Collection SC Mechanics/Anderson - Mechanics/Anderson's collection

Identity area

Reference code

GB 249 SC Mechanics/Anderson


Mechanics/Anderson's collection


  • 1657-1883 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

23 metres

Context area

Name of creator

(1796 to date)

Administrative history

John Anderson bequeathed the whole of his library to the institution he founded under his name and directed that none of the books should be taken out of the buildings of the institution. The library was administered by a president, secretary and treasurer and, in order to extend its usefulness, the trustees combined it with a subscription library and reading room. The books consisted of standard works and periodical publications in science and general literature. They were purchased by subscription or acquired by donation and circulated amongst the subscribers. The subscribers were divided into two classes: science and general literature. Each class appointed a committee of five of their number to select the books. In addition, the professors of natural philosophy, chemistry and natural history and the president, secretary and treasurer were ex officiis members of the committees.

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Glasgow Mechanics' Institution was formed in July 1823, as the result of a dispute between members of the mechanics' class and the managers of Anderson's Institution over Dr Andrew Ure's lectures, and access to the library and museum. George Birkbeck encouraged this schism and agreed to be patron of the new institution, which was the second mechanics' institution founded in Great Britain. A mechanics' class continued to be offered at Anderson's Institution after 1823 and the members of the class continued in dispute with Dr Ure over his lectures.

After a period in temporary premises in Shuttle Street, the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution moved in 1831 to North Hanover Street to a building provided by John Leadbetter, a Glasgow businessman and former student of Anderson's Institution. In 1862, the Mechanics' Institution moved to a new building at 38 Bath Street.

The opening lecture was delivered on 5 November 1823 by John Steele, Lecturer in Chemistry and Mechanics, and in later years the Institution offered courses in science and mechanics, architectural and mechanical drawing, mechanical and electrical engineering and naval architecture. On 13 May 1881 the Mechanics' Institution changed its name to the College of Science and Arts and in 1887, with Anderson's College and other institutions, it became part of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The collection was formed from the student libraries of the Anderson’s College Mechanics Class, Glasgow Mechanics Institute Library and the College of Science and Arts.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Collection of books, mainly on literature, science and 19th century history. Also contains mechanics magazine publications.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The collection is arranged alphabetically by author.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

All the books in this collection are catalogued on SUPrimo the University of Strathclyde Library's integrated search service.

Search "MLSPMA" to find a full list of titles in the Mechanics/Anderson collection

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