (I guess that the title of academy came from Plato’s school of philosophy and his subsequent influence on philosophical thought stressing the importance of being sceptical).
Academies primary purpose was to provide higher education during the 19th century but ultimately the long overdue reforms by Oxford and Cambridge were introduced and more importantly the founding of London University and the university colleges/provincial universities gradually removed their need and purpose. However they represent an important and influential movement in the development of education in England and Wales and their importance should not be underestimated.
Academy/Location/Date of approximate founding:
Abergavenny/Wales/1757. Alcester/Midlands/foundation unknown closed 1720. Attercliffe/North/1691. Bedworth/Midlands/1690. Bishop’s Hall Academy, Bethnal Green/London/1680. Bristol/South West/1720. Bolton/North/1723. Bridgenorth/Midlands/1726.Bridgewater/South West/foundation unknown closed 1747.  Broad Oak/Wales/1690. Bromsgrove (or Stourbridge) /Midlands/1665. Brynllywarch near Bridgend/Wales/1757. Carmarthen/Wales/1700.  Cheshunt, Higham Hill/Walthamstow/1790. Coventry/Midlands/1663. Dartmouth/South West/1668. Exeter (a number of academies had the same name/South West/1760.  Findern (afterwards at Derby)/Midlands/foundation unknown closed 1754. Gloucester/South/1696. Gosport/South/1789.  Heckmondwyke (merged with Rotherham College)/North/1756. Hoxton Square/ London moved from Coventry/1700. Hungerford/South/1696.  Idle (became Airedale Independent College in 1826)/1800. Ipswich/Suffolk/1698.  Islington (a number of institutions under the same name established (x2)/London/1672.  Kendal/Lakedistrict/1733. Knill/Wales/1675. Lincoln/Midlands/1668. Lyme Regis (moved to Shepton Mallett and then Poole)/South West/1690. Manchester/North/1698.  Market Harborough (moved to Mile End, London)/Midlands/1758. Mill Hill/London/foundation unknown closed 1701. Nettlebed/Oxfordshire/1666. New College/ Hackney, London/1786. Newington Green (a number of institutions under the same name established(x3))/ London/ 1667. Newport Pagnell, (later merged with Cheshunt)/Midlands/1783. Northampton/Midlands/1715.  Nottingham/Midlands/1680. Ottery St Mary/South West/1752. Sherriffhales/Midlands/1663. Palgrave Academy/Suffolk/1775. Rathmell/North/1669. Saffron Walden/Essex/1680.  Wapping/London/1675. Shrewsbury/Midlands/1663.  Stratford-on-Avon/Midlands/1715. Sulby/Midlands/1680.Tubney/South/1668. Taunton/South West/1672. Tewkesbury/South West/1680. Tiverton/South West/dates unknown. Wapping/London/1675.  Warrington/North/1757.  Wellclose Square (Coward Trust) (moved to Hoxton Square in 1762)/London/1744. Whitehaven (moved to Bolton 1723)/North/1710. Whitchurch/Midlands/1668.  Wickhambrook/Suffolk/1670.
 
Additional records:
New College /London – This was a Congregational academy formed by the amalgamation of Daventry Academy as Coward College, Highgate Academy and the Homerton College. 1850to 1900. Became part of University of London in 1900.
Northampton –Started at Kibworth moved to Hinckley, Market Harborough and in 1729 to Northampton. In 1752 moved to Daventry and then back to Northampton.
Idle became Airedale Independent College in 1826. From 1834 in Undercliffe and from 1877 in Bradford. In 1888 Rotherham and Airedale became Yorkshire United College, Bradford.
Warrington Academy 1757-1783. Library moved to Manchester New College, in 1783 moved York, Manchester and London. At one stage Harris Manchester College. Oxford. (See pages on this website site for more information on the Warrington Academy).
Ottery St Mary started by Congregational Board with representation from Bridford, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol.
Newington Green judged by many as the best of the academies. Charles Morton tutor – subjects taught included, mathematics, natural sciences and well equipped laboratory.
Attercliffe Academy established by Richard Frankland.
 
Some Famous People (Tutors, former Students) Associated with Dissenting Academies:
Benjamin Disraeli, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Wesley, Joseph Priestley, John Dalton, Richard Frankland. Charles Morton. John Locke.

The Invisible College (1645-1658).

With the progress of science in the 17th century in such subjects as astronomy, anatomy, mechanics and physiology along with the multitude of inventions and the improvement of scientific instruments e.g. telescopes, microscopes, came a growing interest of science and its associated technologies. Many groups were established during the 17th century to disseminate and gain greater understanding of the developments in science and in some cases the technologies that arose from them. A number of independent, scientifically minded people and university people established a private and informal group that became known as the ‘the Invisible College’/ ‘the philosophical college’/’ the men of Gresham’. The Invisible College was based on Francis Bacon’s principles that knowledge is power and that all knowledge has been given for use, and the relief of man’s state (and not for its own sake). (See below more background to Baconian philosophy and thinking). The aim of the College was to acquire knowledge through experimental investigation. Sadly little is known of this group even though it is seen by many as a precursor/predecessor to the Royal Society for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge (later called the Royal Society). An account of its founding was written by one of its original members John Wallis (1616-1703) who wrote ‘I take its first ground and foundation to have been in London about the year 1645 (if not sooner) when Dr Wilkins, Dr Jonathan Goddard –with myself and some others met weekly —– confining ourselves thereunto as Physick, Anatomy, Geometry, Astronomy, Navigation, Mechanics and Natural Experiments’. These topics reflected the interests and specialisms of many of the members e.g. Robert Moray, Robert Boyle, John Evelyn, Benjamin Worsley, Christopher Wren, Jonathan Goddard and William Petty. and a number of medical doctors. Meetings were held at a variety of locations including Goddard’s house in Cheapside, the Mitre Tavern near Wood Street. Later they met at the Bull Head Tavern and at Katherine Jones (1615-1691) house and Gresham College (1597-present) in Bishopsgate. Katherine was an intellectual in her own right as well as being Robert Boyle’s elder sister. In addition to their interest in science the group were concerned with what they termed social improvement through education, scientific advance and technology and acquiring knowledge through experimental investigation.
Even though little is known about the invisible college its influence cannot be under estimated. For example it inspired the imagination of the young Robert Boyle and fuelled his commitment, enthusiasm and interest in natural philosophy and science. Boyle was the youngest of the members becoming a member a year after its foundation. Robert Boyle is now seen as one of the founders of modern chemistry. He became aware of the invisible college when he visited London and subsequently wrote to his former tutor Isaac Marcombe extolling how the group had got him interested in natural philosophy, the mechanics and husbandry’. These studies were ‘according to the principles of our new philosophical college, that values no knowledge, but as it hath a tendency to use’. (Note the Baconian principle cited above). He invited his former tutor to attend one of the meetings of the College writing ‘bring along with you good receipts or choice books of any of these subjects that you can procure; which will make you extremely welcome at our invisible college’. In another letter letter to Francis Tallents (fellow at Magdalene College Cambridge) he wrote ‘the corner stone of the invisible, or the philosophical college, do now and then honour me with their company —men of so capacious and searching spirits, that school-philosophy is but the lowest region of their knowledge’.  The group barred all ‘discussion of Divinity, of State- affairs and of News other than what concerned our business of Philosophy’).
Around 1648/49 Petty, Wilkins, Wallis and Goddard moved to Oxford and formed a branch of the Invisible College.  Their decampment from London followed one of the first acts of Parliament in the early days of the Commonwealth which was the ‘purgation’ of the universities. Senior people were removed and ‘safer men’ appointed in their place. Meetings in London continued while meetings in Oxford were held at Petty’s house and later at Wadham College. Both groups continued to communicate with each other and held joint meetings whenever possible. The London group met at Gresham College until 1658 when it discontinued because of the civil war. In 1660 Monk’s army entered London and restored order and the meetings resumed in the same year. Following the Restoration the London and Oxford groups resumed their activities and at the end of 1660 it was resolved to constitute themselves as a Society of Philosophers. Later discussions proposed the establishment of a college for promoting ‘Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning’ and a set of rules were drawn up including that meetings should be held weekly and a one shilling fee paid each week to cover expenses. One important meeting was on 28th November 1660 following a lecture by Wren on astronomy held at Gresham College. Subsequently Robert Moray was mandated by the Society to approach the King to seek a more formal structure for the group and a possible Royal Charter of Incorporation to be conferred on it. Following negotiations the Royal Society for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge was created receiving the Great Seal on 15th July 1662. So the invisible college with its two groups in London and Oxford and the support of Gresham College is now seen as the precursor for the Royal Society. Gresham College shown below in 1740 from an engraving.
 Gresham College 1740 (Engraving)
More Detail about the members:
John Wallis 1616-1703. (Professor of geometry at Oxford). Samuel Foster 1616-1652. (Mathematician and Professor of anatomy at Gresham College). (See history pages of this website for more detail about Gresham College). John Evelyn 1620-1706. (Diarist, Writer). Jonathan Goddard 1617-1675. (Physician). Benjamin Worsley 1618-1673. (Physician and Experimental Scientist). John Wallis 1616-1703. (Mathematician). William Petty 1623-87. (Economist, Scientist and Philosopher). Robert Boyle 1627-1691. (Natural Philosopher, Chemist, Physicist, Inventor). Christopher Wren 1632-1723. (Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College and Architect). Robert Moray 1608/9-1673. (Scientist and spy). John Wilkins 1614-1672. (Theologian later became Bishop of Chester).George Ent 1604-1689). (Physician friend and supporter of William Harvey). Christopher Merret 1614/15-1695. (Physician and writer on Natural Philosophy). William Neile 1637-1691. (Amateur scientist particularly interested in optics). Francis Glisson 1599?-1677. (Physician, Anatomist and Physiologist).
Experimental aspects explored and considered by the Invisible College included: Circulation of blood (note friendship between Harvey and Ent), valves in the veins, the Copernican hypothesis, nature of comets and stars, improvement of the telescopes, weighing air, falling objects under gravity, barometric measurement (Torricellian experiments).
The Invisible College is important in history as it was one of the first groups that realised the importance of science and scientific research and made a major contribution to the subsequent expansion of scientific experimentation in British science and the formation of scientific societies e.g., the Royal Society.
It would be a fascinating exercise to compare the Invisible College with the Lunar Society – two amazing groups particularly their differences.
References
Webster. C. ‘The origins of the Royal Society.’ History of Science. VI. 1967.
Kassell. L. ‘Invisible College.’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. OUP 2010.
Turner. D. M. ‘History of Science Teaching in England.’ Chapman and Hall. 1927.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Philosopher and Statesman.
Bacon stressed the importance of experiment in interpreting nature and the importance of possible evidence which might contradict any already existing thesis or view.  He held that, to prepare the mind for the intuition of the true essence or nature of a thing, it has to be meticulously cleaned of all anticipations, prejudices, and idols. For the source of all error is the impurity of our own minds; Nature does not lie. His use of anticipation in his much of his writings can be equated to the concept of hypothesis.His method of scientific induction became very influential in future scientific research.