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Anderson's College, Glasgow | Trustees

  • C0016
  • Corporate body
  • 1796-1887

The trustees were appointed under the terms of John Anderson's will, dated 7 May 1795. Under the 1877 Anderson's College (Glasgow) Act, they were made a body corporate, and had their powers and duties remodelled and defined.

The trustees were responsible for the whole management and administration of the institution and were vested with the power to enact or ordain bye-laws, rules and regulations for the better governing and promoting the purposes of the institution.

Anderson, John, 1726-1796, natural philosopher

  • P0036
  • Person
  • 1726-1796

John Anderson (1726-1796) was born at Rosneath, Dunbartonshire, the grandson of the Reverend John Anderson (1668-1721), Preceptor to the Duke of Argyll and first minister of St David's Ramshorn Church in Glasgow and son of the Reverend James Anderson, minister of Rosneath. Following the early death of his father, Anderson was brought up by an aunt in Stirling and later attended Glasgow University, where he graduated in 1745. Following employment as tutor to several young gentlemen, Anderson was appointed Professor of Oriental Languages at the College or University of Glasgow in 1755 and transferred to the Chair of Natural Philosophy in 1757.

Anderson had a wide range of interests - in natural philosophy, natural history, antiquities and ballistics and military engineering - and was a prolific writer and inventor. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and was a friend of Benjamin Franklin and many other scientists of the day. He installed the first lightning conductor in Glasgow, on the College steeple.

Glasgow in the 18th century was a centre of the Industrial Revolution and Anderson realised the need to encourage technical education. He gave an evening class in experimental philosophy open to the mechanics in the city, which proved to be so popular that the lecture room had to be twice extended to accommodate the numbers wishing to attend. He was an inspired teacher and was nicknamed 'Jolly Jack Phosphorus' by his students. He was associated with James Watt and encouraged the latter's revolutionary work on the steam engine.

Anderson found himself often at odds with his colleagues in Glasgow University over matters of governance and their hostility, as he saw it, to new ideas, and some of these disputes ended in lawsuits. In 1795 he drew up a detailed plan in his will for a new University to be founded in Glasgow, which would be 'a place of useful learning'. Even women would be welcome to attend classes. After his death in January 1796 his trustees, although left with insufficient funds, were able to establish Anderson's Institution, which evolved into the present day University of Strathclyde.

Anderson, Sir David Stirling, 1895-1981, engineer and educationist

  • P0037
  • Person
  • 1895-1981

Sir David Anderson graduated Associate in Mechanical Engineering of the Royal Technical College, Glasgow in 1921, following service in the Royal Air Force, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, in 1918. He obtained engineering experience with the North British Locomotive Company and with Fullerton, Hodgart and Barclay, then held several higher academic posts in Derby Technical College and Birmingham College of Technology, before becoming Director or Principal of the Royal Technical College, Glasgow from 1946 to 1959. During his term of office, discussions took place on the expansion of technological education in Britain, and the future development of the Royal College, which led eventually to the award of University Charter and the establishment of the University of Strathclyde in 1964.

Sir David was knighted in 1957 and received honorary degrees from Glasgow University in 1961 and from Strathclyde in 1965. He served as a member of the Robbins Committee on Higher Education and on many other professional bodies. He died on 18 January 1981.

Andersonian Chemical Society

  • C0189
  • Corporate body
  • 1886 to date

The Andersonian Chemical Society was founded in November 1886 as Anderson’s College Science Society. In 1887, the name was changed to the Andersonian Chemical Society. Its object was the promotion of interest in the study of chemistry. To this end, it organised regular papers and debates on scientific subjects.

It is believed the society is the longest running student chemical society in Great Britain.

Andersonian Museum, Glasgow

  • C0094
  • Corporate body
  • 1796-c 1900

The Andersonian Museum developed out of the collection of scientific apparatus and natural history specimens collected by John Anderson and bequeathed by him, in 1796, to Anderson's Institution. This formed the nucleus of the Museum's collections to which were added other specimens illustrative of local natural history. The aim of the Museum was to provide a general collection in which every department of natural history was represented and each specimen named so that the student, by aid of the catalogue, could become his own teacher. It was considered that natural history was the area best calculated to promote a taste for science.

The mid-nineteenth century was a period of remarkable expansion, and the Museum attracted many donations from trustees, students, teachers and others. There was a fine collection of stuffed birds, and the collection of coins, antiquities, and other curiosities was extensive and valuable. The designer of the Museum's building, James Smith, of Jordanhill, President of Anderson's University, also donated coins and medals and Thomas Eddington II presented mineral specimens, animals and birds. The gallery devoted to birds included 2,000 specimens bought from Joseph Sabine, and in 1860, Professor Robert Hunter gave the Museum a thousand anatomical specimens on the occasion of his retirement. Specimens also came from the British Association for the Advancement of Science (collection of fossils and minerals), the Glasgow Dilettanti Society (its collection of models on permanent loan), Dr James Couper (1150 mineral specimens, 500 foreign shells, 140 British shells), the Lord Commissioners of the Treasury (a group of Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and ancient Scottish coins discovered in 1851), and James Scouller (Natural History specimens).

In 1856, one of the Museum's benefactors, William Euing, proposed the building of an extension. Money was raised with the help of Euing and his friends, and the final refitting of the cupola and reordering of the Museum was in progress by November 1862.

By the 1870s, however, the Museum began to pass into decline. Visitor numbers were falling and the negotiations for the formation of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College and the move towards more technical subjects rendered the collections of little value for teaching purposes. In addition, there was pressure on accommodation and, in 1882, the ground floor of the Museum was converted into a reading room and the collections relegated to the galleries. In 1887, a decision was made to transfer to other museums all the collections not required for teaching purposes. Most of the ethnographic collections were given to the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University whilst the coin collections and much else went to the Kelvingrove Museum. The Museum ceased to exist about 1900. A few items, such as John Anderson's musket and dirk remain at the University of Strathclyde.

Andersonian Naturalists' Society

  • C0370
  • Corporate body
  • Founded 1885

The Andersonian Naturalists’ Society was founded at Anderson’s College, Glasgow on 25 August 1885. Its object was to encourage the study of natural science in all its branches.

In 1930, the Society amalgamated with the Microscopical Society of Glasgow and the Natural History Society of Glasgow to form the Glasgow and Andersonian Natural History and Microscopical Society. By 1958, it was known as the Andersonian Naturalists' of Glasgow. By 1985, it had reverted to the title Andersonian Naturalist's Society .

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